Ranking Human Capital from “taking them for granted” "the" link to success
— 13 C-Suite executives shared their view
Hospitality being the embodiment of people connecting to people, our human capital then automatically should be the most important asset we have. Every hotel or chain always talks a great deal about how important they judge their associates and all they do for them. But do they match their company values to their team members' values? Do they feel comfortable and able to empower their associates to deliver that important connection to their guests in full trust? Does selection still take place based on skill level and experience? Are interviews the right way to select?
In a digital tech world, where the environment and so many other demands take center stage and the financial influence of the past year's pandemic is so deeply felt, what should be the minimum base of human capital focus and what is your advice to all hotels/chains out there...
CEO, InTown Suites and Uptown Suites
Organizations are built around a purpose. This purpose, or what management gurus refer as Mission, sets the stage for the organization's objectives; near term and long term. For an organization to function effectively; 3 things are important:
- Product: Product is about the experience. If we put it in context of our industry; the booking experience, the arrival experience, the stay experience, the departure experience…and so on. The product offering should relate to the travel intent. ie. I booked a room at an extended stay hotel for the next 3 weeks; I would expect a comfortable bed, have the ability to cook my meals in a modern kitchen and have ample storage in the room with a very comfortable bathroom. Product design catering to the travel intent is critical; got to nail this. A good product backed by solid operations and motivated staff will drive profits.
- Processes: Keep this one simple; work towards decluttering and digitizing processes. Use simple tech (tablets, videos, digital look books, etc.) to train staff and to manage your operations. Very important to build / invest in platforms that are scalable and allow for seamless workflows / processes. Move away from binders; SOP's are best explained visually. Use technology where possible to automate and support staff to provide superior guest service. Processes are guardrails that need to evolve with time. Status quo leads to stagnation in an organizations' human capital.
- People: Connecting Product and Processes are our People; our colleagues in the field and HQ. To me, this is the most important link and the genesis of defining what is the importance human capital for an organization. Even though human capital (in its purest definition being a collection of intangible assets) doesn't show up on a balance sheet; a well-informed, well communicated and trained workforce will always result in higher performance. My learning when it comes to this topic is simple: Ensure you, as a leader, are communicating with every employee on your team. Additionally, give employees the ability to communicate back; foster an environment that is transparent with the organization's successes and failures and share those learnings… in an open forum. Some of our staff members don't have dedicated emails; so invest in platforms that allow you to communicate with them; every housekeeper, maintenance technician needs to know how the organization is performing; where is the company headed.
Yes, I believe interviews are important and yes, it is important to make training an ongoing and continued process. In fact, interviews are very important and I strongly encourage in-person interviews. That said, we should never trivialize the importance of ensuring each team member knows exactly what the company's priorities are and how is it that we will achieve them. Key over here; we all should know our role in the organization's growth; this creates alignment on how to deploy human capital. Success is not just for the company; but for all of its team members.