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Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, September 2, 2009

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Hotel Common Sense –

"A Baker’s Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel
Human Resource Managers & Directors

By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, September 2, 2009
 

With the ongoing turbulence facing our industry and global economies, the responsibility to find the time to “think” has become even more critical.   The regrettable propensity for knee jerk responses is evident if one watches the daily rise and fall of global stock market prices, as companies and industries are substantially devalued for reasons that have little to do with the actual company’s quality or performance.

On a localized basis, as much as we want improved processes and product, we need to remember to maintain the foundations of our successes and not accept the negativity of the naysayers. 

Quality begins on the inside... and then works its way out.”
Bob Moawad (1941-2007) Founder and Former Chairman of Edge Learning Institute

This column addresses the very core of all hotels.  Without the proper planning and implementation of staffing and service, a hospitality business that interacts with guests 24 hours a day for 365 days a year has little chance for ongoing success.

Over the years, this responsibility has had a number of names: personnel, people, staffing, workforce development and human resources.  Smaller hotels may not always have staff dedicated only to this activity, but this responsibility remains the same regardless of hotel or staff size. 

Today’s hospitality HR Management team must be straightforward communicators and able to work under pressure because there always seem to be crises.  Those crises might be anything from technology breaches to staffing shortages to accusations that need research, but thriving in a multiple priority environment is often a requirement 

The primary role of the HR Management team is to lead and support senior management and department heads in all aspects of recruitment, orientation, training and development, employment issues, staff relations, and organizational development.   The HR Management team must constantly communicate with all levels of staff to guide the hotel’s commitment to service.  At times, this means making the most of staff strengths and developing staff and at other times researching and examining issues or situations carefully.

"A Baker’s Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel Human Resource Managers & Directors
Administration, Planning, Training and Development

  1. Sets all recruiting and employment activities for both management and hourly positions on a timely basis.  This includes organized and structured processes for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and the retention of qualified associates.  There should be current and detailed Job Descriptions and specifications for all positions to make certain that everyone’s expectations are understood.
  2. Coordinates or provides organized orientation or on-boarding for ALL new staff at the earliest opportunity and preferably before any guest contact.  This support of the investment in “human capital” of the hospitality business is essential, as the cost of turnover has been a historical nightmare to many hotels.   This initial contact allows the HR Management team to function as a strategic partner to the General Manager and/or owner, and establishes the value of day-to-day HR management oversight throughout the hotel.
  3. Administers the salary policies and programs. This includes preparing or overseeing payroll, benefits enrollment and billing.  HR leadership should also review and recommend to ownership or management potential new programs based on evolving needs in the workforce or the market. 
  4. Oversees all associate insurance programs and annually recommends new programs and related costs.  Unfortunately, not all hospitality businesses offer health or other insurance to their staff but there are potential options.   National, state/provincial or other hospitality associations and some major brands do offer some types of insurance options and these should be evaluated semi-annually.
  5. Directs and coordinates performance evaluations for hourly and non-exempt associates. This is an incredibly sensitive topic at every hospitality business and HR must have a well-organized system to keep this communication process effective and equitable.  HR should also review and recommend salary ranges adjustments to ownership or management as needed every 12 to 18 months, via local wage surveys. 
  6. Stays abreast of all national and state/provincial laws and keeps management advised of changes affecting associates and operations.  The responsibility to ensure compliance with all national and state/provincial laws as well as local regulations and court rulings that may pertain to HR also rests with this function. 
  7. Provides counsel and assistance to all management personnel in regards to associate problems dealing with supervision and administration.  Specific training for this should be maintained regularly, as there may be liability issues involved.  Counsel is a very sensitive topic and must include following hotel and/or company termination procedures
  8. Acts as the primary communication center of any changes or new requirements in hotel or company policy and procedures as appropriate.
  9. Directs and administers associates’ reward and recognition program.   This might include an annual associate attitude survey, which should be reviewed by ownership and corporate management. 
  10. Prepares annual budget forecasts for the Human Resource department.  This is especially important relating to benefits and training expenses.
  11. Oversees the safety program and Workers' Compensation Benefits. 
  12. Maintains all hotel personnel records and HR files ensure confidentiality
  13. Coordinates management development and associate training.   This might include preparing with department heads a list of top talent within the hotel and introducing talent development plans.  Specific training on systems and area-specific protocols, however, should remain the responsibility of the department head, and training programs may include brand-specific and/or local focused training.
The effectiveness of today’s hospitality HR Management team is substantially dependent on a good relationship with all department heads.  They must be self-motivated, with an intrinsic desire to see others succeed. They must be able to recognize potential in others and assist in their development. Finally, they must be able to either do it themselves or lead a small team to focus on the desired results and changes needed for continuous improvement. 

How well do you do compare at your hotel?


Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
 

I was invited by Lorman Education Services to offer a teleconference on this topic and they have agreed to offer a $50 discount for any of my readers that mention discount code Z7745121 when they register online.

Effective Sales Management: 
Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and Expense Budgeting

September 14, 2009 
1:00 PM ET 
Program # 382449
Both parts of this series on Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and Expense Budgeting  are in the teleconference.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

He writes weekly columns for a number of global online services and has published more than 400 articles & columns on the hotel industry.  He co-authored (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from info@smartbizzonline.com, ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com  and other industry sources.  He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and expects to publish in 2009 his 2nd book based on his dissertation – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.

Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations in a specialty hotel brand for six years.

He holds a number of industry certifications (CHA, CHE, MHS, ACI) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands.  He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20-year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels.  He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness.  He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain. 

He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his long-term involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career. 

Service to the Industry and Hospitality Education includes working with the Educational Institute Certification Commission of the AH&LA, the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, the Commission for Accreditation on Hospitality Management Programs, the AH&LA and AAHOA Education and Training Committees, the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (CHRIE), the International Hotel Show and the Certified Hotel Owner program for the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association.
 

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Contact:

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
johnjhogan@yahoo.com

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Also See: A Baker's Dozen of Strategies in Maximizing Leads and Attendee Sales Potential at your Hospitality Trade Show Booth - part 2 of 2 / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
Increasing Traffic at your Hospitality Trade Show Booth / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
A Sales Self-evaluation test for General Managers / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 2 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 1 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense -Recognizing There is More than One Approach to Ongoing Success in Building Revenues / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense – A New Look at Awards and Recognition / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Lessons on Brands and Discounting / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense Using Business Social Networks Productively / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
A Common Sense Review Process for Capital Investments / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Understanding Values: The Challenge to Identify and Keep Them During Tough Economic Times / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Personal Stories of Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
What is Your Definition of Leadership? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Examining Why Do We Really Do What We Do? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Act As if You Are Number Two / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Fundamentals for Retaining Quality Staff / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Customer Relationship Management Requires a Blending of High Tech and High Touch for Optimal Results / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Do You Know Where Your Customer Is? Or Knowing Where Your Business Originates / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Understanding what we measure and making it count! Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
A Different Appraisal of Our Biggest Challenges in 2009 / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Reflections: Mentors and Friends - Vermont Hoteliers Borden and Louise Avery and their Son Allen / Dr John Hogan / March 2009
Remember to Embrace the Essentials in Sales; Revenue and net profits can often depend on how one of the most fundamental practices in sales- how incoming phone calls are handled / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Working With Your Hotel Franchisor for Everyone’s Success / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Evaluating the franchise business model as a potential franchisee / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment / Dr. John Hogan / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Four Steps: How to Make More Sales Calls than Any Other Way Or Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If. . . / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Chief Engineers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
"A Baker's Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel  Banquet Managers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
Making New Year's Sales and Marketing Resolutions Real and Practical / Dr. John Hogan / January 2009
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Probing Hotel Expenses / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Fundamentals of Hotel Sales Planning / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
A Message for Hoteliers: Giving Thanks - and Not Just One Day Each Year! / Dr John Hogan / November 2008
Hoteliers Must Remember the Lessons of Reasonable Care! / John Hogan / November 2008
Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
...

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