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Blog : Keeping staff motivated through the highs and lows of hospitality


Keeping staff motivated through the highs and lows of hospitality

This article came from Hotel Business December 09 / January 10

Keeping staff motivated through the highs and lows of hospitality can be difficult. Jane Sunley, Managing Director of learnpurple, has some advice.

As 2009 draws to an end, many are sighing with relief. The Christmas period is often quite stressful anyway, and this year we had the added challenges that came with the dreaded 'R'. We have been very impressed with how so many organisations used this period to really up their game and did not cut back on engaging their people. Many realised that it's now more important than ever to really have motivated people to help deliver the best and really go into the New Year on the right footing.

This is our ten point plan to help you engage and motivate your staff:

1. Become a 'best place to work'

If your employees are proud to work for you, they will naturally be more motivated. People want to be associated with success, and will be motivated by it. Constantly promote how great your company is - both internally and externally - and shout about your successes. Make every single person you employ an ambassador for your organisation by giving them the key messages to pass on.

2. Communication

Find a way to make sure real two-way communication happens. It is important to share information about the organisation, as well as to consult and involve your employees in decision-making.

3. Career Path

Research has shown that although there are those who need a clear career path in order to feel inspired, there are many who are not motivated by feeling pressured to keep taking on more responsibility or changing what they do. Either way, job security enhances motivation. Encourage some calculated risk taking with internal promotion - people often grow into a role. If you are developing and coaching people on the way up, then the risk is far less. In any climate, seeing that there is the possibility to grow and develop within the company can be very motivating.

4. Vision and Values

Be clear about what these are, and make sure everyone in the organisation knows. This is not about a plaque on the wall - you have to live them. Take the time to find out what each employees' personal values/aspirations are, as in order to be motivated, these need to match and the employee needs to feel as though they are valued as a person.

5. Flexibility

Discover what your staff members want and do your best to give it to them. People will often trade excitement for flexibility or money for excitement - it's all about what their own motivators and drivers are - so find out what they want as individuals. Review employment practice with a view to work/life balance - you may need to train existing people to understand and support this.

6. Support

You can't have loyalty unless you give it. Take care of people in trouble - it's a strong message. This isn't about 'going soft' - it's a commercial business decision. Give the same level of commitment you expect to receive back.

7. Pay and Benefits

According to our research, this is number nine in the level of importance for engaging employees. So if you are getting it right with communication, leadership, development, career path and managing aspirations, then it becomes less emotive. Pay fairly, and then make your people forget about money. When it comes to benefits, find out what your people would want and what they consider a benefit, rather than what you would - think about how this can be cost effective for you.

8. Development

Make it accessible, make it appropriate, and make it timely. Be flexible and fit the business as well as the individual. Consider the use of personal coaching for executives/top team. Make sure agreed development happens within the agreed time-scales by ensuring there is accountability.

9. Appreciation

Feeling valued is very important for employees to be motivated - especially in situations where we are expecting them to go the extra mile; often by doing more work, with less help and the same money. Praise accomplishments and attempts: both large and small; in different ways - sometimes verbally, sometimes written; as soon as it's deserved; publicly and privately; always sincerely.

10. Leadership

Employees work for people, not companies. And they leave people too. Make sure leaders are skilled at all levels - the middle management layer is key. Engage the superstars through inspirational leadership. Make sure that the top team take time out to regularly think about the people - this is a broad issue, which needs input at board level. Put employee issues at the top of the agenda, and encourage creative thinking - think the unthinkable every day.

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