The Customer Experience Will Never Exceed the Employee Experience

The Vital Mission of Seasonal Employee Engagement

By Tony Bridwell Partner and Practice Leader, Partners in Leadership (PIL) | March 20, 2016

Co-authored by Mattson Newell, Director of Partners In Leadership (PIL)

Being a statistic seems to be inevitable in life. In some way, each of us will find ourselves on a statistical list of sorts. For over half the country one such list is a reality: the "first time job" list. At some point in our life we have held a job in the hospitality/restaurant industry, and if you throw retail into the mix, it is possible to cover most of all the country.

We (the authors) both fall into this category, one working at a snow cone company and the other starting at the young age of 14 as a fry cook for an A&W Drive-In only to cap his career as the Chief People Officer for Brinker International, the owners of Chili's Grill and Bar.

For many, their first work experience in one of these industries was made possible on a part time or seasonal basis. The number of seasonal jobs each year account for a substantial quantity of first time jobs, some 52% as reported by the US Government Workforce report. Experience teaches us leaders frequently do not invest the needed time, energy, and resources preparing these seasonal employees to deliver a desired result. The belief broadly held, as told to me by a hiring manager of seasonal employees is, "They will be gone soon, why waste our time?"

The question needed at this point is this, how important is maximized sales to your organization? It seems a bit rhetorical to ask, but the question must be asked to make a point. If maximizing sales is important, then maximizing the customer experience to drive more sales should be a key focus. There is a simple principle to keep in mind, the customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. Meaning, the investment you make in your people has a direct payout with the customers walking through your doors.

The Power of 1-2-3

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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.