Operations Planner
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Leadership Must-Do's That Produce Great Results! - Week 4

publication date: Apr 7, 2015
author/source: Justin G. Lewis, COO, Timberline Hospitalities LLC

Week 4

#7 Reduce Turnover

We've all read the articles and seen the statistics regarding the cost of turnover at your hotel. Some hotels experience 200-300% turnover annually. This can be costly not only to your bottom-line, but to your service and culture.

Potential cost involving turnover:
  • Training costs
  • Help wanted advertising costs
  • Lack of coverage resulting in poor guest satisfaction - loss of revenue
  • Uniforms and equipment
  • Productivity loss
  • Hours management/supervisor were involved that are not lost
  • Interviewing time lost
  • Drug screening fees, background check fees

All of these fees and payroll hours add up and are hidden throughout our P&L's and have a negative impact on profit.

Sometimes as the General Manager we may or may not be able to offer extremely competitive benefits or higher pay. And obviously pay and benefits can be a major factor and a driving influence in where people choose to work and why individuals choose to leave. However, there are ways that the GM can make an impact in reducing turnover at the property level. I have outlined just a few:

R Recognize - Recognize great results, great employees and excellence.
E Energize - Provide a spark of energy, motivation and fun.
D Development - Develop your team, train them and create a pipeline of future leaders.
C Create a learning environment.
U Understanding - Care about your people and their lives.
C Celebrate - Celebrate greatness, achievement and team/individual successes.
E Empowerment - Empower your team to make decisions and have the ability to contribute  in a meaningful way.

T Talk - Communicate and be clear and concise.
U Undivided - Provide individuals your undivided attention.
R Respect - Show respect for great effort and results.
N Notice - Notice great performance, success and individual achievement.
O Opportunities - Provide opportunity to grow within the hotel.
V Vision - Promote the hotels vision & culture and live it.
E Excellence - Promote a culture geared towards excellence.
R Reconnaissance - Be out and about analyzing working environments and know what is going on at your hotel.

Putting these practices into your daily routine will immediately have a positive impact on your culture and you should see great results and lower turnover in time. In order to be sure, you should begin tracking turnover monthly. You want to know turnover percentage, reasons for employment termination and specific departmental turnover. I would also highly recommend exit surveys where the employee can sit with management and explain why they chose to leave the company.

#8 Housekeeping Huddle

It is football season! The excitement is in the air as we begin to follow our favorite players and teams in college or the NFL. What I find awesome about football is how the team huddles before each and every play whether on offense or defense. The team is always on the same page, they receive instructions or communicate effectively and everything is well rehearsed and calculated. The goal is excellence and victory as a team. The Quarterback or defensive captain calls the team together in a huddle and they issue the plan for success that will guide them to victory.

Hotel operations is no different. We have a Quarterback or Executive Housekeeper, we have a team or our Rooms Attendants and Laundry staff and we should have a plan for that day's success. But when do we communicate that plan? For Housekeeping, which is typically the hotel's largest department and most critical to quality and cleanliness, I recommend a morning huddle before the day begins. During this time the Executive Housekeeper lays out that day's goals, maybe a safety topic and a detailed cleaning objective.

To start you will need to find a quiet location such as the employee break room or housekeeping department or possibly an unused conference room. The meeting should start right after everyone has clocked in and ready to hit the floors first thing in the morning. The huddle should last no longer than 4 minutes because we do not want to have a negative impact on our payroll and we all know how precious cleaning times and minutes per room can be.

Huddle Outline:
  • Quiet location
  • Quick 4 minute timer
  • High energy huddle with enthusiasm
  • A safety topic such as fire procedures, lifting procedures or key control
  • An area of the room that we need to pay special attention to that day such as lampshade dusting or HVAC filter cleaning or tub mats.
Finished - Off to work!

Tips on how to make it more fun and energetic:
  • Play some energetic music first thing in the morning. (Do not interrupt the guests)
  • Do jumping jacks or run in place. This will get the blood pumping.
  • Have a quick breakfast snack waiting for the team.
  • Provide Coffee or OJ or an energy bar.
  • Have guest speakers such as the GM, Maintenance Engineer or Guest Service Manager.
  • Get the team clapping and breaking just as they leave the huddle to hit the floor.
  • Joke of the day.
  • Introduce new team members.
  • Mention birthdays or team successes.
Plan ahead. Do not show up to Huddle with a team in front of you and have nothing to talk about. This would be bad.
Be creative and random. Make sure the topic each morning is different and centered around safety, quality and cleanliness.

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