Employee Engagement: How Research Can Help Hoteliers Optimize Recognition and Reward Programs
By Rick Garlick Vice President, Strategy Consultant, Magid | April 19, 2020
By this point, the idea that having highly engaged employees leads to a positive guest experience is widely accepted and no longer a subject of debate. Despite this, many hoteliers still focus on operational efficiency, sometimes to the detriment of their staff. This is not to say the two are mutually exclusive, but successful businesses, particularly those with a high degree of employee-customer contact, recognize the importance of getting the best performance possible out of every staff member.
In strong economies, the cost of voluntary turnover is also something that warrants concern about making sure employees enjoy coming to work and performing their assigned jobs.
3 Key Components of an Engaged Workforce
While different definitions of employee engagement exist, there are three primary components to having a highly engaged workforce. The first is identifying talent, which focuses on putting people in jobs that best fit their personalities and natural abilities. Putting an introverted person in a position that involves high degrees of customer interaction does not represent the best alignment of talent and job function. Similarly, putting someone with very little persistence to pushback in a sales position is also a misalignment.
The second component is having a strong service culture. Edward Deming once famously asserted that a 'bad system will beat a good person every time.' If the system impedes the individual's ability to effectively serve customers, a talented person will suffocate and become easily frustrated. Examples of a poor service culture include having policies that are self-serving for the company, but detrimental to the customer that the employee is forced to enforce, having salespeople promise things to customers that operations cannot support, serving under managers that fail to listen to customers or customer facing-employees, or not being personally empowered to help your guests.
While much is made of the employee-customer service profit chain, it can be argued that unhappy customers de-motivate employees more quickly than the opposite holds true. Feeling powerless to do anything meaningful to resolve a customer concern is certainly discouraging to anyone who takes pride in his or her work.