Industry: Putting Values Into Practice
|By David Wheelhouse, CHRE, Anchor Consulting,
Chris Longstreet, CHA, Society for Hospitality Management
Our job as managers in the hospitality industry requires us to match our policies, procedures, and practices with the values by which our company operates. A company’s values are put into practice in several ways: the choice of measurements that will be used to gauge performance and success, the treatment of employees, the allocation of wages and benefits, and the kinds of performance that will be recognized, rewarded, and talked about.
What You Measure Counts
Regardless of what a company says its philosophy
is, what it measures is one of the biggest determinants of what its values
really are. If food costs, labor costs, and inventory turnover are
all it measures, talks about, and uses to evaluate performance, people
will adapt to that and the company culture will be control-oriented.
The frequency of measurement also has a profound impact on the organizational
culture in communicating the true values of the company.
How you treat your employees will also communicate
how you think guests should be treated. If you want guest satisfaction,
you also have to measure employee satisfaction, since their behavior is
part of the product. Employees must be happy and content themselves
before they can make guests happy. When people feel good about themselves
and are comfortable with their skills, they’re more willing and able to
perform in public. The happier they are, the likelier they are to
go out of their way to help a guest or co-worker. If your human resources
strategy is working, you won’t need a customer service training program
to teach workers to smile. You won’t need a customer service training
program to teach workers to smile. On the other hand, employees in
uncomfortable situations will generally tend to be ruder to guests and
one another. Employee turnover, absenteeism, attitude surveys, and
accident rates are all indicators for measuring employee satisfaction.
What You Pay Your People Counts
Compensation policies will also communicate the values of a company. If a company wants to emphasis service, employees who are on the service line should be adequately compensated. If front desk agents, cashiers, and telephone operators earn minimum wage, while clerks in accounting, the storeroom, or the mail room are paid substantially more, this communicates that service isn’t the company’s top priority.
How Your Recognize and Reward Your Employees Counts
Values can be reinforced through recognition programs and the rewards provided to employees. When employees perform consistently according to your values, they should be recognized and rewarded. These employees should be turned into heroes who become role models and examples for others to follow. Others who see them being rewarded will know what’s important to the company and what it takes to get ahead, and they’ll want to follow suit. It’s only when everyone understands what the goals and values are and can see that the company really does operate by them that they can begin to identify with and commit to them.
Your Rules and Regulations Count
Your human resources policies and procedures are a practical application of your mission and values. In essence they are the translation of a philosophy statement into a working operation. No area of management communicates and controls your values more forcefully than the development and day-to-day administration of your personnel policies and procedures. These are the rules and how-tos that determine what you require and permit, who you hire, how you train, what you praise and pay for, and why you discipline or terminate someone.
The Art of Storytelling
One of the most effective ways of reinforcing
values is to talk about the people who best represent them. Every
organizational culture is characterized by traditions and legends of which
all employees quickly become aware. The process, sometimes known
as storytelling, has a powerful influence on the behavior and attitudes
of workers, because it summarizes the beliefs and values of the company.
Jay Levenson, in his now famous speech and training
program called Think Strawberries outlines one of The Plaza’s stories:
It is to this end that your human resources strategy
should direct and dictate all of your personnel programs. You can’t buy
a set of ready-made programs or borrow them from another employer and expect
them all to support your culture. Your own human resources strategy
should control every program and event you implement. How you use
this strategy to manage - in recruiting, interviewing, evaluating, hiring,
training, rewarding, promoting, firing - will communicate and reinforce
your organizational culture.
Adapted from Managing Human Resources in the Hospitality Industry by David Wheelhouse, CHRE (Educational Institute of the AH&LA, Lansing, MI, 1989). For more information on the SOCIETY FOR HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT, visit our website at www.hospitalitysociety.org or call us at 616 457-3646.
David Wheelhouse, CHRE, is an industry veteran who has spent over 25 years in hospitality human resources, most recently as the Vice President of Administration for the Woodlands Operating Company in The Woodlands, Texas. For information on having David speak or work with your organization, contact the Society for Hospitality Management.
Chris Longstreet, CHA, is President & CEO of the Society for Hospitality Management. Chris is also a visiting instructor for the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
|Also See:||What It Takes to be a Hotel Professional: The Things You Can Control / Chris Longstreet / May 2004|
|Quality and Value – The Trademark of the Society for Hospitality Management / February 2004|