Are You An Indispensable Employee In The Hospitality Industry?
Learn how to become one….
Everybody dreams of being indispensable in their jobs. We all want to get to that stage where the organization simply cannot function without us; where people come running to us for support and everybody looks towards us for direction.
However, simply wanting to be a vital part of your organization won’t get you any closer to your dream. You’ve got to work really hard and exhibit certain characteristics to make yourself the heart and soul of your position.
The hospitality industry is an especially grueling sector. Employees, regardless of the position they’re in, are put through grind. Each waking minute that they spend in the hotel is a demanding minute. They have to solve problems, troubleshoot crisis, think on their feet, and keep things under control. And during all this, they have to have the wherewithal to keep a smile on their face and be courteous to their guests at all times. Don’t tell me that’s not a tall order!
Every employee has a role to play in an organization, but to be truly indispensable, you have to go above and beyond the call of duty. And you have to exhibit the following traits that set you apart from the crowd.
Know Your Job
It’s not uncommon to come across hotel staff who seem to be clueless about the workings of the place they’re in. You ask them a question, and they break into nervous mumbling. Then, with a ‘give me a minute’, they will disappear to consult someone about how to deal with the problem at hand. I’ve even seen employees who are unaware of the offerings or promotions they’re running.
This sort of clueless behavior does absolutely nothing to inspire confidence among visitors. And sooner or later, the management is bound to come down heavily on low performing employees like this.
If you’d like to be irreplaceable, you must make it a point to know everything about the hotel – it’s history, its legacy, what it stands for, what’s the journey been like. In addition, get to know its products, services, special offers, and promotions like the back of your hands. Keep up with the latest changes and any last minute modifications that may have been made to them.
As they say, knowledge is power and, in this case, it’s the difference between earning praise or getting rebuked by the top bosses.
Know Your Guest
Guests are topmost priority in the hospitality sector. Every strategy that you draft, every product you innovative, every service you offer, every policy you change – you do so with your guests in mind. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you know your guests inside out.
By this, I don’t mean you recognize them by face or know their names by heart. I am talking about understanding their needs and requirements so thoroughly that you can preempt what they want, even before they even ask for it. This is especially important for regular guests, who expect the hotel to have some familiarity with their routines and preferences. In order to do so, it’s important to keep track of their personality and behavior.
Most of the good hotels will ensure that the staff cross-maps their guests and makes an effort to know them well. General managers are encouraged to work the lobby and interact with the guests on a personal level. This is the best way to find out what guests want and get their feedback in real time.
Remember, hotels live by good reviews and investing time in getting acquainted with guests will earn you a whole lot of them.
Know your Teammates
There’s a popular saying in the hospitality industry – ‘The hotel never sleeps’. And how true that is!
While other organizations enjoy the luxury of weekends and holidays, hotel employees work round the clock and every day of the week. In fact, holidays are the busiest times of the year and there’s no breathing space to be got on these occasions.
Given the nature of the job and the exacting hours that define it, you’re bound to be thrown in with your colleagues at the oddest hours of the day. Unlike regular office environments where you interact with your coworkers only 8-9 hours a day, in the hospitality sector, you might find yourself spending a lot more time with them. And that’s why it’s important to be on good terms with all of them.
Understanding your teammates, not just the ones you work with directly, but across different departments as well, will help you work amicably with them. The general atmosphere of congeniality will ease the atmosphere within the organization, dissolve crisis situations, and make the working environment more conducive. Besides, being sincere, friendly, and approachable never hurt anyone. It will boost your ‘likeability quotient’ and is likely to play an important role in your appraisals as well.
Know your Competition
Who was it who said that an important strategy of war was to know your enemy? Well, whoever it was had a good head on his shoulders and while this is no war, it is business nonetheless, and in my books, that’s pretty much the same.
There are two reasons why it’s important to know your competition. For one, it will tell you what you’re doing right, but more importantly, it will help you realize what you’re doing wrong. And that means, you can rectify your mistakes, and take the right steps in the right direction.
One of the best ways to study your opponent is to organize FAMs of other hotels and restaurants in the city. Firsthand experience is always the best learning method. Stay at other hotels, explore the best dining establishments, and look into the best run establishments to find out what makes them tick. While it’s important to stand out and be different, knowing what is the latest crowd pleaser helps you grow and re-evaluate your marketing strategy.
So, don’t limit yourself to scouring through your competitor’s social media pages. Check them out in real time. Collect real experiences. They beat all the marketing literature, PR collateral or website interface you can collect in the world.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there really is no indispensable man. Whatever position we hold in our organization, there’s always someone else who can take over from us. And while we’re not exactly irreplaceable, we can definitely aspire to live up to the responsibilities entrusted to us, and become integral to the role we’re carrying out.
In order to do that, take yourself out of your comfort zone and discover your potential. Challenge yourself and never stop learning. There are so many things happening in a hotel that you’ll never run out of chances to pick up new skills. If you’re great at finance, try your hand at marketing. If you’re a people’s person, focus on understanding operations. Capitalize on your strengths, work on your weakness, and allow yourself to grow in different spheres of the industry.
Then, there are the usual factors that always pay off – hard work, initiative, diligence, and confidence. What employee hasn’t benefitted from exhibiting these traits at the work place? Walk the extra mile, take advantage of training opportunities, and be proactive. And most of all, never be afraid of considering new possibilities. The hospitality sector thrives on innovation and uniqueness and those are the traits you should aspire to imbibe when working here.
Ram Gupta, the author, is a hotel management graduate from India and Germany; He is a certified Hotel Administrator from U.S. and MIH from U.K. He has over 40 years of sound experience in the Hospitality, real estate industry in India, Dubai, U.K, Europe and Japan and is well versed with all areas of business including acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, diversification, strategic planning, development and operations. He has been associated with over two dozen luxury and boutique hotel projects and has launched two hotel chains in India. He is currently an independent hotel consultant and could be contacted at email@example.com. Website: www.bcgglobal.com
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