Motivating Hotel Employees into Staying the Course of Service
By Kevin Robinson COO & Managing Partner, Aparium Hotel Group | April 10, 2016
Maybe you've been there…you look at the clock and the minutes slowly tick by. Each day seems to be the same as the previous. You've fallen into a rut. Often associates feel the same way. It's vital – particularly in the hospitality industry – that managers engage teams to sustain their motivation and passion, both in their day-to-day roles as well as in the service they deliver to guests and customers. According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, a mere 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, a sobering figure for all employers. With engagement at an all-time low, it's a particularly important time to motivate your workforce and the impact that it has on engagement.
The most significant asset that any business holds is its associates. Gallup describes three types of associates: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. 'Engaged associates' work with passion and have a connection to their company. They are diligent and focused in their work ethic, and will outperform any neighboring hotel or competitor. 'Not engaged associates' are distant and essentially "checked out" on the job. They clock in and out, doing just enough to get through the day and watching the clock at all times. They get the job done, but far from exceed expectations. 'Actively disengaged associates' are the most dangerous to your company's culture. These associates use their energy to act out against the accomplishments of their engaged associates. Disengagement impacts more than just the morale at our hotels, it affects service levels, profitability, turnover, productivity and the overall guest experience.
So, what steps can a manager take to properly and successfully motivate their associates? Daniel Pink's book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, highlights three essential elements of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These drivers are not the typical "recognize and reward" approach for which most of us are familiar. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose work together to achieve high performance and operate as one to steer associates in the right direction and combat a complacent and disengaged state of mind.
- Associates want control of their job – give them the autonomy to make decisions. Do you allow your managers to lead, or do you take control and stand in their way?
- Associates want to improve their job performance. What opportunities have you put in place for associates to master a skill?
- Associates want to see the connection between their work and its impact – the purpose of their role.
We all want the freedom to make pertinent decisions and not feel micromanaged, with eyes looking over our shoulders at all times. As a leader, do you allow your associates to go above and beyond for a guest without holding their hand each step of the way? Do you recognize when an associate makes a decision on their own without involving a supervisor? What programs are set up to foster creative and innovative ideas?
Focus on the strengths of the actively engaged – they are your biggest asset. If you're not sure where to start, hold a brainstorming session with a group of actively engaged associates. Find out why they chose to work at your hotel. Ask what elements of their position currently motivate them, and what they might find as helpful additions to sustain that motivation. Capitalize on their strengths and ask them to work on special projects and share their opinions on top priority projects and executive decisions.