Tapping Into Your Team's Talent and Keeping Them Motivated

By Michael Haynie, SR. President, Parkway Hospitality Management | June 05, 2011

Tapping into the talent of employees and keeping them motivated are two of the most important challenges that hotel management professionals face. The public has many choices of where to spend their travel dollars and the quality of service can have a significant impact. Poor attitudes or inattention to detail can make the difference between a guest becoming a repeat visitor or trashing your hotel on travel websites and to their friends. Having a great staff is not as simple as hiring great people – of course that is part of it, but hotel management must also tap into their team's talents in strategic and creative ways in order to bring out the best in their team and keep them motivated to perform day in and day out.

First off, hotel management needs to look at creative ways to attract top talent, as there is no substitute for a quality team. One effective way of attracting recruits is through the use of social media. Posting job openings on your Facebook page and Twitter feed is a good way to attract candidates who are interested in our industry. Young graduates are increasingly turning to social media in their job searches. Depending on the position you are hiring for you may want to use social media to your advantage and see what you can learn about the candidate prior to an interview.

Employee Referral programs are also an excellent way to attract strong hires while also boosting morale within your organization. The premise of employee referral programs is that current employees are given a bonus if a person they refer to the company for employment is hired. Studies have shown that a well-designed employee referral program can produce over 70% of hires, and these hires are statistically proven to have a lower rate of attrition. This benefits everyone, as you will get talent that your quality team members have essentially endorsed and the referring employee receives a monetary bonus, which creates a positive perception of your company and builds good will with that employee.

Once you have top talent in the door it is absolutely essential they stay motivated. One in-house program that my team uses to motivate staff is Spot a Star. This program allows us to identify and recognize deserving candidates from within our organization. Our associates carry printed cards to hand out when they notice someone going above and beyond the call of duty on their own time. These associates are then identified for promotion within the organization. By rewarding our current employees and recognizing their hard work, we are able to provide them with job satisfaction and motivate them to exceed expectations.

Peer recognition and financial incentives are certainly motivators, which entice employees to shine. One strategy that we have found to be successful over the years it to identify and honor employees who are going over and above the minimum requirements for their position and representing the hotel in a positive fashion to guests. It is equally important for hotel management to have predetermined criteria, which they use to assess performance, as it is for employees to be aware that hard work and a positive attitude are rewarded. Employees who management selects to recognize are rewarded at quarterly Employee Recognition & Awards celebrations, where we award these employees of the cash prizes and plaques. The agenda for these meetings always includes games and contests among the departments. As word of the program spreads, other employees will want to know how they can be recognized and will strive to do their best to earn recognition.

On a day-to-day basis it is not necessary to reward employees with money or prizes. Management should simply go out of their way to recognize the good job they are doing and the hard work they are putting in. Give out "Thanks a million" cards, or an "I Get It, I Got It" button. These programs are instant recognitions awards for those who have been observed "doing it right."

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.