April 2014

Ralph Salisbury

In my December 17, 2013 Newsletter, I made reference to an article published by Steve DiGioia; essentially supporting Mr. DiGioia’s position, but with a caveat. I now believe Mr. DiGioia pointed out an important, yet too frequently overlooked element required for creating a great hospitality company; staff’s involvement. Staff is a big part of the total customer experience. Contrary to what many owners and managers believe, staff cannot be programmed, at least not for the long-term. Staff has needs and desires just like you and your customers; needs and desires that if ‘properly acknowledged’ will establish long-term behaviors required for that “truly great company”. ‘Proper acknowledgement’ comes from knowing and understanding your staff. You hired these people, and as a responsible owner or manager you should get to know them. Work to make certain their desire to perform according to your standards is genuine. This results in long-term employment which in-turn generates an intimacy for your customers, a valuable asset particularly in hospitality; one that can keep growing, hence contributing to the building of that “truly great company”.

Competition is intense ‘out there’ and the programs to confront it focus on customer behavior, buying patterns, and needs, together with your need to understand all of this. The preponderance of articles addressing the importance of knowing your customers overshadows the importance of knowing your staff. Knowing your customers is important; addressing your staff’s needs and desires so they also want to know your customers and guests, and will perform in a genuinely friendly yet professional manner is invaluable.

What is acknowledging your staff’s needs and desires? First, it is not pampering, but rather respecting them as individuals. Next, it is coming to an understanding of your existing policies under which you expect your staff to perform. Learn what policy(s) may interfere with self-respect and to some extent lack of control. Everyone cannot be accommodated, however, acknowledging that you may have a potentially poor policy and addressing this with your staff is an acknowledgement that creates a strong team, a very valuable asset in today’s business environment. An interesting read: An Anthropologist Walks into a Bar,

Never lose sight of this fact, “The people that make up a company are that organization's unique and biggest asset.Johnny Laurent – Sage Mr. Laurent’s quote is most applicable to hospitality; restaurants, hotels, resorts, spas, etc.

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