Essential Staff Motivation and Retention

By Sanjay Nijhawan COO, Guoman Hotels (UK) | June 06, 2010

Fail to look after your people, be they staff or customers, and you won't be around for long - whether you're selling shoes, diamond watches or burgers. In the hospitality industry duty of care, at a premium standard, for both staff and guests is what makes the difference between a good hotel and a great one.

It is certainly true that the hotel business certainly has to go a step further when it comes to its 'people'. If anything, the emphasis on getting your employment and retention policies 'righter' than the rest is even more marked and important. Hotels are in a pretty unique position in that what they provide for customers in terms of experience is 100% in the hands of the team on the ground. And since you are running a 24-hour operation, it means genuine consistency of service is required throughout each guest's stay.

Putting aside the economic disadvantages of high staff churn (the advertising for new employees, the time spent interviewing and chasing up references and then the cost of getting them up to speed with your organisation), having a settled workforce automatically brings with it the seamless delivery of constant excellence. Of course, your hard assets count - the location, a well-furnished property and great conference facilities are important because they draw in the guests. But they'll only do that once. Mess up the service and you can kiss any return visit goodbye.

So how do we ensure are staff are satisfied? We're all very different animals, and respond to situations in myriad ways. What's right for one surely can't fit all?

While it's true that deciphering what makes us all tick is a centuries-old puzzle, there are certain traits that we all display. Understanding them is the key to unlocking the best performance. Perhaps the best way to understand is to appeal on an almost primeval level to the things that drive us all as human 'animals'.

1. Moving on up

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.