During a recent (Sept 2019) hotel stay, I noted the lobby plaques of previous employees of the month. Then I noted that the list stopped in July 2017. Uh oh! What message does this 2+ year gap send to current employees? To customers? And what does it say about the hotel manager?
The answers to all these questions are pretty disheartening. At the center of the problem is the company’s lack of follow-through and commitment to a program designed to publicly recognize noteworthy performance.
- Employees are the first to spot the misalignment of “what the company says” and “what the company does.” They know. Indeed, while they may not particularly value the recognition (because individuals vary widely in how they want to be acknowledged), the absence of such recognition signals a company’s true values.
- Customers may (or may not) notice the gap in of current awardees. Perhaps they conclude that no one was worthy of the award – troubling. Or perhaps they conclude the management team has lost focus of the recognition – troubling. To improve the customer’s experience, improve the employee experience.
- Hotel management isn’t paying attention to details. This failure likely permeates through other parts of the hotel experience.
The solution to the company’s lack of follow-through and commitment is a cultural overhaul. It requires a prolonged (i.e. permanent) focus on employees. If the current leadership team can’t adapt, the overhaul may require a wholesale replacement of the team itself. Regardless, the goal must be to ensure that valuing employees, whether publicly or privately, becomes part of the company’s DNA.
The pivot point is that treating employees as assets and not as purely a cost to the business requires leadership’s commitment to people. Otherwise, companies are quickly exposed as those that pay mere lip service to the employees.