Stuart Johnson, general manager of Brown's hotel in London and a Master Innholder, says a happy employee will lead to happy guests.
When I started my career as an apprentice chef in the kitchens of a leading five-star hotel in London I was only 17 and joined a brigade of 100 others. I had no induction and, although I had access to the group training centre, as a new recruit I felt I had no support as there was very little communication to the team and poor departmental training. My first formal appraisal was 12 years later, when I was in a management position at the newly opened Cliveden. Time has moved on in this regard.
We find ourselves in an unpredictable trading climate at present. Many businesses are struggling and many of us need to manage our costs very tightly. Those of us who worked through the last two recessionary periods know that in both good and the difficult times our teams and the individual members within them are not only our greatest cost but also our greatest asset.
At this time it is essential for managers to maintain motivation among employees to achieve a consistently high level of service. Motivated staff assist in making a guest's stay more enjoyable, encouraging them to return to the hotel, therefore adding to the bottom line and leading to incremental revenue.
Talking to all team members on any level as individuals - making them feel part of the culture of the establishment in which they are working through two-way communication and asking them to contribute to their working environment - fosters an atmosphere in which they really feel valued and proud that they are contributing to the company's success.
In these budget-conscious times, recognition and genuine praise for a job well done costs nothing; a "thank you" means so much to everyone. Our teams are our internal guests and are vital to our success. Find out how they feel: a happy employee will lead to happy guests.
The deadline for applications for the Master Innholders scholarships has been extended to 17 July. For details seewww.mi-scholarships.com.