Amy Blair Productivity Improvement Specialist at Business Process Excellence
Janice has been the General Manager for 6 months.
She is still trying to get her arms wrapped around
the effects of the previous GM’s supervision.
Leslie, the prior GM, was a dictator who ruled via
strong-arming and browbeating. The staff still seems
a little shell-shocked and is struggling to
understand Janice and her more benevolent style.
Does the ghost of your previous GM still haunt you?
Can you sense an underlying friction between departments but cannot figure out the source of the problem? What about budgeting? Is your Front Desk running lean but Housekeepers seems abundant? How does Janice get started? She wants to keep the existing good staff, show them it is safe to trust her and bring about healing to the environment. All while tackling the out of control expenses AND need to increase occupancy. Tall order? You bet!
Below are a few thoughts on where Janice can start. Spend time interviewing key staff members. This can be anybody from the housekeeping supervisor to the night auditor to the maintenance person. Ask a few questions and then just sit back and listen.
What to ask? Did you interact much with the previous GM? How did that go? What is your day currently like? Are there any areas where you feel like you are wasting time or energy? Do you have any suggestions for me? Do you like working here? Why or why not? Promise to keep the results anonymous.
If it seems like you are not getting much response, consider bringing in a consultant to ask the questions. A neutral 3rd person might make them more comfortable in speaking freely.
In the case of the hotel I am discussing today, they had a very lean Front Desk, no laundry person and a seemingly endless supply of housekeepers. With the desire of not laying anybody off, I advised cross-training the staff. Find out who is willing to learn other areas of the hotel. I told the staff this was great job security and their flexibility and new skill set would increase their value to the management. I also asked their assistance in finding ways to reduce expenses or increase sales.
Give them all a common goal and make it exciting to reach (I talk about this ALL the time!). For example, you want to increase occupancy by 10% and reduce expenses by 5%. Give a deadline and promise to share the change in net income with them.
Encourage cross-departmental collaboration to make this goal happen. In other words, does Front Desk need an extra hand during the hours of 3pm to 6pm? Can Housekeeping spare a person during that time to assist? Does Housekeeping need help folding laundry after a super busy weekend? Maybe Front Desk can fold during slow times. How else can they work together to reach the goals of increasing sales and reducing expenses? Allow them to work it out.
Remember that you as the GM care about the destination not necessarily the journey!
Amy Bair is a Productivity Improvement Specialist
focused on the hospitality industry. Her company
Business Process Excellence
partners with hotels to improve service, increase
revenue and decrease expenses by examining their daily
operations and making recommendations for improvement
that will increase efficiency, reduce waste and decrease