|By Elizabeth Johnson, Public Relations Manager, EI
If you’re having trouble finding workers in the usual places, maybe you need to start looking in some unusual places. Take a look around your community with an open mind and you’ll find several sources for non-traditional workers. Here are a few creative ideas that have worked for other properties. Will one of them work for you?
Several properties in Syracuse, N.Y., including a Knights Inn, Fairfield Inn, and Courtyard by Marriott, have hired people with developmental disabilities to work in their housekeeping departments. Monarch Enterprises, a division of the Onondaga County ARC, contracts with hotels to provide housekeeping services. The hotels pay the agency for the number of rooms cleaned daily, and the agency pays its workers based on their productivity.
“We strive for quality,” said Monarch program manager Lawton Williamson. “Our employees may work more slowly than a non-disabled worker, but they do a phenomenal job. They don’t cut corners and they do everything their supervisor instructs them to do.”
Monarch’s employees have worked at the local hotels for four to six years.
“The hotel business has been a good relationship for us. We’ve filled a need for them, and they provide a good working environment for our people,” said Williamson.
“A lot of times it’s hard to find good people to fill a position,” said Matt Monicatti, general manager of the Courtyard Syracuse. “These people want to work, and are happy to be on the job.”
Monicatti said that Monarch’s job coach ensures that the housekeepers work up to Courtyard’s standards. “The quality of the rooms they clean is sometimes better than those of the non-disabled housekeepers,” he noted.
Because of Monarch’s flexibility with scheduling workers, they are an ideal staffing solution for Courtyard. “They’ve helped us out a lot with staff shortages. If we need more people on a given day, we let the agency know and they bring more clients with them,” said Monicatti. “It’s an arrangement that makes sense for us.”
To find out if your community has an employment program for people with developmental disabilities, look under ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) in the phone book.
Knights Franchise Systems, Inc., is helping its franchisees find employees through the Welfare to Work Partnership, a national effort of the business community to help move people on public assistance to jobs in the private sector. Knights Franchise Systems became a Business Partner in the Welfare to Work Partnership in May 1998.
“We offer this program as a business solution to our franchisees who face severe labor shortage problems,” said Ramesh Gokal, Knights Inns’ president and CEO. “This is a win-win situation for the employer, who gains a employee who is eager to work, and for the employee, who has the opportunity to move beyond the stigma of unemployment.”
Properties that participate in the Welfare to Work Partnership link up with local social service agencies to find the right person for an open position. The agencies work with employees to overcome any obstacles to successful employment.
“Most times, people want to work, but have seemingly insurmountable hurdles, such as lack of child care or transportation,” said Gokal. “Through the Welfare to Work Partnership, agencies find solutions to those problems so that people are able to work. Because of these efforts, people hired through the program are more apt to stay in the job, and retention is better than for other employees, which is another plus for the hotel.”
Other hotel brands that are business partners in the Welfare to Work Partnership include Marriott International and Loews Hotels. To learn more, call the Welfare to Work Partnership at 1-888-USA-JOB1.
Hotels in cities such as Chicago and St. Louis have found employees
through resettlement programs for Bosnian immigrants and other refugees.
Other properties are bringing in foreign workers on temporary visas or
hiring graduates of overseas hospitality schools.
Just remember, if “business as usual” isn’t working for you, it’s time to try “business as unusual.”
This article originally appeared in AAHOA Hospitality.
For more information on recruiting and retention resources from the Educational Institute, contact email@example.com.
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