Impactful Actions Hotel Executives Can Do to Increase Employee Engagement
By Mostafa Sayyadi Management Consultant, The Change Leader Consulting Inc | March 22, 2020
There are many academic studies that focus on the organizational and managerial factors that drive knowledge management and business performance. Employee engagement is one such area that plays a critical role and is a strategic prerequisite for business success in today's knowledge-based economy. In this article, I place a new emphasis on employee engagement, because of its strategic importance at all levels of the hotels.
Employee engagement can enable hotels to create and implement innovations timely as they operate and compete in global markets. This article contributes to employee engagement by developing a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between servant leadership, employee engagement, knowledge management and business performance.
Why Servant Leadership Really Works for Employee Engagement?
Greenleaf introduced the term 'servant leadership' into the business literature for the first time and caused some controversy in the corporate boardroom while added some value among the religious clergy. Servant leadership came out of his work experiences at organizations such as MIT and the influence of Hermann Hesse's Journey to the East. Greenleaf largely gained his insights through the central character of 'Leo,' who becomes a servant leader and speaks about the Law of Service.
Servant leaders are those leaders who turn the organizational chart upside down, putting the customers at the top. Servant leadership can be clearly seen as rooted in the clerical leadership perspective in that Christ's leadership when Greenleaf says that the words "service," "to serve" and "servant" occur over 1300 times in the revised version of the St. James bible.
Servant leadership highlights Jesus as an ultimate example of a servant leader, and suggests applying the leadership insights that Jesus gives us within organizations. Scholars concentrate on the characteristics of a servant leader, and recommend ten fundamental characteristics: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community.
Servant leaders' characteristics can play a crucial role in improving employee engagement. Importantly, the characteristics of servant leaders, such as commitment to the growth of people, can identify employee's individual needs and empower employees to be engaged in organizational decision-making and then mobilize employees' support toward the goals and objectives at the organizational level.
Servant leaders can, in fact, improve employee engagement through building effective communities, which constitute the basics of a supportive workplace to encourage employee engagement. More importantly, servant leaders are those hotel executives who effectively lead with empathy to spark employee engagement within hotels. These managers use effective strategies to improve employee engagement through supporting employee's desire for development and growth.
Hotel executives can also take servant leadership approach to focus on inspiring employees, setting a higher level of desired expectations for them and engaging employees in decision making. Thus, these leaders can effectively inspire employees to be engaged in organizational processes and subsequently generate new ideas and better solutions for organizational problems.
Therefore, the Importance of servant leadership exists and has its roots in helping others and providing hope in an environment that seems to be critical for employee engagement to find a stronghold. Thus, all hotel executives must provide the customer and shareholder with the best possible service and this section of the article clearly indicates that servant leadership can represent a complete answer to need for improving employee engagement within hotel in today's global market environment.
Thus, when looking at servant leadership from a new perspective, a hotel manager must understand the importance of servant leadership and place more emphasis on applying what works best for them in their current work environment to improve employee engagement.
Top Ways to Better Engage Your Employees in Hotels
Employee engagement is a necessary precursor to improve business success. The question arises whether organizational factors themselves can be a source of effectiveness for employee engagement. I pose that an ineffective vision and strategic plan may expose hotels to missed opportunities and lack of using management opportunities to their benefit given the existing opportunities in international and domestic markets, and how this lack of judgment may concern stakeholders.
This fact can be further explained by some scholars, who argue that a hotel's internal characteristics can be seen as essential sources of achievement. Scholars, to date, have failed to provide a comprehensive framework which incorporates all of the contextual factors that may impact employee engagement in hotel. Exploring these factors and how they may impact practical implications for hotel managers to improve employee engagement and meet their business objectives. There is a gap toward identifying the catalysts of employee engagement in hotels.
The absence of a systematic approach toward this challenge inhibits the development of employee engagement as a vital driver of business performance. It is apparent that a systematic approach toward employee engagement can provide practical guidelines for hotel executives across the globe.
First, hotel executives should inspire employees to engage in learning and generate new solutions A centralized structure has a negative impact on employee engagement, while decentralization positively contributes to employee engagement, through developing a more innovative climate. This can be enhanced by the crucial role of decentralized structures in facilitating the exchange of ideas and the implementation of more innovative solutions based on stipulating the power of decision-making at all levels of the hotel.
Formalized structures are more bureaucratic, and this negatively contributes to the effectiveness of hotel executives in changing the existing situations and creating a better environment for employee engagement. Thus, employee engagement is more effective in more informal structures when compared to bureaucratic structures. Hence, a formalized and centralized structure is negatively related to the effectiveness of employee engagement. Thus, hotel executives can develop more decentralized and organic structures to develop relationships and improve employee engagement in hotels.
In addition, social networks can help hotel executives develop employee engagement. Social networks can motivate hotel executives to expand relationships with their subordinates. In addition, social networks can positively contribute to hotel managers to effectively empower and develop better collaborations among subordinates and managers. Ergo, hotel executives can improve employee engagement, through developing more effective social networks to encourage employee engagement in hotels.
In conclusion, this section of the article not only introduces various organizational factors that have a direct and indirect impact on employee engagement, but also provide an impetus of effective management in supporting ultimate performance. This section clearly uncovers how employee engagement can be affected by substantial internal characteristics of hotels such as the organizational structure, and most importantly, social networks.
Employee Engagement is Good for Performance at the Organizational Level
Hotel executives across the globe have found that knowledge is critical to business success. Organizational knowledge, in of itself, is not enough to satisfy the vast array of changes in today's business environment. Employee engagement is a necessary precursor to effectively managing knowledge in hotels. Knowledge can be seen as a blend of information, experiences and codes, and a collection of meaningful information. One important point that all hotel executives world-wide can learn is that knowledge is a resource that enables hotels to solve problems through improved performance and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.
Scholars found that within hotels, knowledge resides in various areas such as management, employees, culture, structure, systems, processes and relationships, and its role is to improve organizational effectiveness. The question remains. Why would hotel executives care whether knowledge is tacit or explicit? The simple answer is that tacit knowledge is not shared and sometimes bottled up in individuals causing a bottleneck in the hotel. If knowledge can be categorized as tacit and explicit knowledge then how can hotel executives manage knowledge to enhance productivity and improve organizational effectiveness?
Since tacit knowledge is knowledge that exists in the minds of organizational members which is gained by their individual experiences, and is difficult to formalize and transfer unless directed to do so, hotel executives need to pinpoint and encourage this type of knowledge to be drawn out of followers. More controllable, explicit knowledge is knowledge that is highly formalized and codified, and can be easily recorded and communicated through formal and systematic language, and manifested in rules and procedures providing the necessary tools and processes for hotel executives to manage.
Furthermore, explicit knowledge can also be captured in expert systems and tapped by many people throughout the hotel via intranet. Hotel managers know that explicit knowledge is more formal and has the potential to be more easily shared. When it is expressed in words and specifications, it is much more useful compared to tacit knowledge. Hotel managers can have organizational development experts to use focus groups to draw out follower's tacit knowledge.
The other question remains. How employee engagement can create explicit knowledge and improve organizational effectiveness? Hotel executives can, in fact, inspire employees to be engaged in decision making and motivate them to share their knowledge with others, this individual knowledge is valuable to the hotel. Hence, employees' individual knowledge can become a valuable resource by improving employee engagement to exchange new ideas and insights.
Hotel executives, therefore, must create a culture of engagement and openness for employees to share individual knowledge. New technologies drawing on social-software systems through sharing individual knowledge around the hotels can also help hotel executives to effectively engage employees in decision making to create explicit knowledge within hotels. Thus, hotel managers can improve employee engagement to convert employees' individual knowledge into valuable resources for their hotels to close the performance gap and help hotels prosper.
Hotels have succeeded and failed based upon employee engagement that can transform performance at the organizational level. Hotel managers that act as servant leaders develop employee engagement to meet new changes and challenges. This article explores servant leadership and the core competencies for improving employee engagement in hotels. This article also indicates that to improve employee engagement, hotel executives can develop competencies to better deploy corporate structure and social networks.
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