. . . WITH A SMILE

I just got back from a nice 5 day vacation with my family in Boston.  My kids are growing up and the days of family vacations are rapidly coming to an end.  Then it is just the wife and me (assuming she doesn’t wise up and kick me to the curb).  But I digress.  Boston is one of my favorite cities.  Probably because it is so very different from Grand Rapids.  We stayed at a really nice hotel in Cambridge with a view of the Charles River and downtown Boston.

I’m always struck when I stay at a really fine hotel with the incredible level of guest service you get at these places.  Always a smile from the staff.  Always a warm greeting.  Always a willingness to help.  And yet usually they manage to do all this stuff without being overpowering. 

I don’t know why this surprises me.   I happen to have the privilege of representing three of the finest hotel properties in the state of Michigan.  Hotels that frankly I think are some of the finest in the world.  And even though I feel like I am part of the family at these fine hotels, I still get that same first class guest treatment.  I think we can all learn a thing or two from this guest service mentality.  So, how do they do it?  Well, they start by taking guest service really seriously.  The hotels I work with have pages and pages of guest service guidelines in their employee handbooks.  Guest service is practiced from the top of the organization on down.  And each manager that I have worked with has that same guest service attitude when it comes to their employees.   I’ve also been told that you have to understand that the guest is the reason you are employed not a distraction in your day.

So, if you are an HR pro or a member of management, who are your “guests?”  It has to be your employees right?  Not the boss, not the stockholders and not the customers.  These are people that you may rarely or even never see.  It has to bee the good old rank and file employee that is your “guest.”  Do you greet these people with a smile every time you see them?  Do you ask them how things are?   Do you offer to help?  And when they have a concern, do you listen?  I mean really listen?

Ask yourself this:  Are your employees what makes your job a pain, or are they what makes your job great?  Remember, without them, the company doesn’t really need you, now does it.