Taking Care of Our Own During the Holidays

A vital component of success in the hospitality industry is consistency, the ability for us to deliver service and to meet customer expectations on a regular basis.  We work hard at this year-round, and as part of our ongoing effort, we use certain traditional methods at certain times of the year to represent our commitment to the guest.  An example of such a delivery is our annual holiday season approach, when we often decorate our lobbies with symbols of the season, and when we volunteer in our communities to celebrate the season.

All of this is good and serves an important purpose for our guests.  However, while we do a good job with this approach, we sometimes lose sight of the importance of applying this same logic to our employees, colleagues, and associates.  Think about it; what does your hotel do for its employees to help to mark the holiday season?  Do we host an associate holiday party, do we give each person a turkey, do we do anything at all?

For many, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, regardless of one’s religious or ethnic beliefs, represents a period of celebration, of community, and of general good will towards others.  Truthfully, no one is more deserving of being the focal point of such feelings than our employees that have carried us through the entire year.  The challenge for us as the property/ownership leaders is how to demonstrate this in ways that are meaningful, sincere, and genuine.  Sometimes, the annual staff holiday party or gathering becomes a repeat of the prior year, more of a “check the box” than a truly motivating and rewarding event.  When this occurs, it not only represents a missed opportunity to properly demonstrate our appreciation, it also sends a message that the employees are perhaps not as important to management & ownership as they would like to think.

It’s not too late; now is the time to take another look at your holiday season employee/associate relations plans.  If you host an event for your colleagues, dig deeper to ensure the fact that this event will resonate with those that it is intended to honor.  This exercise does not require that you spend more money on your employee recognition program.  Look at it this way; you and your teams spend significant time and effort to understand and analyze trends in guest satisfaction in our hotels.  The same logic should apply to how we recognize and motivate our associates.  Do we know how impactful our holiday plans are for our associates?  Have we considered how to make them more impactful?  If the answer to these questions is anything other than a resounding “yes,” it would be beneficial to undertake this brief analysis so that you can ensure maximum benefit from your holiday employee relations plans.