As we head toward the end of another year and look forward
to a fresh start in 2009, many of us are taking stock of our personal and
professional lives, checking progress toward goals, and dreaming up new plans
for the future. The transition to a new calendar year has long been a time for
evaluations, resolutions, and self-improvement campaigns. But why stop with
just personal plans and goals? The New Year is also the perfect time to plan
and map out organizational changes, as well.
These days, many hospitality industry firms are getting back
to basics and playing up their key strengths as a means of beating back
economic woes and boosting their bottom lines. Even in the worst of times, your
organization can carve out a niche for itself by knowing what you do best – and
doing it better than anyone else can. The impending New Year is the ideal time
to remind your team exactly where they excel and help them sharpen up their
Whether you’re an HR staff member, a front-of-the-house
employee, or an operations manager, there are a set of universal core
competencies that help define your ability to excel in your particular role.
Although the details of your day-to-day responsibilities are unique, there are
a few basic skills that transcend your job title and apply to every member of
your organization, whether they’re stationed in the storeroom or the boardroom.
According to management consultant Florence M. Stone, author
of The High-Value Manager: Developing the
Core Competencies Your Organization Demands, you can significantly improve
your performance by reviewing your core competencies periodically and adapting
your workflow and daily routine to better align with and reflect your key
So, what are the core competencies that point the way to
success for workers in the hospitality industry? Use this checklist to conduct
your own New Year’s audit and refresh your basic skill set.
Top-quality customer care is a must in every service
sector, but it’s particularly important in the hospitality industry. Experts
say it is crucial to help your staff develop a customer-oriented outlook that
pervades everything they do. Even if you don’t deal directly with guests,
excellent customer service is crucial – whether your “customers” are fellow
employees or the patrons that you rarely encounter face-to-face.
No matter which area of the hospitality
industry you work in, it’s vital that you’re able to set aside your emotional
responses to problems and put on your analytical thinking cap. Effective
customer service hinges on your ability to get “over and above” the situation
at hand, devise multiple solutions, and choose the best one – all in a matter
These valuable assets are much more than mere
résumé clichés. In a service-centric field like the hospitality industry,
skating by with a minimum level of effort just isn’t enough. Encourage your
team members to start each shift with an attitude audit and a conscious
decision to dedicate 110% of their focus and effort.
Experts say that effective communication
skills are a must for excellence in the workplace. This year, try to move
beyond the basics with techniques like active listening, “I”-based statements,
and clear and specific language. If poor communication skills are an ongoing
challenge for your team, consider scheduling a few refresher workshops or
training sessions in 2009.
Many dysfunctional teams get mired down
in pointless habits like passing blame and shirking responsibility. Create a
culture in which each employee feels empowered to make decisions. Encourage
team members to take responsibility for their actions and choices, and
implement a system of compassionate but rigorous accountability.
No matter who you are or how much you’ve achieved, there’s
always room for improvement! Here’s to on-the-job excellence in 2009.