Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” We wholeheartedly agree with this statement and believe that employee satisfaction is crucial to a well-run hotel.

There is a great deal of research on employee engagement and the benefits it can bring to an organization, from increased revenues to improved client satisfaction. Engaged employees enjoy a sense of purpose and community at work are far more likely to go the extra mile for their organization. Ensuring that employees are taken care of is especially important in hospitality, where the customer service that each staff member provides is crucial to a hotel’s success. In addition, having satisfied and engaged employees can make a big difference in a competitive industry with high turnover rates and a great deal of mobility.

We’ve put together some tips on how to make your team happier at work, and have provided a range of suggestions that can be implemented on any level. We hope this helps foster a happier, more productive experience for your hotel staff. If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments or send us an email at contact@ameniti.com.

 

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Cultivate a Supportive Environment

One of the best things you can do for your employees is to show that you genuinely care about their well being. The good news is that this requires nothing but a bit of time and effort on your part. Your staff wants to know that you see them as more than their work, and that you want them to be successful on a personal level as well as a professional one. When your employees know that you care about and believe in them, they become empowered and therefore motivated to do their best work.

Employee satisfaction improves significantly when you get to know your staff better and work to build a supportive workplace. Greet them with a smile each morning, and thank them at the end of the day. Remember personal details like favorite hobbies and names of spouses. Kimpton’s CEO, Mike DeFrino, even sends the children of his employees letters of congratulations after they attain academic achievements. Engage in meaningful conversations that show you care. A positive work environment, which includes rewarding relationships with coworkers and managers, is very important to employee satisfaction and productivity.

Another key strategy is to promote an open, transparent, and communicative work environment. Be honest about how you think the hotel needs to improve, and most importantly, ask for their input. Your employees are in the trenches and may know better than you the nature of day-to-day goings on at the hotel, whether it be in guest service, operations, sales, or any other department. Through listening to them, you will gain a more comprehensive understanding of the hotel’s performance and your staff will feel heard. If staff feel that they can make a difference in the workplace, they will be more invested in it.

 

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Training

Providing the proper resources for employe growth can go a long way towards fostering a productive and happy workforce. Well-trained employees mean a well-run hotel, and relatively small investments can have a significant impact in this area. Try providing your employees access to professional development, workshops, courses, or even an educational stipend. It’s also important to help them stay current through updates on company policy and various developments in the industry.

Another aspect of training employees is providing constructive feedback. It sounds simple, but constructive criticism is an art form – and very crucial to employee success. Have meetings as often as possible about employee performance, including both positive and negative feedback as constructively as possible. End these sessions by helping them set personal goals for improvement.

It is also important to give employees individualized support. Listening is key here. By paying attention to your employees’ interests and strengths, you can help them to prepare for advancement in an area that suits them. Paying attention pays off, as people perform better when they’re doing something that they love or are naturally inclined towards. For example, if one staff member has a knack for connecting with guests, her customer service skills should be utilized through maximizing her guest-facing responsibilities. The same goes for a someone who is good with numbers or has superior organizational skills. In one inspiring story, David Lund, as a hotel financial manager, overheard a conversation about one doorman’s computer skills and encouraged him to apply for a job in the IT department. Twenty years later, this employee is running IT systems for the company on a national level. Had Mr. Lund not been paying attention, this never would have been the case.

 

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Benefits and Perks

When a person decides where to work, benefits play a large role – and with good reason. The right benefits can have an incredibly positive impact on overall quality of life. This could include anything from generous paid time off and comped stays to a comprehensive parental leave policy and tuition reimbursement options. Even a gym membership can do wonders for improving a staff member’s performance on the job. Among the five hotels that landed on Fortune’s coveted list of The 100 Best Places to Work for in 2018, two common threads are perks and benefits offered to employees.

Kimpton offers employees and their family members the option to stay at any Kimpton property for only fifty dollars a night. In addition, the brand provides pet-friendly workspaces whenever possible and personalized gift baskets to welcome new hires to the company. Hilton offers generous parental leave after the arrival of a new child. Marriott is known for its employee income protection, and those who have been with the company for more than 25 years receive unlimited lifetime free stays at all Marriott hotels. These benefits can have a true impact on an employee’s mindset, and encouraging a positive mindset outside of work can have an incredible impact on day-to-day performance and satisfaction.

 

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Reward and Incentivize Good Performance

Everyone wants to feel that their work matters. When employees are rewarded for positive performance, it’s a recipe for even better results down the road. Recognition also allows staff to take ownership of both their day-to-day tasks and the broader mission and goals of the hotel. Expressing gratitude is the first step, and doesn’t have to cost a dime. Some of the most meaningful rewards an employee can receive are as simple as verbal praise, whether in private or in front of other staff, for a job well done. A personal note or email is a nice touch for an employee who has gone above and beyond. When appropriate, money can be an effective motivator. Successful incentives can range from a small gift card to an end-of-year bonus. This will keep employees working hard and on their toes.

Team-related rewards and recognition are also effective, as they build camaraderie and raise morale at the same time as promoting achievement. For instance, if your hotel receives excellent online reviews, print them out and hang them up in the break room for motivation. For large accomplishments, such as when a department meets a long-term goal, it’s a good idea to treat them to a celebration, such as a team lunch.

Perhaps the best rewards for high performers are promotions. Do your best to promote from within. As noted in the previous section, recognizing your employees’ strengths and interests is extremely important, especially when it comes to grooming them for advancement down the line. Getting them there means keeping an eye out for openings across departments and trying to create a culture of growth, promoting from within whenever possible.

 

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Give them the Resources to Succeed

One of the best ways to keep your staff happy is to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. When the proper tools are implemented, daily tasks are completed with greater ease, speed, and quality. This can be implemented on any scale and can mean anything from high-end digital tools for your marketing department to top-of-line, durable vacuum cleaners for housekeeping.

On a larger scale, technology is often cited as problematic for employees. For example, many hotels still use walkie-talkies for communication, especially among housekeeping staff. Doing away with clunky, outdated technology can mean a great deal to the employees who use it to do their jobs each day. Arming them with the best tools possible can go a long way towards quality of work, and ensuring the long-term success of your hotel.

Automation can be especially helpful in improving the day-to-day employee experience. Automatic ticketing is at the forefront of automation, harnessing Artificial Intelligence to save employees time and headaches. Let’s face it, the most rewarding part of a guest service employee’s job isn’t entering tickets- it’s providing guests with amazing service. Let your staff handle the more exciting, interactive aspects of guest relations, and let artificial intelligence do the rest. Minimizing stress through the automation of small, rudimentary tasks truly helps create a positive day-to-day experience for employees and frees them up to work on more fulfilling tasks.