Staff Morale

I was interested in a piece from Caryn Eve Murray writing in HotelInteractive about staff morale, I’ve extracted just a small part of what she wrote:

“Inside every luxury property within the vast global luxury brand of Ritz Carlton, workers begin their daily shifts in a kind of competitive huddle, participating in what is known as a line-up. “The goal is for everyone to review everything at the start of their shift. It can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes,” said Rachel Hastert, sales and marketing coordinator for the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey in California. “A story is shared from any property around the world, on any practices that have worked for them. We gather round and review the companywide information and then we review our own information, with our local teams.”

Hastert said the daily gatherings add up to time well spent – and these days, that’s not just true because the tradition keeps everyone in the loop on the day-to-day details of doing business. “It definitely helps morale,” she said. “It keeps everyone informed and creates cohesiveness. We do small things every day, but with this you realize you are part of a large organization and it helps you learn and grow.” At a time when workplace morale can be challenged by a slowdown in business, industry layoffs and individuals’ added responsibilities, particularly in the luxury tier, this longstanding Ritz-Carlton practice is now providing workers with an emotional anchor.

Chanters Lodge is a very small operation in a different part of the world but staff morale is equally vital. What do we do to try and maintain staff morale? Here’s a few ideas:

– We share results. Staff receive 10% Service Charge so they share in good times. We try to cushion them through the bad months. We’re open about the income. We also share food cost results and bar surplus/deficit results as well.

– On our weekly Sunday night radio show we make a point of greeting each worker by name and often use this medium to thank them for their contribution. They love the show and are proud of the lodge for hosting it – never mind rocking to the music back at the lodge when I’m on air – or so I’m told!

– Scratch cards for mobile phones. Give a Chanters Girl a K10,000 note (About US$2) and she’ll say thanks. Give the same girl a scratch card for her phone worth the same K10,000 and her face will light up with a huge smile and you’ll get a big thanks too!

– We try to let the staff feel they’re learning and developing. As far we can, we give every worker experience in both the kitchen and restaurant before moving them forward, as and when there’s space, to reception, stores etc.

– Tips from Guests on top of the service charge are shared out equally at the month end and a breakdown of amounts given and by whom is attached. Guest reviews on TripAdvisor are shared with the staff – good and not so good.

– Nice uniforms, a good lunch and transport when needed are other things that help motivate the staff. We try to make sure they never miss their day off and that they have one month’s annual leave. We also help them through family illness and if necessary family bereavements.

– We try to teach staff the basic rules of hotel keeping and public relations and tell them when Guests have said ‘they’re great!’ We have our own way of telling them when things are not how we want them!

– Spring surprise rewards. An unexpected reward for something good has a magic effect on morale!

– Make sure the rules, such as they are, are understood and discipline, where necessary, fairly implemented with consideration.

– Last but not least, pay salaries and service charge on time, on the day – this doesn’t always happen in this part of the world! There’s nothing more down in the mouth and moody than a Chanters Girl feeling broke!

The picture – Chanters staff some time back