Employee Recognition And Motivation



By Kirby D. Payne, CHA

Kirby  D.  Payne,  CHA  is  President of Minneapolis based  American  Hospitality  Management Company,  a growing hotel investment, management and consulting firm.   Payne is also Chair of the  AH&MA's  International Council of Hotel-Hotel Management Companies.   Additional  articles can be found on the internet at www.American-Hospitality.com.

At  a recent company meeting for General Managers,  Assistant Managers and Sales  staff our  CFO,  Vicki Richman,  led a discussion on Employee Recognition and Motivation.   The following comments and list are from notes she developed from several sources. 

The  foundation  of recognition and motivation is that people need and want  Acceptance, Approval and Appreciation.  Almost all positive motivation is based on these needs. People want to  know  that what they do makes a difference.   Just recognizing the staff is the  most  important step  one  can  take.   You may want to count the number of "we's that are said instead of  "I's  in order  to  assess  the  extent  to which your staff feels part of the team  and  part  of  the  business' future.   One saying is, "Powerlessness corrupts, absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely." 

These nine actions will help immensely to give your staff what they need:  Communicate, Communicate,  Communicate,  Recognize,  Recognize,  Recognize,  Thank,  Thank,  and  Thank! From various sources, Vicki developed a list of ideas for ongoing weekly or monthly programs to keep  employees  connected  to  the hotel or restaurant emotionally,  to create  excitement  and  to make  your business unique relative to your nearby competitors for  employees.   Remember,  the competition for staff may be from other industries such as retail,  manufacturing, etc.   Pick a few and try them for a while; but, you must give them a chance, one time will not do it. The staff will see right through you.


 
  • Gift certificate for the most challenging question posed to the President
  • Money  or chocolates or lottery ticket to a spouse with a note thanking for his/her support during overtime
  • Thumbs-up certificates redeemable for merchandise
  • Soda, fruit, snacks to housekeeping staff all the time
  • When  anyone  makes  a  negative  comment,  put $0.25 or $0.50 into  a  pot  and  use  the money for a Fun Committee
  • Bring Polaroid camera to work occasionally and take candids of staff and post pictures on a bulletin board for all to enjoy
  • Selection of employee of the month/quarter/year by peers not just management
  • When he/she is employee of the month,  give him/her a special name tag highlighting that status
  • Points given out at any time for anything,  good attendance, helping out a guest, etc.,  and are redeemable for prizes
  • When  you  reach  a certain level in revenues,  give all staff a reward,  being sure  to  give them the goal in advance
  • Spontaneous calls from corporate to line staff saying how they are appreciated
  • Allow  line  workers  to participate in all  personnel  function  decisions,  hiring,  training, evaluating, firing, schedules
  • Fine  those who arrive late to a meeting and distribute the money to those who were  there on time
  • Create a symbol of the team, maybe just property logo but put it on T-shirts, mugs, caps
  • Certificate  of achievement,  lunch,  and mug for perfect attendance,  gift certificate to the one with longest perfect attendance
  • Allow  those  with  perfect attendance record to enter a lottery to get a $100  or  $200  gift certificate
  • Quarterly teleconference with all employees and support staff, especially CEO
  • Family   orientation   for   new   employees   with  slide  show   or   video   program   with refreshments
  • Several  line  staff  call  new hire to welcome him/her to the team  the  day  before  he/she starts
  • Toll-free hot line to President where they can leave any question, suggestion, etc. and will get a response
  • Hold a regular meeting to tell staff what is going on and how they are doing
  • Always hang charts, graphs, etc. to depict regularly how the property is doing
  • Full page ad in newspaper once a year thanking employees and name all individually
  • Public praising of an individual at a department or hotel meeting
  • Make sure all rewards, praise, bonuses, etc. are in public
  • Have the General Manager spend at least an hour with every new employee
  • Golden Broom Award to all (excluding housekeeping staff) who are seen picking up trash  - after two, they can redeem them for a gift
  • Pick  a trophy that is passed from rewardee to rewardee so it is much desired,  it does  not matter what it is and actually the odder the better so it is fun
  • Pre-printed "you done good" or "a pat on the back" or "bravo" note cards to have management inscribe whenever appropriate spontaneously
  • Praise  immediately  and  tell  them specifically what they did right and how  it  helps  the company
  • Always  find  ways  to  get  staff's input into the operation  -  just  simple  suggestion  box works great
  • Work  hard  at  finding a way to implement each suggestion and give a  clear  explanation why it cannot be used if that is the case
  • Acknowledge all suggestions, even if not implemented, express appreciation perhaps also a small reward If you implement an idea, give a reward, and widely publicize it
  • Pins  for uniforms that say "The guest comes first"  or "I will do my best"  or "We're  glad you're here" or something similar
  • Periodically hold contests like a TV game show where employees answer questions about the property hotel, perhaps in teams
  • Use an 800# service which employees call periodically to be given randomly selected test questions and win a prize if they get them all correct
  • Give a small gift on the date of their anniversary
  • Hold an annual banquet for those with more than a certain number of years of service
  • Give every employee printed business cards
  • At  Ritz Carlton,  all employees throughout the hotel are authorized to spend up to $2,000 each incident to resolve a guest's complaint, but few spend anywhere near that amount
  • Ask employees regularly what else we can do for them to enable them to do a good job
  • Tell  employees  regularly  what  else they can do for management to enable you  to  do  a good job
  • Hold weekly meetings with small groups of employees to discuss anything, serve food
  • Hold a weekly 20 minute meeting with one employee to discuss anything
  • Make  it  personal,  people naturally commit themselves to other people,  not to  organizations
  • Hold  monthly  employee  meetings  at which the financial  performance  of  the  previous month and other goals are discussed in specific
  • Distribute daily reports of revenue performance last night and month-to-date
  • Send employees and family to a competitive property and have them write a report
  • Send employees and family to your property and have them write a report
  • Imprint the hotel's four key business goals on T-shirts
  • Include career development discussion in all performance reviews
  • Send line staff to schools to do recruiting and interviewing
  • Tell  staff  that  if they achieve x,y,z,  etc.,  you will call their mothers and tell  them  how great their child is and actually do it
  • Always  make  sure their work environment is positive,  attractive,  and reflective of  your goals and values
  • Ideas  for  back-of-the-house  areas:  plants,  framed art (let them  choose),  clean  unworn carpets,   adequate   ventilation,   natural   light,   meeting  space,   adequate   work-space, well-functioning equipment, attractive break facilities
  • Form a recreation committee to plan monthly activities
  • Regular employee newsletter
  • Ask for input on cost-cutting programs during times of low demand
  • Implement management reviews where line staff assess management's performance

These  are  only  a few of the infinite number of ideas to keep good staff  members  and  motivate them to work hard toward common goals.  Whatever you choose to do, keep doing it consistently and  make  sure that you are sincere.  Good luck on making your hotel or restaurant a unique  and rewarding place to work.

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For additional information, contact:
Kirby D. Payne at the firm
American Hospitality Management Company
1500 South Highway 100, #375, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Phone: 763-591-7640 Fax: 763-591-1593
email: kpayne@american-hospitality.com


Other Human Resource Management Articles By Kirby D. Payne:
 
 


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