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4 Tips to Motivate Hotel Staff
Hcareers / AUGUST 10 2021

As the Covid pandemic has created a job seeker’s market for the hospitality industry, keeping current hotel staff motivated may be more important than ever. If hotel employees aren’t happy at work, they now have a lot of other options available to them. 

However, keeping employees engaged and positive at work isn’t simply a matter of “giving” them more. Managers can be left feeling that their hands are tied as far as providing staff members with more time off or more pay. Sure, benefits and compensation are one part of the equation. But it’s also important to keep in mind that management style is also a major factor in how employees feel about their jobs.

Avoid Micromanagement

No one likes a micromanager. Leaders who hover over employees, monitor their every move, and look for any opportunity to correct staff will sour their team quickly. So ask yourself if you’re giving employees room to do their jobs and even to make mistakes –because we all do. 

Allowing staff to do their jobs with at least some degree of autonomy shows that managers are confident in their team’s abilities. It also demonstrates that managers are confident in their own hiring decisions. 

In the hospitality industry, it’s especially important not to micromanager employees. If a guest feels their discussion with a hotel employee is dominated by a manager, they may conclude that there’s a problem with the employee and, in turn, lose confidence in the hotel.   

Create Open Lines of Communication

Communication can lead to so many issues in the workplace. Realistically, managers have limited control over their company’s communication style, whether that’s a lack of communication, miscommunications, or simply a communication style that comes across as a little too authoritative. But managers do have the power to build and strengthen communication channels within their team. 

  • Start by avoiding speaking to team members with corporate jargon. Remember that like guests, they won’t appreciate being made to feel like they are just cogs in the wheel. Rather than telling maintenance teams not to carry out repairs to public spaces during the day because that could diminish guest satisfaction scores, let them know that guests will want to comfortably enjoy those areas of the hotel without any disruptions to their experience. So work should be done outside of peak hours.
  • Show employees that you value them by asking for their input. Decision-makers at work can frequently overlook the fact that employees on the front lines who do the day-to-day work can often identify how to drive better efficiencies and how to better serve guests. For example, consider asking front desk staff how guests are responding to the property’s check-in process. You could receive anecdotal feedback worth sharing with all hotel staff and maybe even corporate. 
  • Talk to employees about hotel-wide and corporate communications. Staff may not be aware of new corporate policies and procedures or they may interpret the messaging differently from what’s intended. For instance, if changes to the staff uniform are being put into place, make sure team members are aware and that they understand why the changes have been made. That is, if the uniform is intended to showcase new colors in the hotel branding, be sure the team is aware of that. They may be excited to learn about those changes. 

Ensure Staff Have the Tools They Need

Access to resources can make all the difference to how team members feel about their jobs. That often translates to functional technology. 

Front desk staff checking guests in on computer systems will allow for some leeway when the occasional glitch occurs. But when the same issues continuously arise and go unaddressed, they will become frustrated. Likewise, housekeepers using mobile devices to track their daily tasks on an app will quickly lose interest in their work if there are constant problems with the app. 

Along with physical tools, hotel employees should also feel that support is available when they need it. That’s to say, the front desk staff might need additional assistance in getting guests to their rooms efficiently. Pay attention to these requests because, in the hospitality industry, they are likely to impact the guest experience as well. 

Perks Are Always Appreciated

Whether employees are salaried or hourly, they likely receive some benefits like access to a 401K plan as part of their employment. But to keep hotel staff upbeat and motivated, an unexpected show of appreciation can go a long way. 

Team building activities are now a common route for building better relationships among all hotel staff and maintaining a cohesive team. But these typically require hotels to make a financial commitment and perhaps to change staff scheduling in order to accommodate the event. As business is ramping back up from the pandemic, this may not be feasible. 

Instead, consider how some smaller gestures of appreciation can keep hotel employees in good spirits at work: 

  • Create a monthly contest offering team members a gift card to a nearby coffee bar when they achieve certain guest satisfaction scores. 
  • Thank the team after a particularly busy day or a high-occupancy event by catering in a simple lunch spread from one of the hotel’s in-house dining venues or a local spot that they could also recommend to guests. 
  • Celebrate a hotel win with the team. In other words, when the property wins an important piece of group business, invite the team to join in the celebratory feel with something simple like an order of donuts from a local bakery. It’s important to let employees know that they are contributors to the business’ successes. These are moments that will help keep them striving for still greater future success.