Archive for the ‘employee morale’ Category

Motivation and Morale

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Employee turnover rates, employee attitudes, body language, and facial expressions speak volumes about a company.  The signs are easy to see – grumbling, fearfulness, under-breath comments, lack of humor or gallows humor, cynical signs on desks or screen savers, and sour, negative attitudes.

Poor morale comes from poor leaders.  Employees are not to blame.  They are simply responding to a lack of leadership.  Poor morale is solved by a genuine interest in the welfare of employees, trust, constant feedback, good two-way communications, clear goals, and positive motivation.

Leaders must motivate their employees to do what needs to be done, not just to get by, but to excel.  Leaders are vitally concerned about their employees’ morale.  Poor morale can cripple the effectiveness of any group of people.

You must set the example and be positive and upbeat.  Bad moods can destroy an organization, especially if it is yours.  It is your responsibility to keep your employees up.  Don’t tolerate sour, negative attitudes.  Unless you put a stop to them, they will grow like a cancer and be just as destructive.

A vivid memory of mine is of working at a historic hotel where the controller had been “in residence” for over twenty years.  Martha never smiled, and she seemingly despised hotel guests, vendors, and other employees.  Her isolation, constant grumbling, and obvious contempt for all around her poisoned the day-to-day atmosphere of the operation.

Staff social functions were occasions for Martha to complain about others who had not done their part or had performed poorly.  Staff meetings always included diatribes on how planned improvements were pointless because guests always complained and employees didn’t care.  Despite her critical and central role in the operation, other employees avoided her like the plague since she was so unpleasant.  Naturally this led to all sorts of problems, lack of cooperation, and miscommunication.

Finally, after much fruitless counseling and despite her longevity, we fired Martha.  The new controller we hired placed great emphasis on being part of the team, meeting with other department heads to explore their concerns and issues, and making a positive contribution to planning and change.

Morale improved immediately.  Line employees and managers seemed to have a new enthusiasm for the challenges we faced.  Cooperation and consideration became the order of the day.  As we gathered steam, improvements in the operation were readily apparent, and we all took pride in our efforts and accomplishments.  Even our regular guests noticed the new attitude and complimented us on our many initiatives.

I expected things to improve without Martha’s ill humor, yet I was stunned by the difference her departure made.  It seems her negativity impacted many on the staff.  The collective emotional energy invested in dealing with her was put to better use and everyone was better for it.

While you can’t control the mood swings of others, you can expect and require your employees to treat their fellow employees with courtesy and respect.  You can insist on a cheerful and positive attitude.  Any employee who refuses to make this basic commitment to the group welfare should seek other employment or, if suffering from a medical condition or emotional problem, seek professional help.

In dealing with many issues of motivation and morale, a little sincere human concern goes a long way.  The people who work for you are like you, basically good-at-heart, each with his or her own strengths and weaknesses.  Be gentle and nurturing and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Show understanding in helping and teaching them.  Yet be uncompromising and fanatical in your dedication to right attitude and quality of service.

Make employees part of the team, remembering that you are their coach.  Share ideas with them, brainstorm with them, and listen to their ideas.  A person with a stake in an organization has a greater sense of commitment.

A little praise and recognition goes a long way in building morale and esprit.  If employees bring you good ideas, make sure they get recognition for their contribution.  Never, ever take credit for an employee’s idea.  Your superiors will be far more impressed by your self-confidence and generosity of spirit in giving credit where it is truly due.  Conversely, nothing will destroy your standing with employees faster than claiming credit for their accomplishments and ideas.

Know and address your employees by name.  Meet with your employees frequently, both formally and informally.  Talk to them every day.  Ask for problems; hound them for problems.  If they honestly believe you will try to solve the problems they face, they will open up.

Excerpted from Leadership on the Line: A Guide for Front Line Supervisors, Business Owners, and Emerging Leaders, Ed Rehkopf, Clarity Publications, 2002

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Our Human Assets

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

One of the most important factors in the success of any endeavor is the dedication and performance of its employees.  They are, after all, the ones who do the work from top to bottom of the organization and they are the ones who directly serve your members every day in all areas of the operations.

Recognizing the importance of employees’ contributions, there are a number of things that influence the quality and performance of your human assets.

  • Hiring well,
  • Employee development and training,
  • Disciplinary system, and
  • Organizational leadership.

Hiring Well.  Jim Collins in his groundbreaking book, Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, speaks of the importance of getting the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Employee Development and Training.  In order for employees to perform at high levels they must know what’s expected of them, be thoroughly trained, and receive ongoing feedback, both formal and informal, regarding their performance.

Disciplinary System.  It’s an absolute requirement that employees are treated consistently and fairly in all aspects of employment and the club’s disciplinary system.  The consequences of failing to do this include discrimination and wrongful termination complaints, higher unemployment compensation costs, and the ongoing turmoil of complaints and grievances.

Organizational Leadership.  This is the most important factor contributing to high levels of employee commitment, dedication, and performance.  Employees who are valued, engaged, motivated, informed, listened to, and empowered by the consistent application of sound leadership from the entire management team will consistently achieve at higher levels than those who don’t.

While high performing individuals can be found in any segment of the population, a club will find it difficult to build a team of such performers without understanding the underlying disciplines in finding, hiring, developing, and retaining them.

Excerpted from Employee Development and Discipline on the Go, Hospitality Resources International.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Guest Blog: What Employees Appreciate More than a Paycheck

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.  No, I wasn’t homeless. I just hated being in that tiny apartment with my folks fighting all the time.  It was a lot more fun and a lot less chaotic hanging out outside with my friends.

You see, my parents worked for beans and hated their jobs.  Sure, they took care of us – put a roof over our heads, food on the table and all that – but they were miserable and it showed, big-time.  To their credit, they truly wanted better for their kids.

So I grew up knowing I had to do three things.

  1. Make money.  We were the poorest of all my friends and relatives.  That’s why my folks fought so much.  It really sucked and it was humiliating.  I knew I had to change that.
  2. Work hard.  My dad drilled his work ethic into me and I’m eternally grateful for that. I just wish he didn’t throw a fit over having to miss a day of work when I broke my leg playing basketball.
  3. Find something to do with my life that didn’t make me wish I was dead and take it out on everyone I loved.  There was no way I was going to work at a job I hated.  Period!

Luckily, I found my way into the high-tech industry where opportunity abounds and you can pretty much achieve whatever it is you’re capable of achieving, as long as you’re willing to work hard and take risks.  No, it hasn’t all been fun and games, but it’s been a better ride than I had any right to expect and more fulfilling than I had ever dreamed.

Given my background, it should come as no surprise that I’ve long been an observer of what motivates people, empowers them, and makes them happy to come to work.  Besides the paycheck, here are nine things that I think good employees – the kind you want to keep around – live for.

A piece of the action.  I believe it was chip giant Intel’s founders – Andy Grove, Gordon Moore, et al – who pioneered the practice of issuing stock options to employees.  That said, profit sharing has been around for a long, long time.  People really love knowing they have skin in the game.  It’s motivating and empowering.

The chance to be a part of something great.  Ask anybody why they work at Apple and they’ll tell you:  It’s pretty cool to see somebody walking around using a product you had a hand in making.  When I was in the microprocessor industry, the engineers lived to build a chip that was better than Intel’s on a shoestring budget.  It really moved them.  No kidding!

Some honest guidance and feedback.  Maybe the secret to wealth and power is a bit over the top, but I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect some genuine guidance on what’s expected of them and a little honest feedback on how they’re doing.  Emphasis on the words “genuine” and “honest.”  I mean, we get enough BS from the politicians.

A little predictability (and a lot less abuse).  There’s nothing worse than a boss that reminds you of an alcoholic parent.  A manager whose emails, phone messages, and cubicle visits are more like drive-by shootings than management direction.  It’s chaotic enough just trying to get products out the door and beat the competition; folks don’t need that sort of chaos from their management, as well.

A sense of humor.  Over the years I’ve known a zillion successful executives, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.  One thing’s for sure.  The really good ones know how to goof around and take the edge off.  They don’t take themselves too seriously.  You need that sort of leadership in today’s hypercompetitive, super-fast-paced global markets where everyone’s stressed out to the max.

The opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits.  A challenging work environment where they can push the envelope, take risks, and grow.  A place where management has faith in them, at least to the extent that it’s warranted by their capability and potential.

Free food.  Don’t ask me why, but when it comes to free food and drink, especially decent free food and drink, employees get downright giddy.  One company I worked for had fresh fruit in the morning, one of those automatic espresso machines, and beer and wine in the fridge to take the edge off those late night sessions.  Very cool.

Management that actually knows what it’s doing.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes to think they work for idiots.  When the Peter Principle is so evident that employees think they’re more competent than executive management – and they’re probably right – I guarantee that’s not a happy place to work.

A little appreciation.  Yes, being paid what you’re worth is huge, no doubt.  But when the job is done and it was a job well done, a little public acknowledgement goes a long way.  Look at it this way.  Employees want bosses to tell them what they did wrong in private and what they did right in public.

Feel free to send this list (anonymously) to your bosses.  You never know, right?

Steve Tobak, This article first appeared on Fox Business here.  Reprinted with permission of the author.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hospitality hardworking  managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

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