Are You Listening?
Because Your Employees Are Telling You
I still believe that communication is the number one issue in organizations with multiple departments, like hotels! Seems like a lot of leaders in hotels think they are running a Housekeeping Department, Front Office or a Restaurant. Yes, I realize that the Housekeeping Manger is responsible for the Housekeeping Department…but with a narrow focus of just one department, you are missing opportunities to not only grow your employee engagement, but also your service. This misunderstanding of what you are running is bad enough, but when your employees are telling you there is an interdepartmental communication issue and you don’t make adjustments…this is borderline negligent.
If you sit back and ponder the operation as a whole, you see that each department needs to work well together to deliver the service you are so proud of delivering…and the guest expects! I wonder how smooth a group check goes when the Sales Department fails to inform the front desk staff of some special needs? Do you think the restaurant revenue will grow due to the new promotion for breakfast…if the Front Desk Staff fails to mention this to all the guests…the night before and in the morning? It seems to me that the Housekeeping Department might delegate rooms differently in the morning if they are aware of scheduled early arrivals. These are just a few communication issues that continue to happen on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
I am wondering if the art of listening is hindered by the workload managers currently are experiencing? Of course a large portion of the current workload could be diminished if we focused on listening…not hearing, but actually listening to the communications or reading the communications received. It is not uncommon for me to read a comment from an employee engagement survey that has been written by a long term employee who states in their email that they have mentioned their issue previously…This can mean several things, but when it is an issue clearly stated, it means the issue has not been addressed; probably not even mentioned. Let me give you an example of how not listening/reading can increase your workload. Since most of our clients operate multiple properties in various locations, our most efficient method of communication is email. We do not overload clients with communication (usually about 4 pre-survey), we keep them very simple (try to keep everything on a 6th-grade level) and we include screenshots when necessary. The last pre-survey email we send is about 3 paragraphs with several screenshots; during a survey, sometime in the past our client assistance person received a reply to the last email, this particular manager was asking for their login credentials. A reasonable response, except the first sentence in the email, gave directions on how to obtain your credentials. Our client assistant responded and simply pointed out that the information the manager was asking for was located in the body of the email. This prompted another email from the same manager explaining that they did not have much time and needed the information immediately. After several emails back and forth, we ended up on a phone call to give the same information that was located in the email. We determined that the amount of time spent, roughly 15 minutes.
The incident above is not rare, it happens several times a year. This just makes one wonder, how many other communication issues are wasting the time of management? Listening is an art and it is the most important part of communication. Listening will help you in all areas of your life; with your employees, your boss, your family and everyone who has conversations with you. Have you ever met someone who you just loved talking too? If you think back, they were probably very good listeners.
If you would like more help developing employee engagement, please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org