Building Your Green Team on a Budget

By Rani Bhattacharyya Community Economics Extension Educator , University of Minnesota Extension- Center for Community Vitality | May 22, 2011

In an industry that prides itself on customer service and sensitivity to the needs of guests, the ability of lodging properties to maintain a high level of quality in their services and operations is routinely undermined by the high rates of turnover and burnout of their employees. As a means of understanding how to limit this drain on your resources, this article will: 1) highlight a few of the current factors affecting employee motivation, 2) simple ways that facility managers can address these needs, and 3) how implementing an performance reporting process throughout your property can be used as a tool to retain and benefit from the skills and specialized knowledge of your staff.

Why Employees Take Flight

In their survey of highly educated employees Blomme, Tromp, and Rheede (2010) found evidence that suggests the primary driver behind hospitality's high turnover rate is difficulty on the part of employers to address the intrinsic expectations that employees hope their jobs can fulfill. While these expectations are not written into contracts, they still play a significant role in motivating people to choose particular career paths. The three main themes that the study found in employee expectations are briefly discussed below.

Job Content and Skill Mastery

When seeking out new employment opportunities, many people seek out positions where they will be able to acquire new skills and apply these skills to the benefit of both their employer and industry. This set of expectations feeds into an employee's sense of value to society as well as their potential future investment in helping to maintain the quality of services being delivered at your property. By accurately matching your employee's skills and interests to the needs of your facility, you provide your employees a very strong incentive to deepen their own commitment to their current duties, which in turn can increase their emotional commitment to your brand.

The Desire to Transform Challenges into Growth

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.