As we all know, the service industry is typically an industry with high turnover. Previously I have mentioned the success I have had with the simple understanding that empowering a team is very effective both in retaining team members and giving guests superior service. At my property, it is made very clear on each team member’s first day that we have to follow our empowerment policy — “The 3Ps of Empowerment.”
Power to take care of a guest
Permission to take care of a guest
Protection for the employee on whatever decision was made to take care of a guest. They will be protected as long as it was legal and ethical.
By empowering your team to go above and beyond for your guests, it will eventually become a contagious part of the culture of your team and property.
Although the 3 Ps are a big part of the training of team members, the following are some additional simple suggestions:
Get to know your employees.
It is imperative that managers open their eyes and get to know their team on a personal level. For example, ask questions about their family or pets. One of my best mentors always made it a point to ask me how my family was doing. The president of my management company sent me a handwritten letter 12 years ago thanking me for feedback at a conference. Not only do I still have that letter, but I can remember sharing that letter with my family 12 years ago.
Make it a point to ask for feedback on policies, procedures and guest “wow” factors, as line-level team members often have the best ideas. Also, make it a point to show respect by thanking the team member even if their idea or suggestion is not going to be considered. Let them know the reasons why their suggestion or idea was not considered. By following up with the team member, you will not discourage valuable suggestions for the future. A lot of successes with our guest-recognition programs at my property came from ideas from our team.
Reward and recognize.
Come up with regular and innovative ways to recognize and reward your team. Some managers use online surveys as a way to recognize those team members that stand out to our guests. I have recently started a program at my property that rewards a staff member when they are mentioned in a complimentary guest comment. We take a picture of the staff member being rewarded for the comment, and then we actually send it to the guest. This has been a hit with both our guests and our team! It is also a good practice to send handwritten thank you notes to the team member’s house or even the team member’s kids.
Lastly, it is important to reinvest in our teams and offer them some sort of growth. “Continuous improvement” is a term my team consistently hears from me. It is important that we managers take the time to reinvest in and continuously train our team members.