Hotels need a culture of fewer meetings

Hotel staffing and operationsHotels have a labor crisis and it’s only partially due to people not wanting to head into a work environment where the risks of COVID-19 may or may not be higher.

Instead, the shortage of associates and also managers is in part due to opportunities for purely remote work in other fields. Even as the pandemic wanes, the flexibility of remote work is too great for some employees to ignore and hotels will have to seriously rethink their operations to incentivize people to enter hospitality.

Getting associates or other frontline workers back may come down to wage arbitrage and other non-monetary incentives like paid lunches or continual professional development. For this article, we’re focusing more so on what you can do to make the lives of your managers easily so that you can maximize talent retention without being forced to fork over salaries that are equivalent to those doled out in finance or the tech sector.

To circle back, the ability to work remotely, even if it’s only part of the time, is a major value-add for many employees. For those with children or pets as well as for those who want to split up their days with a yoga session at noon and then get caught up in the evenings, remote work can be a make-or-break incentive when salaries are held roughly equivalent.

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The disadvantages for the employer are now well-understood, though. Remote work results in less collaboration, more feelings of isolation from the team, videoconferencing fatigue, potential productivity losses, and, more specifically in hospitality, less personal contact with guests. The pros and cons have to be evaluated based on each organization’s needs and style.

If we can dwell on the notion of lost productivity and videoconferencing fatigue for a moment, we can see that they are integrally linked. The fatigue stems from too many meetings and too much time spent staring into the laptop camera, while each additional meeting means less time in the workday to devote to the actual tasks necessary to advance the brand’s goals.

There’s a lot of psychology undermining meetings, for which you can look at ‘decision by committee’, ‘groupthink’ and perhaps one’s need for personal validation. More often than not, a hotel would benefit from fewer meetings and more decisive actions taken by designated project leaders. With this in mind, remote work can indeed work for your hotel, helping motivate managers to stay with you for the long haul and maintain (or increase) productivity to boot.

Here are some tips to consider with this shift:

  • To save the eyes from eye burn and fatigue, try phone calls without video
  • Every meeting must have a distributed agenda to stay on track
  • Thinking of fewer meetings overall, also consider fewer attendees where each person must justify why they need to be present
  • Instead of having people ‘listen in’, designate a minutes taker and have them distribute notes afterwards for others to read
  • Hold regular weekly timeslots to reduce the time waster of figuring out when everyone is free
  • Strictly discipline tardiness as five minutes late is actually 20 minutes of lost productivity if four managers are waiting for the fifth to join
Tags: Hotel staffing, meetings, staff engagement

Managing Partners at Hotel Mogel Consulting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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