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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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.