And all through out the social networks one can read revolt phrases revolt in relation to tourism, where "loving your job” represents overtime work and unpaid hours… This is not what this article is about, nor for at TH2 we believe that remuneration is not the center of it all (although extremely important and valued). Let's talk about the impacts of a well-managed team, starting at the beginning.
What happened with the reputation of a job in tourism is not new and let's not point fingers at COVID for that infects something else, not profession's reputations. Particularly in the Portuguese scenario, the services professions in the areas of catering, travel/animation, hotel management and tourism in general suffer from the ailments that the salary scales stipulate in the labor code: they are low. In addition, the demand for working in tourism is immense: from training staff who must master 2 or 3 languages to the challenge of shift work and a lot of other points in between. And when everyone dreams about remote work and digital nomads, it's never been more real that a service job was actually tied to a physical location: serving a dish, serving a guest, whalewatching… it's not done online, no sir. It's very physical, very present. Does it mean that face-to-face work is “old-fashioned” or will it suffer the dogma and weight of being unattractive because it requires us to be stuck? None of this… requires that more than ever now managers understand these challenges and add them to the list of known challenges in tourism.
What do I want a Happy team for?
The question should be: do you have what it takes to work in this area… Mr Manager? Are human resource managers, administrators, bosses and other directors capable of managing people and considering organizational psychology as seriously and dedicatedly as they do with managing companies, finances, business objectives? Let's start by understanding how, in this activity, everyone is interconnected and dependent.
At a time when the reputation of employment in tourism is suffering depreciation and a bad reputation, it is important to work with teams. Even the good professionals in the sector take the opportunity to finally change industries completely, no longer being accessible and available for any area directly or indirectly connected with tourism. Personnel turnover is already an old theme in tourism and we knew that unemployment among tourism professionals would be a “no-time” because we are again passing through a phase of shortage of personnel to work in tourism. All these reasons are more than arguments for learning to keep and hold on to your team. Work it out, motivate it, and get serious about it.
And there is no matter more serious than remuneration. Forget the salary scale, the competitors or the minimum of what the law says it should be… Do the math and ensure you keep that job with the right person (because everything is replaceable in a company, except people). And it is expensive in time and in money to get a good professional. Emotions aside, pride aside and feet firmly on the ground on this taboo theme that is money. Do an intense-review through every department in the hotel or restaurant and see what you find? Sharp asymmetries? Poorly clarified contracts? Promised promotions? Put everything on the table and roll up your sleeves, because through communication we'll understand each other best. Ensure good-will and transparency in the contractual changes you need to make. Can't guarantee that every month you'll be able to pay wages without difficulty? Make a commitment part by part and once and for all implement that “incentive scheme” that is in the top drawer of your desk waiting to be taken into account. Design goals and involve your team in decisions. Nobody will find you less competent for that, quite the contrary...
So what about Happiness?
When we begin to plan the operation of the tourism company in a real and objective way, analyzing everything that needs to be changed and reinforcing what is going well, the staff motivation strategy becomes almost natural due to this transparent management. Staff happy with the work structure, staff who feels valued and important for participating and knowing “which side I'm at”. That means staff that more easily relates to the team, staff that conducts a sale best, staff that is more confident and optimistic , not to mention the respect they will develop for the team they work with as they (now) understand each role. Here are some tips that can contribute to that happiness:
- Going to work can be a good thing. Unlike the “weekend motto” that everyone lives in, with the "Friday on my mind”… let's bow and make an “ode” to work. Also because we do it on the weekends ;) Is the workplace decent, respectable? Is the staff space interesting to have good facilities? Is a welcoming business culture promoted or is a good sense of hospitality just expected to be with guests and not with those at home?
- Be there for your team, don't just know your name because it comes on the sign on their chest. Regular meetings should not only serve to set goals and plan work, but also to talk openly about the difficulties of each one: in adapting to a new position, in the accumulation of tasks, in learning a new role or even personal reconciliation with all of this . Recognize small and big wins and publicly emphasize your contributor.
- Good companies regularly offer prizes and baskets with treats. Yes, it is known that the hotel industry lives a lot from exchanges of stays and services between partners, but we are talking about an additional effort to show appreciation or even to promote life beyond work life: a subscription to a gym, a ticket to the theatre, a basket with out-of-season wine and cheese, are some of the treats that everyone likes to receive and feel special for it. It is a “thank you” to materialize.
- Connection, not isolation: with the effort that it implies, for the benefits are countless. Teams and departments are interconnected rather than isolated, and it will require organization so that they communicate, breaking redundant and closed operating systems and old processes to give way to permanent learning for everyone, with patience and adapted to the rhythm of each one. for collective growth. Adopting a good working environment is an essential management part for this process aimed for anti-stress and anti-burnout.
- Training: not only because for the updating of working methods and training of personnel, with specialization or continuous training, but because it promotes the meeting of teams. And if your staff roll their eyes every time you propose training, it's because it wasn't challenging enough. Find out what topic(s) your team is interested in and assume that there are trainings that are complementary and may not be linked to the profession but serve to motivate the team and make it feel connected. Also assume that you cannot (or try to) please everyone. The beauty of a team is the same as an orchestra: each one plays a different instrument and has its valences and more or less prominence. New learnings promote self-esteem and personal fulfillment. If this does not happen, it is because you are not achieving “the new learning” of interest to the person (or the way of teaching was not the best)
- Uncomplicated and interesting Team Buildings: you don't need to spend your entire HR budget on an initiative. Develop them with your people as it can be just a pick-nick afternoon with football or a poker tournament. Ensure that the team wants to be present and that the meetings do not affect or hinder personal/family life. Whenever possible, involve them too.
- 5 Senses: it is an obsession with TH2 for guest service but also for teams. Is there ambient music that fills the space and adds ambience? Is the temperature of the space comfortable as are the staff's facilities? Is the cafeteria satisfying and creative or is the hospitality “only for sale”?
- Consultant for a day: get advice from your team and listen to their suggestions. Sometimes he doesn't express them for fear of reprisals, so he will have to win their trust and motivate him to give an opinion, so that he feels really valued and not exploited or even ridiculed. Invite them to rate a competitor restaurant and make a report, challenge them to present monthly 3 strengths and weaknesses of the hotel service performance for that month, etc.
Understanding that management of teams in tourism is a continuous work and not only peaks is certainly the starting point. Recognizing that we are not robots and that no matter how loyal we are to a sector or a company, we all feel the need to evolve or challenge ourselves, even those we think are "change-resistant". Falling in love with hospitality and tourism again requires a neutral and often critical delivery, for more than ever it has been proven that good tourism companies are more easily successful. And those are measured by the people ;)