What do we do when the day-to-day becomes mundane? How do we inspire our housekeeping staff to make the bed and clean the toilets? Here are 3 ways to inspire your housekeeping staff to new levels of excellence.
Circa 2004, I had a secret identity in the BellSouth call centers. My secret identity was “Party Patrol Girl.” As part of my role in BellSouth Consumer Marketing, once a quarter, I would visit a call center in Florida to execute something called a “Sales Blitz” – Unofficially known as the “Trash & Trinkets Tour.” This was usually 2 days in the call center where I would channel my inner cheerleader and to motivate the troops. I would run around the call center telling each rep that they could win great prizes essentially for doing their jobs which was providing great customer service.
It was really an opportunity for me to provide training to the reps and therefore the lasting effect would be better customer service. You can’t come empty handed to a “Trash & Trinkets Tour.” What if I showed up at the call center in Florida and tried to provide training to the reps, but without gifts? Big Flop! I would have been wasting my time. The great prizes were mostly BellSouth promotional tchotchkes ranging from pens and t-shirts to blankets. The grand prize was lunch with me at the Cheesecake Factory. Yeah!
But I digress.
During my 2 day visit to the call center, it was a P-A-R-T-A-Y in the call center and as distracting as my trinkets were, each call center achieved new levels of performance.
Translate that to your housekeeping staff. How do you motivate our housekeeping staff day in and day out to provide excellent customer service? How do you motivate your paid by the hour housekeeping staff to clean rooms up to standard quickly and efficiently?
There are 2 general approaches to motivating employees. “Carrot” or “Stick”
The “Stick” is where you threaten their jobs, dock their pay, metaphorically beat them with a stick as a form of motivation. I haven’t had much experience in this realm.
The “Carrot” is the proverbial donkey that is motivated to move forward by dangling a carrot.
Housekeepers and staff at the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and other high end hotels are motivated by the fact that they are “serving a high purpose.” The clientele are important C-level executives changing the industry, and dignitaries negotiating for world peace.
But what about Johnny who is the first in his family to graduate from college and interviewing for his dream job tomorrow? What the family who has suffered financial hardships and are going on vacation for the first time in 5 years?
And for the staff, what about that housekeeper who lost her daughter in a fire and is working just to support her grandchildren? We are all here for a higher purpose.
What do we do when the mundane day-to-day get mundane? How do we inspire our housekeeping staff to make the bed and help Johnny get a good night’s sleep before his dream job interview?
Be Authentic with your employees.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the phrase was, “Walking your talk.” Employees watch what you do and correlate that to what you say. If there’s a mismatch, they can’t trust you. If you’re authentic, they can trust you.
Be transparent with your employees. Hiding critical information hinders them from doing their jobs. It’s better to be up front with bad news than have them find out later, which they will, on their own. Any miscommunications can affect your credibility with your staff.
Carrots, not Sticks
Throw away those sticks. Your problem employees will be gone before you know it. Take care of your good employees and they will take care of you.
Set up a reward system that everyone buys into and be transparent on who received the reward and how. If your entire staff worked 10 hours overtime this week for a big conference, reward everyone with a special treat. If 3 of 10 employees met a predetermined metric, reward them out in the open and encourage the other 7 to make it 10 of 10 next week. Setup screens that track everyone’s progress out in the open, make it a game where everyone has an opportunity to win.
When your employees win, the customer wins, i.e. Johnny gets his dream job, the hotel wins, and you win.