As I recently conducted my annual year-end reflect and refocus exercise, I realized that 2018 was my 40th year in the hospitality industry – from a waitress in a small Australian restaurant to owner of that restaurant, through to the various hospitality positions to where I am now as a consultant and partner, it comes to mind that as much as we talk about how things have changed, there is still so much that remains the same:
- The guest still wants to feel that he or she is special
- The guest is still looking for value for money spent
- The internal customer is still looking to feel that they belong and matter to the organization
- The owners are still pushing to achieve the best possible return from their investment
I attended a tourism conference in Malta recently, and each speaker talked about the importance of improving consistency and quality for the customer whether it be focused on the company, the brand or the destination. I reflected on how many events, conferences and meetings I have sat in over my 40-year career, and while terminology may change, the basics remain and we are still looking for that “magical formula.”
Three words specifically resonated with me from one of the speakers. We are in an industry where “humans serve humans.” And whether it may be further removed in some cases there is still the “human factor” involved at some level of the customer journey.
How do the “humans” in your organization feel about serving the “humans” who are your clients and guests?
I would urge you to reflect on this question as you plan for this year. How can you inspire and motivate your people so that they in turn will inspire and engage their clients and customers who in turn become your loyal fans and clients? Every person, from the housekeeper to the CEO, matters. Your front office staff need to know what their role is in achieving success.
I am surprised how often senior managers aren’t spending more time implementing initiatives to ensure that every single person has the necessary information to not only carry out the tangible aspect of their role but know what is expected of them – so that they, in turn, can ensure everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction. Don’t expect your people to be able to read your mind and second-guess the conversation in the boardroom. Be as transparent as possible as to what is expected to meet EVERY stakeholders’ expectation.
When planning for your upcoming year, how much do you plan for “the human element”? We discuss financial KPIs, goals and actions. However, how much time is spent developing a plan to inform and engage your team from Day One?
In a recent meeting, we spent over two hours discussing numbers and targets. After the discussion, I asked, “OK, when are we having a kick-off for the team?” The response: “Well, we are very busy but know we have to do it – we will work on it.” This says to me that it the manager knows he needs to do it but that it is not his top priority. Is he really engaged in making it happen and considering how he makes it happen so that his team achieves its goals for the coming year? In turn, are his team going to be “really” engaged and understand their role in achieving success?
When considering the internal foundation in delivering your company goals – it is very much humans serving humans! Don’t wait until the end of 2019 when goals have not been achieved and think, “Ah, I should have gotten the team more focussed on X,” or “I should have engaged this person more in Y,” or “I should have involved them more in Z.”
It should never change: Always consider the importance of your human assets when planning for the coming year and maximize all opportunities to create greater potential for your business.
Until next time – wishing you health, success and happiness for 2019.