The true value of engagement

When the hospitality virus started running through my veins back in the summers during my awkward high school years, I never thought those summers would be used to shape my career 23 years later. I have been grateful to work with the best of the best and lucky to have been exposed to many different management styles — both good and bad. By observing some of those leaders, I realized that many didn’t set clear expectations and many lacked the talent of engaging their teams. It was also surprising to see the lack of proper training and development for line-level team members — a must in our industry.

Once I graduated from Johnson & Wales University, I started my career as a general manager in a Boston-area focused-service hotel and began networking with other leaders in my market. I came to realize some of these GMs “got it,” but to my surprise, many didn’t, and they didn’t understand the true value of engagement. The funny thing was, they always wondered why they struggled with employee turnover and guest loyalty.

To me, it was very clear — a very simple gesture that should be a part of your daily routine is to simply thank a team member. Whether it is celebrating accomplishments as a group or sending a personalized note home to a team member’s child thanking them for allowing their parent to work such long hours and to be away from home on holidays and birthdays, thanking team members is a MUST. Engaging your team member, proper and clear training and setting clear expectations are all essential components to the success of your operation. If practiced religiously they will help eliminate turnover and will increase loyalty with both team members and guests.