Having the right people to run your hotel means having the right leaders in place to take care of employees.
Writing about loyalty nowadays seems like an impossible task. With the exponential growth of internet and the availability of information at our fingertips, we have now infinite options.
Each day we are inundated with new brands and not only in hospitality, but also in everyday life with new products, services, apps, magazines, etc., each claiming to be the next thing that’s ground breaking.
Here is my take on loyalty, particularly when it comes to hotel brands from an employee point of view.
Not so long ago, having a job was a blessing, and applying for a job was a relatively simple task. You would buy an industry specific magazine or browse the web, send your application and five out of 10 you would get at least an answer.
Today, a job hunter is looking at 100-plus job sites, 50-plus hotel company websites, applying to more than 200 jobs and possibly receive 10 answers from those application to eventually get one or two interviews.
So if 98% of companies have no interest in most applicants, why should they have interest and trust toward those companies?
The overwhelming availability and response of candidates to job postings is hard to manage. For example, I recently posted on my LinkedIn page some opportunities available at my resort. I received over 60, 000 views and over 700 hundreds likes.
This turned to receiving far too many applications and CVs with the vast majority not matching the requirements for the job.
Where am I going with all this? The point I am trying to make is that possibly WE are the one making the mistake and not doing the right thing from the beginning.
If we were investing the same amount of care and money to attract great talents as we do for customers, don’t you think we would not have to deal with all this?
Don’t we all want more loyal customers and employees?
Employee loyalty begins from the hiring process. If this is well orchestrated and conducted, if all parties interested are involved (and not only human resources), the selection of the candidates are more engaged and interested in the job.
For example, I learned from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts that each employee must be interviewed by the GM, even if is a 5-minute meeting. This makes the candidate feel important and valued, and in return he or she will get a much better impression of the company.
If you want to change the way you manage the interview process, then ask yourself:
- Why should an applicant come in through the back of house and not the front entrance like a guest would?
- Why don’t we advise them on what to wear before they come for an interview?
- Why not welcome them with a cold or hot towel and a welcome drink?
- Why not sit in a guest area and have coffee with them during the interview?
Making a good first impression will sit well with the interviewee and hopefully make them want to work at your hotel.
What’s done at work affects how employees of younger generations perform on the job.
When I do my welcome speech at the inductions of new staff, one of the topics I talk about is how many opportunities are available nowadays. For example, I explain that there are over 300 large hotel companies in the world, which means that if they want, they could change jobs each day for 300 days or each year for 300 years. Most of the time they never look at that perspective and smile at that statement.
I know that they will most probably not stay with me for more than 18 months (at most), but what I want to create are ambassadors for the company. At least when they leave, they have learned something, they have enjoyed their job and they will talk well about their experience with their friends, family and network. I have done my job if I have achieved this.
Some of the activities I believe are a must in order to keep your team engaged and eventually become an ambassador of your company are:
- Change: Do not keep your employees in the same place for too long. Every 8-10 months, move and challenge them to another department or area of the same one. Keep them learning all the time.
- One-to-one feedback: Newer generations are (in general) socially shy. The use of mobile communication is not helping them develop the correct social skills, therefore, giving feedback in public will completely disengage them. Also provide feedback on the spot and as often as possible.
- Walk the talk and keep your promises: People are not stupid. The moment we over promise and under deliver we lose the trust. This applies everywhere. Trust is the foundation of any relationship.
The HR department is so much more important now than ever before. Senior leaders need to understand that each manager is and needs to be an HR manager first. The ‘’humane’’ responsibility we have to how to treat our team is essential for the success of a company.
Provide high quality staff services, areas and facilities
Your back of house should look as if a guest is about to walk through.
Quoting Simon Sinek, it’s as simple as this ‘’100% of customers are people, 100% of employees are people. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”
My rant is directed to owners, investors, corporate offices and all those who think opening a hotel and being successful is only about building a beautiful building, winning awards and providing exceptional experiences. I am afraid that this is not enough. Keeping your workforce motivated and engaged is the base of success. I don’t think I am the first one to say that if you take care of your staff they will take care of your business.
Rocco Bova, an Italian-born hotelier, is a passionate, energetic and enthusiastic professional, with experience from classic hotels to cutting edge design, from business city properties to resorts operations and from golf resorts to destination wellness with over 25 years of experience. Currently Mr. Bova is the GM of Chable' Resort & SPA, a luxury wellness resort set in the Yucatan jungle of Mexico.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.