How fun is your workplace?  Young people entering today’s hospitality industry expect to have fun at work. When they don’t, the brightest and best will leave; silently and swiftly, usually without explanation.  They learn differently than their predecessors, often by trial and error; thinking outside the box and questioning just about every direction and instruction. I learned years ago that if we really want employees to understand and perform, then we must help them understand why – more than what. The leadership team that fails to deliver and ensure this will lose them.

Standard Operating Procedures and Brand Standards are usually corporately driven, while internal processes are more likely hotel driven. Leaders today have the responsibility to engage both new and existing employees in looking at internal processes, controls and distribution of work that influence the delivery of service.  They bring varying perspectives, experience and when engaged, will buy into the process. 

Ritz Carlton ‘threw out’ their mandated standard reply of “my pleasure” as a response to just about everything customers asked a few years ago – to encourage their employees to become more natural in service delivery. 

When was the last time you undertook a review of the utilization and optimization of your software and hardware let alone processes?  Ever thought of having your internal users do it and make recommendations? How could your team deliver core services in a more efficient and customer- friendly manner?  Hospitality leaders often fail to review/revise/update or even scrap those SOP’s to meet ever-changing customer needs. 

Leaders need to identify and differentiate between the non-negotiable performance standards and the more discretionary processes.  In the tech sector, employees don’t work in silos, they work in clusters that are fluid.  They focus on the tasks they are most interested in or assigned priority.  The concept of the multi-skilled, multi-tasking team(s) will take more focused, detailed training up front, but significantly reduce turnover and offer up an expanded knowledgeable team, ready to move into demand/crunch areas as and when you need them.  Plus, who better to come up with streamlined processes than the people working around the problem daily. 

Have you stepped back and looked at the technology and integrated systems that you’ve added over the past decade? It’s time to orchestrate internal review teams of end users who will explore and think outside the box, put aside historical reasons; and hopefully, come up with the most efficient and customer focused solutions in addition to making employees’ work more enjoyable and productive, freeing them up to spend more time with customers.  

Stephen Darling is a Vancouver-based corporate director (icd.d) and hospitality consultant with G7 Hospitality Group.  He was recognized as Hotelier Magazine’s Canadian Hotelier of the Year in 2001.  G7 Hospitality Group helps hospitality and tourism organizations drive results through strategic, operations based solutions. Learn more at


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