Finding the Perfect Hotel Employee

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | January 06, 2019

Making the wrong hire can have ghastly repercussions for a hotel property or travel tech company. Between the costs associated with paying for poor performance, the drain on employee morale, time spent in training and onboarding, time needed to find another new employee, recruiter fees and the opportunity cost of not selecting the right person, getting it right the first time is critical. The US Department of Labor estimates that the cost of a bad hire is 30% of that person's income; for a startup in travel tech or an established property, this is a massive investment in… nothing.

However, nearly no company can succeed without bringing in outside talent. Whether it's replacing an employee who's moved into a new department (or new company), roles shifted because of technology, or even basics like retirement, companies in the travel space are required to make hires. Following are tips that help to ensure that a new hire is the right hire.

Know Your Team

The first step in the process of finding the right employee is to evaluate your existing team. It's important to have a realistic grasp on who they are, how they operate, where they are exceeding expectations and where they are lacking or need improvement. With this information, it is possible to shift the focus of the job description, allowing hiring managers to more easily find great candidates and also empowering the property or company to use the hiring window as an opportunity for growth, as opposed to lateral movement. In addition, there are corporate culture elements that should be considered when thinking about an existing team, after all, this is the group that will be handling a majority of training.

Having working knowledge of the team in place also makes it it possible for recruiters and hiring managers to offer a realistic view of the team to candidates. Not every property is willing to put potential hires through group interviews, or hire by committee. This places the onus on recruiters and HR folks to know exactly what an employee is getting into by accepting the role. After all, if potential employers paint a pretty picture and the candidate/new employee makes a potentially life altering decision to join a new company, the last thing they want to find out is that they were deceived. That is the quickest way to ruin your reputation as an employer and have people quit.

Develop a Referral Pipeline

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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.