Maximizing Motivation: How to Get the Most out of Hotel Employees
By Rick Garlick Vice President, Strategy Consultant, Magid | March 2019
There is near universal acceptance that having motivated employees is a prerequisite to delivering a positive customer experience. While it is hard to think of any industry where this isn't true, there is probably no environment where it is truer than the hospitality industry. Hospitality is an incredibly high touch experience for guests, who are likely to encounter many employees during their stay, and each of those interactions drives their willingness to return to both that property, and other properties in the portfolio.
Even as hotel brands are advancing technology to drive guest satisfaction, at the end of the day, the hospitality experience is about people, not buildings or technology tools. It is no coincidence that the most beautiful and well-appointed hotel buildings in the world are also staffed with the most attentive and guest-oriented staff. Just think of how many online reviews mention the people that served them, both the good and the bad. It is unlikely that a seamless mobile experience or having Amazon Alexa in the room, ready to serve, could provide the same level of guest satisfaction.
The concept of successful employee engagement in the hospitality environment is driven by three things: (1) hiring people who have a natural affinity toward serving others; and (2) supporting the employee's efforts through an accommodating service culture; and (3) providing the proper incentives, rewards, and recognition to reinforce positive performance. Employee performance is a result of both nature (e.g., talent, attitude) and nurture (e.g., proper motivators).
W. Edwards Deming once said, "A bad system will beat a good person every time." As long as hotels have enough applicants to select from to hire talented guest-facing employees (which may not always be the case), it becomes a matter of supporting those employees through both a positive service culture and proper performance reinforcers. While much can be said about the need to foster a service-oriented culture, the focus of this article is understanding workforce motivators that stimulate employee performance.
Here are several key points to keep in mind for maximizing motivation, especially among hospitality team members:
1. A paycheck is an expectation, not a universal motivator