Employee Engagement is Key in the Hotel Industry

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Gary Cattermole and Jaime Johnson are joint Co-Founders and Directors at The Survey Initiative, a leading staff survey provider. Here they discuss how employee engagement can lift profitability and improve staff wellbeing.What is employee engagement?
    Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able to enhance their own sense of wellbeing.

    In simple terms – are your staff prepared to go the extra mile?

    The research speaks for itself; not only is there a strong and direct link between high levels of employee engagement and high customer advocacy but the research also identifies that those organisations that score highly also have higher rates of profitability, increase financial turnover, lower staff attrition and associated costs of recruitment. It’s simple really if an employee is happy, enjoys their work, and feels valued they are keen to excel in their role and help the business succeed. However no two businesses are the same, what works for one hotel may not work for another.

    What works well for us?
    One way you can easily understand, track and monitor what motivates, engages and turns-off your staff is by running an independent employee engagement survey. Once you’ve got the results it then becomes very clear what work needs to be done.

    We recently completed an employee engagement survey for Jupiter Hotels whom operate 26 hotels under the Mercure brand in the UK. The company was launched in 2011 via a 50:50 joint venture between Patron Capital and West Register, under a franchise agreement with Accor. Following a period of organisational change, the company wanted to benchmark levels of employee engagement within its 1900 strong workforce, and find out what engages and disengages them.

    We conducted regular ‘snapshot’ surveys to provide insight and understanding into what engages and disengages employees. We provided group results to enable Jupiter Hotels to see what is happening across their business, and individual results to give hotel managers an insight into how their hotel is performing within the chain. Jupiter Hotels found the results very useful and have worked to boost employee recognition, communications and training/development. The HR department has not wasted a second and very quickly created actions to improve their levels of employee engagement. Time and money has been spent on revamping staff facilities, including more modern facilities, improved IT ability and a new staff uniform. To recognise the fantastic level of commitment given by Jupiter employees a new Staff Award scheme was introduced. The awards allow managers to offer on the spot £25 cash awards for outstanding effort and staff can be put forward for employee of the month and employee of the year awards too. A new training and development scheme has been launched with a ‘Rising Star’ programme to help talent rise through the ranks. To give everyone the chance to find out what’s going on in the organisation a new newsletter has been developed. The HR team has also negotiated enhanced benefits for staff with major discounts off products and services within the Accor group of hotels. We will continue to analyse the success of Jupiter Hotel’s employee engagement programme and offer them advice on how to develop even more successful ways of working.

    Employee engagement can really help businesses in the hotel and catering sector. If staff are prepared to go the extra mile customer service levels in all frontline staff will increase, and in turn so will your profitability thanks to a boost in very satisfied customers, additional research indicates that by investing 10% in an ongoing employee engagement strategy as part of your organisations DNA, you can gain returns of £2,700 profit per employee. It can also help major chains and independent hotels decrease their levels of staff turnover, which again will cut back on expensive training and recruitment costs.

    We all want staff prepared to go the extra mile so why not undertake a little research for yourself? How do you compare with this story of great customer service and employee engagement?
    Walk into the hotel foyer and ask yourself ­ ‘Do my employees look happy?’, ‘Are they putting in any extra effort?’ And, also ask yourself ­ ‘What can I do to improve employee engagement in my workforce?’

    To find out more, visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk

    • Run regular employee engagement surveys. Act on the responses and show employees that things can change. If you manage multiple outlets see how each hotel compares to one another – and if there are issues address them.
    • Always make the time to thank staff and ensure they feel recognition for their work.
    • Keep everyone well informed about what’s going on in your organisation.
    • Ensure all staff members have adequate training to fulfil their role successfully.
    • Keep an open dialogue with your staff – they know your business very well – so ask them for fresh ideas how tasks could be done differently.

    Daniel Fountain / 11.03.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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