Using Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Recruit, Engage, and Retain Hotel Talent

By Joyce Gioia CEO, Employer of Choice International, Inc. | March 16, 2014

Most people value their smart phones over their laptops(1). Unfortunately, many business leaders, not only human resource professionals, have overlooked the value and growing importance of mobile technologies in people's lives.

We all know that the youngest generations, especially The Millennials, love this technology. Not only do they enjoy connecting with technology, it's almost as if it is an extension of who they are. They live and breathe social media and mobile applications.

As the hospitality industry replaces its sometime tech-reluctant retiring Baby Boomers with its tech savvy Millennials, we will see a growing importance to these, now established, technologies.

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That's why we were so impressed after meeting with Daniel Welk, the brilliant General Manager of the Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Daniel shared a story of one of his front desk clerks who had upsold a guest to their Presidential Suite. Instead of waiting until the next staff meeting or even the next morning, as soon as he found out, Welk sent a text to all of the department heads to "spread the word" about what his exemplary associate had done. The department heads, in turn, told all of their reports. Through the rest of the day, coworker after coworker stopped and took the time to congratulate the employee on her special accomplishment. One can only imagine the reinforcement that the employee received; and because everyone knew about it, she became a role model for others as well.

Social Media: The Recruiter's BF

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.