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Conference reports @en - October 2, 2006

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Chronology

October 2006

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Print Human resources,

Clients and employees: Treat them the same!

Though managers move heaven and earth to create a memorable
experience for their customers and encourage brand loyalty, what
do they do for their employees? As a matter of fact, they should be doing
the same thing. In today’s world, human resource management is a
considerable challenge with a complex set of issues. Managers should
reflect on their style and ask themselves the following question: “Why
would an employee want to stay with my organization?”

On September 28, 2006, the Quebec Tourism Human Resource Council (CQRHT)
held its sixth day-long conference on tourism human resources, entitled
“La main-d’oeuvre: de la gestion à la séduction” (From
Managing Employees to Attracting Them). Two speakers explained the
importance of motivating and encouraging loyalty among one’s employees,
particularly in light of today’s economic context: there is an expected
shortage of workers, competition for employees with other sectors is
increasing, staff turnover is costly for businesses and, within a few
years, those in the labour market should have their pick of jobs.

“What do you find attractive, motivating or loyalty-inspiring
about your/an employer?”

A panel of “happy” employees spoke about their work experiences in the
tourism industry (Orford Arts Centre, Publications LCR, Mer et Monde
Écotours, Station touristique Duchesnay, Trois-Rivières
Tourism and Convention Bureau, Cage aux sports, SkiBromont.com, Fairmont
Queen Elizabeth). Their responses to the above question included the
following points:

  • A job that suits my interests
  • An environment that enables me to grow and develop
  • Stimulation, training and signs of trust help one become a better
    employee
  • Someone who listens and gives me positive feedback about my work
  • Trust and empowerment
  • Sincerity
  • Motivating, varied tasks and team work
  • The atmosphere created by the office and the team; a flexible,
    open-minded manager
  • Contact with members of the public; a chance to welcome them and have
    the satisfaction of teaching them something
  • Feeling appreciated
  • A sense of pride in representing the company

Consistency between the front office and back office is vital

How many managers throw all their efforts into satisfying their
customers, only to neglect their employees? Out in front, everything is
gleaming and luxurious while sometimes, behind the scenes, employees are
abandoned to cramped quarters.

Respect for one’s customers must grow out of respect for one’s employees
and managers must use a consistent approach with both. After all,
employees represent the company’s image and are stakeholders in the
success of the customer experience. Employees are not managed like
numbers, tasks, processes or machines. In fact, they often make the
difference that takes service to the next level. And they need to feel
their actions make a difference.

Not easy to be a manager in today’s world

The changing profile of the work force (a mixture of baby-boomers and
Generations X and Y) has altered the workplace. Managers must be well
acquainted with these different types of workers because different
generations do not seek, value or appreciate the same things.

Baby-boomers look to their supervisors for leadership, while members of
Generation Y would prefer that the boss play the role of coach or
consultant. Baby-boomers are comfortable with the traditional corporate
culture (company loyalty, respect for hierarchy, structured
communications, etc.). Gen X and Y workers, on the other hand, want
autonomy and a way to achieve personal goals, innovate and share ideas.
For the latter, supervision consists of a discussion or exchange among
equals rather than the traditional format of a boss giving orders.

Salaries may retain employees, but they do not develop loyalty

Long-time staff or loyal staff – is it just a question of semantics? Not
really, because retaining employees means keeping them in their jobs by
providing attractive working conditions and benefits (often monetary)
without necessarily influencing their work performance or job
satisfaction. When you develop employee loyalty, however, you provide job
satisfaction and make your employees want to stay with the organization.
Enhancing employability (see the table below) is the most powerful tool
available to managers to ensure loyal employees.

Salaries attract employees, salaries retain employees, but salaries do
not create loyal employees. Salaries may work in the short term, but it
takes more than money to motivate staff. In fact, employees ranked salary
fourth in the list of factors that encourage loyalty, after motivation,
challenges and goals, and training.

Motivation is part of “new management”

Motives are a collection of needs and aspirations that an individual
tries to fulfil, while motivation creates the necessary conditions for
the individual to satisfy these needs and aspirations. In fact, managers
motivate their employees to find the motives for doing a good job. And
how is this done? Motivation requires specific actions, words, techniques
and attitudes from managers.

There is no magic spell. Instead, there are any number of simple gestures
that one must take the time to do (see table). Too busy running things?
Why not delegate certain tasks and take the time to truly fulfil your
role as a manager. You can either take the time to listen to your staff
and ensure they are happy at work (and consequently more productive and
efficient) or, you could waste your time constantly having to engage in a
costly hiring process and manage the resulting loss in efficiency and
productivity. The choice seems pretty clear.

Even departures should be managed. When an employee leaves, follow a set
procedure:

  • analyze staff turnover by breaking it down into several different
    factors (job categories, gender, age, seniority, etc.)
  • identify reasons for departures
  • act transparently in dealings with work team (explain reasons for
    departure)
  • maintain ties with departing employee (organize farewell lunch, send
    company newsletter, invite to company events)

If employees are well supported when they leave, the company’s image will
be enhanced both in the eyes of the person leaving, and in the eyes of
those who stay.

Sources:

– Quebec Tourism Human Resource Council (CQRHT). “La main-d’oeuvre: de la
gestion à la séduction,” 6th day-long conference on tourism
human resources, September 28, 2006:

  • Dubois, Didier. “Cessez d’attirer – fidélisez!”
    workshop-conference.
  • Drolet, Muriel. “La mobilisation des personnes au travail. Le
    rôle du gestionnaire,” workshop-conference.
  • Panel. “Qu’est-ce qui vous séduit chez votre/un employeur,
    vous mobilise, vous fidélise? Des employés heureux au
    travail nous parlent.”
 

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