Liz Smith-Mills is an independent hotel consultant and Expert Advisory Council member for P&G Professional. With over 35 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, she has worked predominantly in 4 and 5 star properties in all hotel departments, specialising in housekeeping, training, mystery guest inspections and assisting with new openings.

It is no secret that motivated hospitality employees result in a better workplace; when workers are more engaged, guests tend to leave having had a positive experience. But that’s not the only benefit. A report by the Harvard Business Review revealed that businesses who take care of employees can expect to see up to a 31 per cent increase in productivity and 37 per cent rise in sales. Ensuring employees feel supported, valued and inspired in their workplace will pay dividends – both in terms of employee retention and commercially.

I know first-hand the role the housekeeping staff play in hotel success. I often like to say they are the backbone of a business. Unfortunately, many feel undervalued and underappreciated. Brexit’s uncertainty has introduced additional recruitment and retention challenges. This means that supporting employees and improving wellbeing and morale is even more important and will go a long way to not only improving turnover, but to helping bolster culture.

I can’t stress enough the business benefits of looking after your housekeeping staff and, like many things in life, the little things mean a lot. Here are a few easy steps hospitality businesses can take to improve the working environment (and perhaps your bottom line too):

1. Appreciation Events

Host simple and regular events for housekeeping teams to show your appreciation and recognise hard work. Often they’re not receiving recognition from guests so your acknowledgment and praise is vital. Such events provide a forum for public acclaim whilst allowing team members to build relationships and promote comradery. When staff feel valued and have friendship and respect for one another, they will work as a better team.

2. Hire for Attitude, Not Skill

This is an approach many organizations are adopting. Ensuring a new employee fits within the existing team is of upmost importance. Having a positive attitude and genuine desire to help an organization succeed is paramount. It’s possible to train someone on how to use cleaning equipment or to help them develop skills – it is less simple to adjust someone’s attitude.

3. Develop Incentives

Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for their hard work? When there is something extra to work for, there’s added motivation to do well. Budgets don’t need to be significant – single incentives like gift vouchers, meals on duty, and flexible start and finish times are great ways to show employees you care. In addition, many people are motivated by receiving good training and being mentored. In a recent survey of UK hospitality staff, 85% said they would like to receive mentorship.* Talk to your staff about the kind of rewards that they would value and you might be surprised how achievable they are to deliver.

4. Provide the Right Tools for the Job

Additionally, with the right equipment, proper training, and the many professional products available, it’s possible to get sparkling results efficiently and with less effort, which can lead to higher job satisfaction.

Simple to use products, like those in the P&G Professional range, include clear instructions with icons and symbols to streamline training to help ensure they are used correctly. The Flash Professional system includes multi-purpose products for ease and efficiency, such as the Flash Professional pH Neutral Floor + Delicate Surface Cleaner, Flash Professional Disinfecting Multi-Purpose + Glass Cleaner, Flash Professional Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner, and Febreze Professional Fabric Refresher. Accurate dosing means cleaning staff can safely dispense the exact amount of product needed with ease.

To learn more about ways businesses can engage and support employees, P&G Professional has partnered with UKHospitality to host a webinar where a panel of experts from the hospitality industry will debate the importance of investment in staff for business success. Sign up at ukhospitality.org.uk to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to build engagement and rewards into company culture and ask the panel how to achieve a positive work environment.

To learn more about P&G Professional and it’s professional cleaning systems, please visit www.pgpro.co.uk.

*research completed by CODE Quarterly in June/July 2018 among 527 UK-based hospitality staff.

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