2021 Highlights Need for Hotel Staff Engagement and Productivity Through Digital Connectivity |

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The digitization of the workforce is about more than employee engagement. When implemented correctly, it facilitates efficiency, agility, and shortens time to market with critical information.

By Andrada Paraschiv, Head of Hospitality for Apiculteur – 1.23.2021

It might be a new year, but it’s far from business as usual for those who work in the hospitality industry. According to news The data released from the US Department of Labor, “498,000 employees were laid off from their jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry in December 2020”. The Washington Post reports that “among them, about 75% were employees of restaurants and bars” and “nearly 4 million jobs in leisure and hospitality have been lost since February 2020, according to economists”.

One of the biggest lessons learned over the past year was that communicating with hotel housekeepers, laundry workers, room service attendants, waiters, bartenders, valets, bellmen and women countless others who were either on leave or employed but not on site was extremely difficult as company emails to frontline workers usually do not exist. Amid the turmoil, finding the time to make phone calls to employees or mail them unemployment forms and other documents was not a productive use of management’s time. Nevertheless, employees had the right to receive job information essential to their livelihoods, but without a digital communication platform in place, receiving the information was difficult and required a lot of coordination efforts.

Prioritize frontline workers
For years, hospitality leaders have focused on the guest experience, and rightly so. But if the recent pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that employee experience must come first if workers are to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and be prepared to make the workplace safe for customers.

Hoteliers and restaurateurs have learned amid the pandemic that the safety, health and financial well-being of their frontline teams are underfunded. They are the front-line workers at all levels who keep the heart of the hotel or restaurant business beating, and they are the people responsible for what makes the business move forward. Yet management was not sufficiently prepared to communicate with its teams during an unprecedented time.

What we learned in 2020 is that the digitization of the workforce is key to ensuring that every employee, regardless of physical location or job description, is connected to the organization. It is this digital connection that allows employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability … proper procedures are followed.

Here are 4 trends in digitizations that emerged from the turmoil of COVID-19, each of which is reshaping the corporate culture of hospitality companies and the way managers engage with employees and vice versa for the foreseeable future:

Digitization helps managers really get to know their frontline employees

An important question that hotel operators struggled to answer in 2020 was: “Who are our frontline workers? “ It goes way beyond knowing a person’s name and job title. Rather, it is a question of knowing: Is Bob Smith engaged in the company? Does he understand the culture of the company? Does he receive relevant information about the job, read the content and act according to instructions? Does Amy Nguyen feel like she is part of the team or does she find it difficult to isolate herself from the group? When is her birthday and anniversary and when was the last time she was recognized for a job well done? What is Carlos Ortega’s family and financial situation? Do you know his primary language and communicate with him accordingly? Does the company help it in a fair and sustainable way? Does Agnès Balog feel safe in the premises? Does she feel successful in her role and respected by management and her peers? Does she complain in front of guests or make them feel safe and welcome and want to come back?

Before you can get to know your guests, you first need to know who you are telling your guests about their experiences. Digitization of the workplace accelerates the familiarization process. It breaks down walls, removes language barriers, and provides an easily accessible snapshot of everyone you employ, from longevity in the company and career goals to guest and manager feedback on their performance.

Digitization also ensures that everyone receives information relevant to their work and provides audit trail functionality to identify who has responded to content feeds and who has not. Management can confirm that communication campaigns have been launched and can measure effectiveness. Finally, digitization gives employees a voice by connecting all teams regardless of their position or location, a central channel on which to communicate. It provides a way to express concerns or ask questions that might otherwise be difficult to ask in person.

So if you want to know who your employees are… what they like and dislike… what they know or don’t know… what their strengths and weaknesses are… if they need further training… how they prefer to communicate and in which languages… and how they contribute to the organization… employers find that they can simply learn them or request them through a digital communication platform with employees.

Digitization enables employees to do their jobs better

Today’s front-line workers are subjected to work experiences that no job description could have prepared them for. Often times, they are required to increase their productivity to meet market demands that were unknown just a few months ago. Throughout it all, these unsung heroes of hospitality are also tasked with being the face of the business. They are encouraged to interact with customers as de facto brand ambassadors at a time when two social phenomena are at play: 1) being required to interact with the public, frontline workers are at greater risk of contagion such as coronavirus, and 2) being required to interact with stressed guests while traveling during a pandemic and therefore they can be rude or abrupt, adding to employee frustration.

The digitization of employee communications provides workers with instant advice on how to deal with today’s safety and social issues. Operators upload digital training videos and send surveys and quizzes, safety tips and reminders, and information updates to all employees in real time to quickly prepare all teams for the task at hand. accomplish and within the framework of today’s new normal.

The digitization of employee communications also transmits protocol changes, maintains morale, and emphasizes the importance of following safety guidelines. Digitization makes it easier for workers to articulate and adhere to operational safety messages. Digitization also brings multilingual functionality to workers whose first language is not English.

Arming workers with a digital arsenal of information gives them the tools to do their jobs better and allows them to take pride in their work, for the benefit of customers, management, their peers and ultimately , of themselves.

Digitization reduces friction, streamlines agility and improves security

The digitization of the workforce is about more than employee engagement. When implemented correctly, it facilitates efficiency, agility, and shortens time to market with critical information. Hoteliers see firsthand the benefits of improving the way front-line employees work with existing processes and systems within the organization. Digitizing paper-based processes, making employee manuals available, reducing friction and improving access to resources all play a key role in successful operational communication.

Digital communications allow employers to reach employees quickly. This is essential for maintaining agility in rapidly changing times. Digital communication improves access to the knowledge, resources and industry tools workers need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.

Digitization also ensures that the safety of frontline teams is a top priority. It makes health and safety information easily accessible to frontline teams so they can stay up to date and informed of the latest SOPs and safety guidelines.

Digitization creates a culture of access and empowerment

Giving frontline workers access to key information when they need it and how they prefer to access it is also critical to the success of a digital activation program. These employees are some of the most dynamic contributors to any staff, and they can often be found anywhere a problem needs to be resolved.

Having the right data will give them the knowledge to make informed decisions about their future and provide stakeholders with the information they need to deliver high quality services. Since the onset of COVID-19, demand for platforms such as Beekeeper has increased tenfold. Hotels and restaurants that have digitized their workforce are overtaking their competitors who still work with office solutions.

The bottom line is this: Frontline workers determine the customer experience. Ultimately, they are responsible for the survival of your business. When companies engage frontline workers in the conversation, it deepens management’s understanding of their needs and enables frontline workers to be successful at their jobs and grow their businesses. It is not a “good to have” in 2021… it is a “must have” to maintain organizational success.

Andrada Paraschiv is responsible for the hotel industry for Beekeeper, a mobile communications platform designed for frontline workers that reaches every shift, location and language through real-time messaging, targeted flows and automated workflows.

Are you an industry thought leader with a perspective on hospitality technology that you would like to share with our readers? If so, we invite you to review our editorial guidelines and submit your article for publication.

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