The world is full of hotel choices for the vacationing family, executive or for those who just like to get away. Despite all the choices, a few hotels can maintain a loyal customer base while keeping its employees motivated and happy. Over the years, the Ritz-Carlton has been consistently recognized as a hotel that provides unparalleled customer service as well as maintaining an extremely high employee retention rate. This paper will examine the Ritz-Carlton’s approach to employee training and motivational strategies as well as the secret to the company’s high employee retention rate.
At the Ritz-Carlton, employees are not separated from the company but are immediately apart of the company as soon as they are hired. According to the hotels motto employees are considered as valuable and important as the customers they serve, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” (McDonald, 2004). The company believes that their employees are its greatest assets and should be treated as such.
The hotel is very selective in hiring employees that they believe will be suitable for the job. They take in consideration the perspective employees personality and attitude rather than just hiring based on experience. This method allows the hotel to select employees that not only will provide excellent customer service but will also be happy with the job they are doing. According to a director of training at one the hotels locations, “If you want to achieve service excellence, you must select people who want to go with you” (Lampton, 2003). After they are hired, the hotel provides all employees with extensive training that prepares them to face any difficulties that they may encounter on the job. It is estimated that the Ritz-Carlton spends an average of $5000 training each new hire (McDonald, 2004).
The secret to Ritz-Carlton’s high employee retention rate is not high wages or perks. In fact, wages and benefits are equivalent to any other luxury hotel. The key to company’s high retention rate is creating an environment in which employees feel that they are valued members of a dedicated team and are treated with respect. Employee birthdays are celebrated along with employment anniversaries (McDonald, 2004). Hotel leaders have high expectations from each staff member but do not expect them to perform tasks that they themselves cannot accomplish. Obviously, these methods are proving to be very effective since the annual employee turnover rate in Ritz-Carlton hotels is 25% while other luxury hotels have a rate of 44% (Lampton, 2003).
Employees are involved in the process of change rather than having it forced upon them from hotel management. For example, at some hotel locations employees are videotaped performing everyday duties such as setting tables. Later, participating employees watch the videotape with management and discuss ways in which their service can be improved (Lampton, 2003). In addition, every employee has the power to spend up to $2,000 to resolve a guest’s problem without having to ask management for approval. This hands on method results in a high employee satisfaction rate by giving employees more control over their profession and motivates them to do a better job by involving them directly in the change process (McDonald, 2004).
The hotel has an open door policy when it comes to accessibility. Dissatisfied employees can easily talk to hotel managers about any problems that they may encounter on the job and ask for guidance. On a routine basis, employees are involved in 15-minute daily talks in which they discuss the core values of the hotel such as excellent customer service. This method enforces enthusiasm among the employees because they have a chance to share their work experiences with each other. The Ritz-Carlton is one of very few large companies that focuses attention on core values on a daily basis (McDonald, 2004).
Although the hotel does an excellent job at making employees, feel valued and provides excellent training at times its methods can be a little aggressive. The hotel follows a method referred to as immediate corrective action meaning that mistakes are fixed as soon as they are caught. For example, employees are encouraged to be constantly on the lookout for Mr. Biv. This refers to mistakes, rework, breakdowns, inefficiencies and variation in work processes. Employees are expected to immediately report any mistakes they witness. Under this mindset, employees may feel pressured to report the mistakes of other employees, which could lead to internal conflict rather than fostering a healthy work environment (Lampton, 2003).
In order to help employees feel less pressured, the hotel should consider a less aggressive problem resolution method. For example, instead of expecting to report minor errors immediately a weekly log should be set up. At the end of each employee’s workweek, they should write down any minor errors they may have witnessed. This approach will help employees relax and perform their daily duties more efficiently because they are under less pressure.
The Ritz-Carlton also has a strong policy when it comes to employee failure; “The employee who gets off track ethically is out. There is no coming back, no compromise” (Lampton, 2003). This rigid policy can cost the hotel loss of valued long-term employees who made one error in judgment. The hotel should treat the errors of its employees on a case-by-case basis rather than following such uncompromising policies. By treating each case separately, the Ritz-Carlton can strengthen its philosophy of treating employees with consideration and respect.
Overall, the Ritz-Carlton is an excellent organization in terms of employee treatment. The hotel not only values it guests but also its employees by making sure they are aware of their value and potential. It fosters a nurturing environment in which employees are free to take charge rather than playing passive roles. Like any organization, the Ritz-Carlton has room for improvement and change in regards to human resource management. Because of its dedication to its customers and employees, the hotel will remain a leader in the luxury hotel industry for a long time.
Mc Donald, D. (2004). Roll out the Blue Carpet How Ritz-Carlton can teach you to serve
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Lampton, B. (2003). Show and tell at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Expert Magazine.
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