Training your staff to care, part 2: Instill empowerment

Training your staff to care, part 2: Instill empowerment

Beginning our Impressionist training with messages designed to inspire staff members, we continue our training at Mirbeau Inn & Spa with the goal of uniting employees in a culture that provides a consistent brand of care — rather than mere service — to guests. Emanating from our brand platform, which has a promise of “Life. Classically Balanced,” our training encourages each staff member to take service to the art form of caring. Providing a caring guest hospitality environment is where boutique hotels can truly set themselves apart from the larger competitors in their marketplace.

Our PowerPoint continues with the following thoughts:

  • The truth is that the little moments of stresses we all feel dissolve when the artistry is just right.
  • We don’t paint with brushes, but we do with gestures.
  • Every time you anticipate a guest’s need — even before they do — you leave an impression.
  • Impressions are made in the rooms, the spa and even in the hallways.
  • And it’s no coincidence that the words palette and palate are just a few letters apart.
  • You should enjoy and embrace this likeness, this portrait of yourself.
  • Be proud of each other, and of the vibrant impressions you’ve made over the years.
The messages are clear, uncomplicated and empowering. They are reinforced by business card-sized brand message cards for all associates printed as follows:

Side 1: I am an Impressionist
Side 2: Balancing lives with the delight of being truly cared for.

Managers are provided cards meant to serve as a convenient reference point for guiding all day-to-day decisions in order to ensure all actions remain on strategy with the brand-building initiative within the company. They read:

For those who seek balance in their lives, Mirbeau is a gracious sanctuary, whose restful ambiance and interpretation of classic pleasures engage guests in the delight of being truly cared for.

Finally, throughout the back of the house, we post signs reminding everyone of their Impressionist messages and provide mirrors for them to see themselves as the Impressionists they are. And we encourage associates to provide caring with a twist — their own personal touch that adds a special something that the guest will remember and that will reflect the personality of the employee or the Mirbeau brand. There are even mirrors along the side of every door going from a BOH to FOH area that has one of our Top Ten Hospitality Standards printed on them like, “Always make smiling eye contact with every guest,” providing every staff member a reminder before they go out on “stage.”

I’d be interested to know how you approach staff training in a way that encourages delivery of exceptional caring to your guests.

Next up: the intangible, long-term financial benefits of making the fundamental switch from a service orientation to caring.