Strategies for engaging with team members

From engaging team members in alternative jobs to remote working strategies, as well as straight and honest communication, hoteliers shared with HOTELS what they are doing to keep team members engaged and informed. 

HOTELS: Can you share one plan implemented or individual decision made to help team members?

Brad Walker, vice president, GM, The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

When the Kentucky Governor issued a declaration to close all bars and restaurants, we looked for ways to keep our staff employed. We offered alternative jobs utilizing other skill sets such as painting, sanitizing and light maintenance work.

We have over 30 hotel staff working in areas outside their regular department, polishing up the hotel to prepare for a full house when things get back to business as usual. The line staff will be painting – all the guest room doors; housekeeping storage areas; guest room closets; service elevator landings; throughout the basement; all the back stairwells and employee cafeteria. They will be changing HVAC filters, waxing marble floors and shampooing all carpets/chairs along with other jobs that we usually contract to outside companies.

For the first time in 94 years, the hotel is offering its famous Hot Brown sandwich for pick up. The dish was created by the hotel chef in 1926.

Cecil Staton, president and CEO, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)

With our entire professional staff working remotely, our senior staff holds a daily call to discuss our ongoing approach to this crisis and how we can best serve our members. Our education team is creating daily webinars and compiling relevant information for our members. At this point, it’s not just about keeping your hotel clean and protecting your guests, it’s about liquidity, making payroll and paying the mortgage. Our education, advocacy, marketing, and communications teams are all working together to help hoteliers navigate the new reality and ever-changing situation.

Michael Hoffmann, managing director, Perry Cabin Resorts & Golf, St. Michaels, Maryland

Be straight, honest and communicate to them regularly. We are covering the benefits for anyone that’s been impacted until they return.

Getty images
Getty images

Ivan Hu, communications, New Century Hotels & Resorts, Hangzhou, China

We decided that we will not deal the crisis with layoffs or salary cuts. We formed a community with employees, and achieved information sharing through online working and training system. We also actively tried ‘flexible employment’ and even cross industry cooperation.

Laurence Geller, chairman, Geller Capital Partners, Chicago

We started to reduce executive committee size and line managers, and make the remainder work smarter and more.

Fernando Rocha, chief development officer, Fibra Inn, Monterrey, Mexico

I am keeping to normal business hours, staying connected and available.