Bunnies Or Eggs - Which Came First?
By Gene Ference
Monday, 17th April 2006
Bunnies don't lay eggs - chickens do! Does the commercial side of Easter have bad information? It's all about information - the right information and how you can best obtain the correct information to make your company run smoothly and efficiently.

With Easter just "around the corner," have you ever wondered how we ever came to "mix up" this religious holiday? But I'm not talking religion here. No, I'm talking about the commercial end of the holiday. How did we ever mix up a bunny that delivers colorful eggs in a basket with this holiday? First of all, bunnies don't lay eggs! So just how does the Easter Bunny come by all these eggs? It would make more sense if the Easter Chicken delivered the eggs! I guess it's really all about getting the right information and using it properly—and not putting all of your eggs in one basket, so-to-speak!

So what has all of this got to do with your hotel, casino, resort, restaurant, club or spa? Well...it's about information! Not just any information, but the right information. It's about having and using the right information to make your business run smoothly and efficiently—so everyone from your guests to your staff are happy and even thrilled to be there.

Whether you are the CEO, president, vice president, manager or have some type of supervisory capacity, information starts with you! What are the best ways in which to gain information that you can use to improve service to your guests, to improve employee morale and motivation and to have your facility running at "top notch speed?"

One way is to actually walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk! That means that nothing beats first-hand knowledge. It means walking the floor, talking to your staff and sitting back and watching just how things are running—or not. It also means speaking with guests and patrons. Just being visible to the guests and staff will help in many ways. After all, hardly anyone has seen the Easter Bunny—yet almost everyone believes in him—or her. When patrons and staff see you and realize how interested you are in their well being, they will believe in you too!

There's only one problem with being out on the floor. If you are there all of the time, none of your other work will get done, and you can't be everywhere at once! Still, setting aside some time each day or each week to gain some first-hand information should be invaluable to you and the overall running of the facility.

So what else can you do to not have "all of your eggs in one basket?" Do what has worked for companies that have been awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Employer of Choice, Employer of the Year and Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For—use the power of the survey! Surveys will allow you to be in all departments at the same time. They will allow you to be in every guest room, each restaurant and casino game room and gain invaluable information about every department a patron has experienced.

By utilizing an Employee Satisfaction Survey at least once if not twice a year, you will be able to track and analyze progress being made with both problems that face your facility as well as areas of pride and efficiency. HVS/The Ference Group can provide you with a quality survey that will delve into the efficiencies and non-efficiencies that face your staff and your facility. From statistical analysis about every question asked, to transcribed narratives, you can have present-time answers to your questions.

You will learn, from the inside out, what problems and opportunities are real and viable in your place of business, from staff that are integral with everyday experience. How great to know that green eggs don't work in the bell station, but they do work in housekeeping—and that red eggs are the hot item at the front desk! Changes can be instituted, explanations can be made to lift morale and motivate staff as a result. Over a period of time, trends can be seen that can be used to take your facility to new peak levels of service excellence.

And there is yet more to do to diversify your basket of eggs. Guest surveys will give you snapshots in time from "the other side of the desk." HVS/The Ference Group develops guest surveys that touch on any and all major aspects of facilities and services and how they are perceived by guests. Much of this information is such that some issues never would have come out by only the use of an employee survey. Guests see things from a different perspective, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain—the truth comes out.

Being able to compare employee's perceptions of thequality of product and service they believe they areoffering with the guest's feedback of their experience iswhere the rubber meets the road—eggs or no eggs.

When you find out in a timely fashion that the hostess in your lounge on the weekends is rude to a number of guests, that's valuable information! It doesn't matter if staff members happen to like her, if she is irritating to customers, you need to know about it. Nobody needs a rotten egg where bright, beautiful pastel eggs belong! At the same time, if patrons identify a "star" at your front desk, you ought to know about that too—raise them up for all to see and show everyone that good things happen to those who go "above and beyond," and are recognized for it. Morale will soar.

Guest surveys can and should be ongoing. That is, they don't just need to be done once or twice a year. They can be administered throughout the year, each month in a never-ending flow of information that reveals progress being made as well as problems—current problems that can be addressed in a timely manner. Otherwise, what good is it to learn weeks later that your front line cooks have not been putting out their best food, when you can have returned guest surveys indicate this lack of quality within present time. A great deal less damage can be done when you nip the problem in the bud than when you allow your eggs to spoil over time.

It's all about timely acquisition of information that can be used to everyone's advantage. Whether you agree that the Easter Bunny should be delivering the eggs as is tradition, or that the chicken should really be the one to distribute them, as long as those beautifully colored eggs are delivered each Easter, everyone will be happy to see them hidden in the most secretive of places for people to find. But, we must remember that not everyone likes eggs—especially if there is a rotten one in the basket. But now chocolate... everybody loves chocolate!

For more information regarding development programs, contact, Gene Ference, President, HVS/The Ference Group. [gference@hvsinternational.com]

HVS/The Ference Group provides programs in TeamStrategics: organizational development, business health assessments, and strategic planning. Our clients include successful applicants for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Employer of Choice, Best Human Resources, Employer of the Year, Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For as well as quality of work life and service culture awards of Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, The Netherlands and Singapore.

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