Tag employees

Tag employees

How Luxury Brands Can Motivate Service Employees

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Would Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor have tolerated customer service shaped only by a checklist? No. Neither do today’s guests of The Beverly Hills Hotel, a favorite of those two actresses. While leading the 1,000 employees at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, I’ve seen how a customer’s experience can change based on something as small as a smile. At such moments, smooth operations and efficient processes are no substitute for an engaged, motivated employee with the instinct to do the right thing.

Yet luxury hospitality and retail businesses, like many other companies, can struggle to motivate employees. This is often a particular challenge with hourly-wage workers. Few organizations master it. As customers, we have all experienced an overworked and undervalued employee dismiss us with a shrug.

At our hotels, we keep our team motivated and our morale high by focusing on four important factors:

Financial Security
One of the most important ways that managers can help these employees be their best is to start by making them feel safe. Employees can only deliver great service if they have peace of mind. They can’t give their best if they are worried about their incomes or job security. Creating this sense of safety is really about speaking to two parts of each employee: his heart and his head.

Forgiveness
Fair pay is the basis for creating an organization where employees feel secure, but of course, it’s not enough. You also have to manage each employee’s emotions – that’s the heart. One of the most powerful ways to do this as a manager is to forgive errors. No matter how high your standards, perfection is beyond human reach. True forgiveness must be felt, not just stated.

When a person in my organization makes a mistake, I always try to ask: Are they repeating a mistake or making it for the first time? Can we forgive and teach? Sometimes the cerebral policy has to bend to the heart – because the employee made a mistake trying to do the right thing. Perhaps the employee took initiative to solve a customer problem for which we don’t have a policy. Looked at that way, maybe the mistake wasn’t a mistake after all.

It’s just as important to practice collective forgiveness. A hotel in San Francisco where I worked previously lost a 5-star travel rating after an inspector gave us a poor grade for front-of hotel experience. We had to connect head and heart to rally the team to win the rating back– even as customer volume was booming and we always felt short-staffed.

For two years, we nurtured excellence, meeting with employees one-on-one to analyze service. A secret shopper evaluated the team every six to eight weeks. At shift meetings, we shared the results, praising successes and noting mistakes. Individuals who scored well earned gift certificates or salary boosts. Soon, staffers were congratulating each other for 100% test scores. We shared positive reinforcement openly, but gave negative feedback privately, in combination with coaching.

Respect
When I arrived at The Beverly Hills Hotel, the employee entrance and locker rooms were, in the words of one colleague, “horrific” — quite run down and dirty. When you’re asking people to come to work in an ultra-luxury environment, this is a stark way to start the day. So we revamped the employee entrance to resemble the hotel’s iconic front-of-house arrival area for the guests — down to the green-and- white-striped canopy, palm plants, and red carpet. Today when employees come to work, they walk the red carpet, with music playing in the background. They have a sense of arrival and strong team morale.

Decisions like these lead employees to articulate not only that your company is a good place to work, but also why it is a good place to work.

Communication
To make employees feel safe, respected, and when necessary, forgiven, leaders have to make themselves available. At the Beverly Hills we have an open-door policy. Any employee can come see me with a question or suggestion. According to employee survey data, that policy helped overall employee engagement rise by 12% between 2010 and 2014. And at lunchtime, I frequently eat in the employee cafeteria, not the guest dining room, and I sit with different people in order to hear a range of feedback. This also gives me the opportunity to put our company’s good growth news front and center for our team, which reassures everyone in the organization – from the back office to the lobby – that their incomes are secure. It’s a positive, self-reinforcing loop.

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Employee engagement – how does your spa team rate?

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As we come into the holiday season most spas will begin to experience an upturn in their customer bookings and overall sales.  But is your staff  delivering the kind of positive experience that will have your new customers craving more? Read More

Do Your Spa Employees Need Refreshing?

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By 2018 the spa industry is projected to grow by 40%. A new regime of employees with fresh skills and talents, but not necessarily experience will enter the workforce. Meanwhile many existing employees struggle with the initial skills they learned from school or knowledge gleaned from product training.

Is refresher training for employees overrated? Hakeem Adebiyi of V-Creative says there is a school of thought out there that doesn’t see the value of teaching employees concepts they have already been introduced to. There is a lot of value in the refresher course though. For starters, here are two benefits of the refresher course. Read More

You Can’t Put Lipstick On Declining Spa Sales

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Almost half of spa owners see no increase in their sales in the foreseeable future. Yes, according to the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) “60 percent of spa and salon owners are positive on growth, expecting to have higher retail sales in the next six months.” As for the other 40 percent — flat to declining.

What’s shocking to me is that 0.5% growth is now being called success. “Overall indicators and feedback from beauty professionals across the country continue to be positive and we remain optimistic that the beauty industry will continue this growth into 2015” says Steve Sleeper, Executive Director of the PBA.

Is retail sales a force of nature that can’t be controlled by man (or woman)?
Read More