|by Michael Hampton, Ed.D. CHE
Although management has the utmost influence on the overall direction
of a property, it has been said by many prominent industry leaders that
employees have the most influence on the success of a property. This
assertion may have a great deal of merit because of the fact that employees
interact with guests more often than do managers; and, employees are directly
responsible for delivering the “products and services” guests receive.
In order to be good motivators, managers must also be good leaders.
Leadership practices that constructively influence employee motivation
involve several activities, some of which include the following.
|Therefore, ensuring that employees
are motivated to consistently perform at the established standard, and
to remain with the property for an extended period of time, is contingent
on many factors. Three of those critical factors include the leadership
qualities of managers, the coaching and development tools used by managers,
and the diverse characteristics of employees.
Employee behavior is quite often a reflection of the guidance they receive
from their superiors. The postulation, then, is that if managers
are unmotivated, employees will be unmotivated. If we hold this premise
to be true, then it becomes important to recognize that managers must establish
a motivational atmosphere by setting a positive example through the utilization
of good leadership practices.
Training & Support
Products & Services
Make others feel important. Managers that are good leaders
recognize and acknowledge the contribution that employees make to the operation;
and, express appreciation for the worth they add. Employees that
feel they are a valued and integral part of the organization are likely
to remain with the property for extended periods of time.
Treat employees fairly and equitably. Managers that establish
a high regard for the integrity of employees, and who incorporate the principle
of the “Golden Rule” into employee dealings will set the stage for creating
an atmosphere of congeniality and mutual respect. Employees that
perceive that they are dealt with fairly are less likely to seek other
Certainly, there are a great many other variables that can influence employees
in their motivational level and their potential for retention with the
property. All of these are guided to some degree by the leadership style
a manager uses, and by the leadership actions a manager takes. By
implementing these three basic practices, managers can establish the fundamental
framework from which their leader profile can grow.
Be visible on the front lines. Managers that get out of their
offices and move from behind the scenes make themselves accessible where
the action is. Managers that go so far as to get involved in or participate
with employees in the performance of their jobs communicate a strong humanization
message. Employees that believe their managers will lend support
and reinforcement during challenging times are more likely to remain with
the organization for the long term.
Coaching And Development Factors
Employee behavior is also molded by the measures taken by managers in
cultivating and expanding the employees’ skills, knowledge and abilities.
Research studies have demonstrated in numerous instances that employees
who are given the opportunity to learn and to expand their capacities to
contribute in new ways are more motivated than employees who are not given
those opportunities. Thus, an essential element of motivation and retention
is the establishment of systems for coaching and developing employees to
acquire higher levels of competency.
The tools that can be utilized to help a property’s team members progress
to the next stage of their growth can be quite simple. Some of those
that should be considered involve the following.
Provide regular, consistent feedback. Recognizing and reinforcing
positive behaviors stimulates the employee to engage in the same type of
behavior in subsequent instances. Pointing out behaviors that need
improvement, and coaching employees by offering suggestions on how to modify
behavior to reach acceptable levels prompts them to begin adjusting their
approach. Employees who feel that they work in an environment where
managers are aware of and care about what they do are more likely to stay
with the organization.
Develop aptitudes for performing other jobs. Managers who
provide employees with training opportunities, either through in-house
workshops, distance learning or public seminars, create a foundation for
their progression within the property’s hierarchy. Employees who
become eligible for promotion and advancement, as a result of having acquired
the necessary qualifications through training, have a greater likelihood
of staying with the organization because of their anticipation of new positions
eventually becoming available to them.
Providing employees with job aids, standard operating procedures manuals,
audiotapes, videotapes, and other resources that can assist them in self-paced
or group learning activities can also be significant contributors to motivation
levels. Encouraging employees to read industry publications, trade
journals, books and newsletters can help them expand their knowledge and
understanding of their roles and the inter-dependency of the jobs they
Delegate. Giving employees the responsibility for developing
important projects, and then providing guidance on how to complete them
successfully, demonstrates management’s confidence in the employee to perform
beyond the norm. Those employees that sense a greater worth to the
organization subsequently develop an affinity and a greater degree of loyalty
that makes them less likely to leave the property.
Employee Diversity Factors
It is widely recognized that employees are all different in their perceptions
and behavior because of their cultural origins, educational backgrounds,
experiences and exposure, demographic characteristics and life cycle stages,
as well as a host of other variables. Consequently, a fundamental
management principle emerges related to stimulating employees toward achieving
optimum performance and productivity levels. This principle stipulates
that in order to get the greatest results, employees must be managed as
individuals and not as a group.
Acknowledging that employees cannot all be managed in the same way,
it becomes obvious that employees cannot all be motivated in the same way.
Some of the steps a manager can take to create an individual specific focus
that allows employees to become motivated include the following.
Appeal to personal interests. This is accomplished by actively
listening to what is important to them. This means that managers
must take the time to truly understand what their priorities and goals
are, then develop a plan that can help them achieve those goals.
When employees feel that management is willing to help them get to where
they want to be in terms of their own vision for the future, they are more
likely to stay with that organization.
Giving employees the opportunity to set their own work or shift schedules,
allowing them to select cross training interests, seeking their input for
improving products and services or systems and procedures; and, permitting
them to participate in setting succession and advancement plans can also
impact individual motivation levels.
Offer personalized rewards. Different employees have different
value attachments associated with recognition and incentives. Managers
must identify which type of structure is most attractive to each employee,
providing them with remuneration, compensation and the types of rewards,
both financial and intrinsic, that they prefer. Employees that receive
the types of rewards that create the highest level of satisfaction for
them personally are less likely to seek other employment.
Of course, a strategic issue in motivating and retaining employees is
to take measures that contribute to recruiting, selecting and placing the
right type of people into the property’s available jobs. If the characteristics
and qualities of the individual are not aligned with the requirements of
the job, the task of motivation and retention is appreciably more challenging.
Conclusively, those organizations that are most effective at motivating
and retaining employees are those that take the first step of selecting
the right people. Once the right people are in place, they have to
be exposed to leadership that creates a motivational environment and atmosphere.
Then, providing coaching and development tools that enable employees to
acquire the skills, knowledge and abilities to grow and progress to higher
levels of competency must follow. Finally, offering consistent rewards
that have high degrees of value attractiveness to the individual are a
Unquestionably, the formula for success will not be the same in every
situation. Putting together the combination of these factors that
are most appropriate for any given organization will vary depending on
the profile of and the resources available within the property. The
key consideration in moving toward achieving higher levels of employee
motivation and retention is to not do everything at once, but to identify
where a change in approach can be implemented that will have the greatest
impact and put it into place. Once improved results are realized,
then move on to the next step.
Michael Hampton, Ed.D. Is a professional speaker and serves as Chief
Executive Officer of HSA International, a global provider of training,
educational and consulting services for the hospitality industry.
Additional information on this topic is available by contacting him via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via
telephone at (954) 432-7301.