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Paul Feeney

Recession and recoveries both have a way of sneaking up on the unsuspecting. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, government economists now believe that the current recession began the early part of 2001. In fact, the warning signs of an end to a decade of seemingly boundless growth stretched back to the previous fall, when various engines of growth began to sputter. Those warning signs included the implosion of the dot-com economy, lagging sales of telecommunications and computer hardware, a sagging stock market, the drying up of capital investment and the curtailment of corporate hiring. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Organizations seldom set out to pick the wrong person for a job - but all too often succeed at that task despite themselves. When the hoped-for superstar proves to be not so super, or maybe just a poor fit, much of the benefit of filling the position has been lost. Last year saw a record number of new CEOs lose their jobs, as their Boards decided that one misstep was one too many. At lower, less visible levels the weeding-out process may take longer. But, sooner or later, mistakes must be corrected, or they will begin to eat away at organizational effectiveness. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Is there a silver lining inside the clouds of the economic slowdown and the slow recovery out of recession hanging over the U.S. and other countries? Is a less overheated economy secretly good news for employers desperately seeking employees? As we all know the current Conflict with Iraq has put a major halt on economic growth. As layoffs increase the pool of unemployed workers, will companies have an easier time of hiring - now and in the future? Is it therefore time to slow down from overnight job offers and scale back those astronomical hiring bonuses? Read on...

Paul Feeney

Interviews are like blind dates: one prays for the best but fears for the worst. The job candidate hopes that he or she will find the perfect next place of employment - bright people working for a great organization that has its act together and operates with a powerful sense of purpose and high degree of urgency. The employer, likewise, hopes to find that rare individual who walks on water and motivates others to follow. Yet sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the parties fail to put their best foot forward, spend a frustrating day learning little about each other and part company uncertain about the outcome. Much has been written about the interviewing mistakes that candidates make. Less has been written about the other half of the equation. But, as one byproduct of tens of thousands of candidate debriefings after their "blind dates" were over, Sanford Rose Associates has compiled a list of 10 common employer mistakes, along with some practical suggestions for avoiding them. Read on...

Paul Feeney

The truth is that leadership is generally more apparent by its absence than by its presence. How often in recent years have corporations replaced their CEO with either the current Number Two officer or with the savior from outside the company - only to regret the decision within months, if not days? The answer to that not entirely rhetorical question is more than half the time. Companies, nonetheless, crave leadership and cite it in survey after survey as the most needed ingredient in CEOs and general business managers. Many search firms therefore tout their skills in identifying that elusive trait. Read on...

Paul Feeney

As the old saying goes, if there weren't problems, God wouldn't have created managers. And anticipating problems is at least half of the battle for solving them. The smart manager therefore, with the active participation of the organization's HR professionals, will do a little brainstorming to identify the "what-ifs" that may be lurking just around the corner. The even wiser manager will address existing issues and concerns as well. Read on...

Paul Feeney

What began as a dream search turned into a recruiter's worst nightmare. The top candidate for Marketing Director of the company's consumer products division had impeccable credentials, understood branding like few other individuals in the universe and was a natural leader. Highly recommended by the outside search consultant and by numerous references, he had survived tough interviews with the vice president to whom he would report, as well as a senior HR professional. Now it was time to meet the other division officers. All went well until he walked into the office of the division's legal counsel, who said, "I think I've met you before." Read on...

Paul Feeney

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL recently confirmed what many long have suspected - namely, that "Online job boards have lost their cachet." (July 12, 2005) Why? According to the Journal, they are yielding "landslides of r'esum'es" that mostly come from unqualified candidates. "The trick - something that executive-search firms and headhunters have known for decades - is that the perfect candidate is usually working happily at a desk somewhere." The Journal is exactly right. Read on...

Paul Feeney

When it comes to people, we tend to think of the workplace as pretty homogeneous. Certainly our inner circle of peers consists of people pretty much like us - in age, schooling, professional background, athletic and cultural preferences, family size, residential choices and even attire. Workers older than we may not seem quite "with it," while younger ones may dress a little funny. Nonetheless, the employees of any particular organization (be it corporate headquarters or manufacturing plant) seem to be cut pretty much from the same bolt of cloth - or are they? Read on...

Paul Feeney

Do employers pay the same degree of attention when they devise a hiring plan for a critical position opening? Good ones do, of course. Less adept practitioners often fall victim to fuzzy thinking and obscure outcomes, hoping to make up the plot as they go along. ("I'll know the right person when I see him.") Candidates meanwhile find it difficult to audition for their roles, having received only the vaguest description of the part they are supposed to play. Strong endings result from strong beginnings, and it is difficult to spend too much time at the start of a search nailing down those factors that will lead to a successful conclusion - the employment of that individual who will make a genuine difference in organizational performance. Read on...

John Ely

Realization: Consumers are thrilled with the prospect of anything over and above poor service. From the gas pump to the ATM, we have lost contact with live, personal service. From restaurants to hotels, we find live people imitating automated systems. Consumers are so desperate for good service that their expectations are at an all-time low. What a great opportunity for your business! Read on...

Doug Walner

Making bad hires in the hotel industry can result in more than just lost time and wages, extra paperwork and personal trauma for those involved. It can cause severe, even irreparable, damage to a hotel's reputation and loss of revenue due to cancellations, lack of repeat business and poisonous word of mouth. Hotel guests all have memorable moments about their stay. For some, it's the spectacular oceanfront view. For others, it's the four-star steakhouse downstairs. Amenities like pillow-top beds or HD TVs might also linger in their minds. But for the discerning guest, it's the four-star customer service...or the lack thereof. If a guest is left uattended at check-in or has to wait over an hour for his luggage to be delivered to the room, the blame isn't going to fall solely on the shoulders of those responsible for those tasks. It's the hotel as a whole that will suffer. Read on...

Lynn McCullough

As the holidays approach and another year comes to a close, it's only natural to reflect on what we have, or maybe more appropriately, what we have received. In the business arena, careers are enriched and rewarded in a variety of ways. For those of us in the hospitality industry, a person's successful career path is not enhanced and bolstered in a vacuum. Rather, it is a product of knowledge mixed with many varied and diverse relationships. For the Convention Services Manager (CSM), a convention bureau, hotel, convention center, or arena/special facility employee, one's career growth can be stunted without the receipt of a few "gifts." For those who have found ACOM (Association for Convention Operations Management), these gifts just keep on giving. Since its "The Season," consider the following gifts that organizations, like ACOM, provide 365 days a year: Read on...

Paul Feeney

"The new year is expected to usher in a flurry of job hopping," announced USA Today. A large staffing firm quantified the percentage of disaffected employees as being "more than half," while a retained search firm put the number at precisely 42 percent. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 38 percent of HR professionals believe employee turnover is increasing. To date, few if any organizations have seen a mass exodus from their ranks. In truth, talent shortages will begin to catch many employers unaware - but that problem is not across the board, nor will it happen all at once. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. Read on...

Doug Walner

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of job applicants isn't an easy process. Conventional interviews and first impressions can often be misleading. The candidates you may have thought would be strong performers could buckle under pressure or be ill equipped to handle what you may consider the most basic tasks. So, what can employers do to "hedge their bets" and help ensure that they're hiring the best candidate possible for the job at hand? Read on...

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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.