Happy employees provide more personal and better service and keep guests coming back. Being considerate, fair and honest with your staff are the fundamental principals of keeping your people happy and motivated. I recently had the opportunity to speak at an event in a hotel in the Greater Vancouver Area. Just prior to the beginning, a member of banquet staff was setting tables and placing pre poured glasses of water in the same room where I was scheduled to speak in a few minutes. I asked if I could have a glass of water and was told that the water was part of the dinner setup and no effort was made to meet my request!! A few years ago I was returning to Vancouver on a ‘reputed’ international airline and needed a pencil to make notes in a book that I was reading. My request was declined, there was not a single pencil on board the aircraft!! In both cases staff made no effort to stray from the ordinary and were happy to take the easy way out. In today’s competitive business environment this is just not good enough!

If your staff is happy, they will be motivated to do wonderful things for your guests! Here are a few simple pointers for hoteliers…

-Give an opportunity for the staff to experience the product from a client’s perspective. Have your staff stay at the hotel with their family at least one night a year. This allows them to ‘tinker’ with the product and get to know it intimately. They also experience the soft side of the product as well.
-Inspire them to take extraordinary actions for the welfare of the guest. Encourage them to break the rules if they have to satisfy the needs of your customers. Empowering your employees to take action and correct problems is what new age customer service is all about.
-Make recognition an integral part of your culture. Never waste an opportunity to recognize. Don’t wait till the end of the month, excellence needs to be recognized right away. Strike when the iron is hot, recognize and celebrate as soon as an opportunity arises.
-Listen and value feedback. During my days at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington DC, every employee was invited to have a ‘rap session’ with the general manager
-Listening is pointless if no action is taken. Keep your employees informed, follow up!
-Engage your employees, show them you care. Do small things like a box of chocolates on their birthday, and why not their children’s birthdays! Offer them meaningful benefits.
-Promote a culture of development and learning. Give them opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skill base. Give them a chance to learn new things and be challenged. Offer tuition reimbursement and mentoring programs.
-Open up to your staff and engage them. Show them the value of their efforts in the overall success of the product. Let them see what your days looks like!
-Serve quality meals in your staff cafeteria even if staff must pay for it. This is one of the most common pet peeves among employees.
-Pay a competitive salary, you have a better shot at excellence!
-Be transparent, share company information with employees and set up a system to obtain anonymous feedback.

Happiness is contagious…when people are happy remarkable things happen!

By Teg Brar, MSc.