Employee Engagement: How to use recognition and non-monetary rewards to drive employee engagement

By Justin Sun Compensation Analyst, Lockheed Martin | March 11, 2012

In today’s market where rewarding staff with salary increases and bonuses may be difficult to come by, the use of non-monetary rewards to drive engagement is no longer just an optional or nice thing to do. One of the most common nonfinancial rewards is recognition, and you can experience a high return on investment in the use of this simple, yet powerful reward through increased guest satisfaction ratings and loyalty.

But what does recognition actually have to do with the bottom line? A model that demonstrates the importance of recognition’s role in driving financial performance is the service profit-chain. Developed by a group of Harvard University researchers in the nineties, the service profit-chain claims that a direct link exists between top service experiences, customer loyalty, and profit. Research shows that low employee turnover, due to high engagement, is correlated with high customer satisfaction and that a culture focused on showing genuine care for both customers and fellow employees is one of the highest drivers of engagement.

Furthermore, a recent study by MarketTools Inc. for Globoforce confirms that a lack of sincere recognition provided to employees is a leading cause of turnover. The study identifies a solid correlation between the level of recognition delivered by managers and the loyalty of their direct reports.
Thus, the effort that managers invest in getting to know their employees and the motivators that drive them to go above and beyond in their performance can translate into a dramatic increase in guest satisfaction scores and loyalty.

To illustrate, let’s take as an example a top-performing front desk agent in your hotel who is having a difficult week due to a personal issue outside of work. Being aware of the trauma that this employee is dealing with, you could offer her the option of working a more flexible schedule, at least temporarily, to show that you are concerned about her personal needs. Catering to this employee’s needs outside of the workplace is one way in which you could show her your appreciation for her continuous commitment to exceptional guest service and enhance her motivation level in doing so.

Managers need to take the time to get to know their employees and what makes them tick in the same way that they seek to learn more about their guests’ preferences. By becoming more aware of what incentives—from a flexible working schedule to gift cards—are most meaningful to your employees, you can ensure that you obtain the greatest return on investment through your nonfinancial rewards. In an environment as mentally and physically stressful as a hotel, a simple effort to show real care and concern for your employees can have a dramatic impact on how they treat your guests.

If you want your employees to smile sincerely at guests and to greet each of them by name, you should demonstrate this behavior by smiling and greeting your own employees by name. If you want employees to engage in conversation with guests about how their day is going, you can encourage this behavior by showing a sincere desire to know how your employees are doing throughout the day. Only a few minutes of your time engaging in conversation with your employees can go a long way in driving engagement and achieving business goals.

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Coming up in August 2018...

Food & Beverage: Millennials Rule

The Millennial Generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation in America, and their tastes and preferences are being reflected in the Food & Beverage industry. In general, Millennials insist on more natural, healthier, less-processed food and beverage sources, and in part, this inspired the farm-to-table movement. However, now the trend is becoming even more pronounced and hyper-local. Millennials no longer simply want to know their food is farm-to-table, they want to know which farm, and where it's located relative to the community. As a result, hotel F&B directors are redesigning entire menus to feature area brewers, wineries, and family farms. Not only is this a proven way to satisfy Millennial tastes but it also opens the door for hotel guests to enjoy immersive experiences such as tours and excursions to local farms and breweries. Also, thanks in no small part to Millennials, coffee consumption is at an all-time high. In response, F&B directors are creating innovative ways to enhance the coffee experience for guests. Nitro-brewed coffee, cold brew, lattes on draft, and the introduction of unique milk options are part of this trend, as are locally sourced coffee beans where available. Millennial influences can also be found in the Craft and Artisan Cocktail movement where the same preferences for locally sourced and high-quality ingredients apply. One leading hotel even offers a drink menu featuring liquors infused with herbs recommended by experts for their health and well-being benefits. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.