Retention & Recruitment: Lessons from Your Guests

Flipsides of the Same Coin: Getting and Keeping Employees and Guests

By Eileen McDargh Chief Energy Officer, The Resiliency Group | March 08, 2015

Co-authored by Dr. Beverly Kaye, Founder of Career Systems International

We both travel much in our work as consultants and keynote speakers. We watch for ideas to help our clients create environments that support, nurture, and retain talent. We seek insights to nurture resilient organizations that grow through engagement challenges. We realize one source of continual insights often comes from our experience as guests in hotels around the world.

When asked to write this article, our collective brains hit upon an idea that many of you already have in place: superb training to enhance the guest experience and encourage repeat visits.

We marvel at the "guest" training that hotel employees receive and we wonder why we aren't doing a better job of treating our employees as "guests." Think about it: We want our employees to return day in and day out (just like a guest) We want them to feel as though the organization needs, values and respects them (just like a guest). We want employees to spread the word about the great place they work –just like we want a guest to speak highly of our property. What if those same methods were used with employees.

Eric Schmidt, co-founder and co-author of the book, Google, pulls no punches when he states that mangers spend a lot of time in the hiring process to recruit just the right person. " How do they pay you back? By leaving. That's right. News Flash: When you hire great people, many may come to realize that there is a world beyond yours. This isn't a bad thing...it's an inevitable by product of a healthy, innovative team. Still, fight like hell to keep them."

The hospitality field for HR professionals is being slammed with the need to replace an aging workforce, find and develop talent among significantly different generations of workers, create career paths to grow the next generation of leaders, plus measure and manage budgets that must be justified for recruitment and retention.
Getting these tasks done-tasks that will result in a vibrant, resilient organization--seems overwhelming. Yet, it is often the elegant, simple approach to keeping and attracting talent that wins the day.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.