There is something very unique about the overall culture of the hospitality industry in terms of employee culture: When a new manager enters the industry, one of the first things they are told is that there are two different types of guests in this industry: the external guest and the internal guest.
And, in order to be successful, both guest types need to be satisfied.
External Guest Vs. the Internal Guest
The external guest is exactly as it sounds. It is someone from the outside staying at the hotel. The internal guest, however, is someone completely different but just as important to the overall success of the operation. Internal guests are employees. I can say without hesitation if the internal guest is unhappy, the property has no chance whatsoever of satisfying the external guest.
Improving ‘Internal Guest’ Relations
Keep Work Fun – now, there are obviously times when everyone needs to bear down to get the job done, but overall, working in the hospitality business should be fun for our line employees and yes, even managers. Look at some of the most successful bars in the country and their bartenders and wait staff are truly enjoying what they do. The same attitude should be in place in a hotel.
Unmotivated and unhappy employees underperform, and that is a documented fact. When they are sad and unhappy, they tend to close up, which mean there is no communication regarding what is going wrong or where help is needed. Furthermore, they are less likely to positively engage with a guest.
Recognize Your Employees Efforts – when someone puts out what we used to refer to as an “above and beyond” effort, it should be recognized. This can be done with awards and bonuses, but it does not have to that complicated. Sometimes, recognition at a staff meeting or a post on the official social media pages of the property will do the trick. The important thing here is to ensure the staff knows you know of and are appreciative of their efforts.
Support Your Team – there are two ways this can be done. First, get in there with your team and have some conversations. Sometimes, the things that are bothering them have nothing at all to do with work. If you can get them pointed in the right direction, believe me, it will be appreciated.
Support also needs to be provided in terms of training and work-related advice. If a staff member has an issue, he or she should be able to come to you to discuss it without worrying about your reaction. If you want that open-door policy to be effective, there are going to be times when you need to stay calm, hear them out, and work to fix these problems rather than making an emotional snap judgment.
Employees should also feel there is an opportunity for growth. While some employees are happy with the status quo, your overachievers will not stay there very long if there is no room for promotion. If there is no path for career advancement, you will lose your all-stars.
Employee Wellness Matters – have you ever worked for a boss that demanded you come to work after you tried to call out? Have you ever been at work when you suddenly came down with something and your boss insisted you tough it out? Have you ever gone through a personal tragedy during a shift, such as a family death or some other type of emergency, but were not allowed to leave?
These are all integral parts of physical, mental, and emotional health that play a role in how motivated and effective staff members are when they are on the clock. Nobody is expecting you to play nursemaid to the staff, but you have to take their personal wellness into account if you want a happy and productive department.
Quality of Life is Important – one of the major reasons so many people leave this industry is because they have no quality of life. Some people don’t mind working 100-hour work weeks, but others insist on having a life outside of the hotel (how dare they!). This does not make them any less important of an employee. In fact, they will be the more valuable and productive employees over time because if you provide them with a schedule that offers them quality of life, they will be far more productive than the clock eater over a long period of time. Eventually, the person that lives in that hotel will burn out, which you want to avoid at all costs.
These are just a few ways your managers can improve your internal guest relations. If your current management staff is treating employees as nothing more than a cog in the machine, it is time to find better managers that can take your operation to the next level. If you are not able to find the top talent in the industry on your own, it is time for you to call JDI. Joseph David International is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitality recruiting firms in the country because we work hard to find the ideal fit for your specific needs.
For more information about our hotel recruiter services, please click here.