Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office
Front Office Managers must be skilled at handling a diverse work force made up of people of varying ages, ethnic backgrounds, cultures and values. Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office Managers have to follow these procedures and concepts to effectively manage and develop competent staff.
Employee recruitment is the process of finding and screening qualified applicants to fill vacant positions for Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office. The process involves announcing or advertising job vacancies through proper sources, and interviewing and evaluating applicants to determine the best person for the job.
Internal Recruiting by Hotel Human Resource
Internal recruiting involves the transfer or promotion of current employees. Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office Managers have access to applicants who are familiar with the hotel and have proven skills. It includes cross-training, succession planning, posting job openings, paying for performance, and maintaining a call-back list.
- Cross-Training – It is the process of training employees to perform more than one job. Cross-training makes it easier for the front office managers to develop the employee schedules that include planned employee vacations and absences. It diversifies the employees’ skills, gives them variety and makes them valuable to the hotel. Cross-training may also lead to a wider range of promotional opportunities.
- Succession Planning – In succession planning, the front office manager identifies a key position and targets a particular employee to eventually fill that position.
- Posting Job Openings – When the front office posts job openings internally, it reaches a known applicant pool. Employees from other departments may want to transfer to the front office, or current front office employees may want to advance within their own department. The front office manager must make sure that the employee has the skills for the transfer or promotion, as well as a good work record.
- Paying for Performance – Employees are motivated to excel when they know the hotel has a wage program that rewards hard work and productivity.
- Maintaining a Call-Back List – Front Office management should develop and maintain a call-back list of employees and previous applicants with special skills and interests to assist future staffing.
Advantages of Internal Recruiting
- Improves the morale of the promoted employee.
- Improves the morale of the other employees who see future opportunities for themselves.
- Managers can better assess the abilities of the internal recruits, since their performances have been observed over time.
- The cost of internal recruiting is lower than that of external recruiting.
Disadvantages of Internal Recruiting
- Internal recruiting promotes “inbreeding” and often discourages innovative thinking.
- Internal recruiting can cause morale problem among those employees who were skipped over for promotions.
- Internal recruiting can have political overtones, some employees attribute internal promotions to friendships with managers and supervisors.
- Filling a gap in one department through internal recruiting may create a critical gap in another department.
It is a process in which Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office managers recruit individuals from outside to fill open positions. It may involve advertising, networking, temporary employment agencies, and employee referral programs.
- Advertising – Advertising may involve placing ads in newspapers, electronic media, hotel signs, hotel’s website, and various internet job postings. Advertising should indicate the job’s requirements, benefits, as well as the hotel’s work environment or culture.
- Networking – Networking involves developing personal contacts with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, business associates, educators and school counselors. These personal contacts can often lead to employment referrals.
- Temporary Employment Agencies – These agencies provide staff to fill a wide range of positions. Such agencies charge a higher hourly rate for temporary employees than the rate generally paid to permanent hourly employees.
- Employee Referral Programs – An employee referral program usually rewards current employees who refer qualified staff members to the company.
Advantages of External Recruiting
- External recruiting brings new ideas into the company.
- Recruits from the outside can often provide not only new ideas but news about how and what competitors are doing.
- External recruits provide a fresh look at your company, which sometimes reinforces the reasons current employees work for you. Consider the value of an external recruit saying such things as, “You keep your kitchen much cleaner than they do at XYZ company where I used to work,” or, “The helpful attitude of employees here certainly makes this a more pleasant place to work than my old job.”
- External recruiting avoids many of the political problems for Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office which is associated with internal recruiting.
- External recruiting serves as a form of advertising for the company as well and so reminds the public of your products and services.
Disadvantages of External Recruiting
- It is difficult to find a good fit with the company’s culture and management philosophy when recruiting externally.
- Internal morale problems can develop if current employees feel that they have no opportunity to move up in the organization.
- It takes longer to orient external recruits than it does internal recruits
Selection Process at Hotel Human Resource
Selecting the right person for a front office position should always involve the front office manager. An effective front office selection process usually focuses on a set of skills, attitudes and personal qualities. Proper selection of employees will help ensure that the hotel’s image and values are upheld in all guest contacts.
Selection Tools for Hotel Human Resource
Job descriptions and job specifications are important selection tools for Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office. A job description lists all the tasks and related information that make up a work position. It may also outline reporting relationships, responsibilities, working conditions, equipment and materials used and other information related to the position.
A job specification usually lists and describes the personal qualities, skills, educational background and experience a person needs to successfully perform the tasks outlined in the job description.
Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office managers generally evaluate job applicants by reviewing completed job application forms, checking applicant references, and interviewing selected applicants. Managers should check references to verify an applicant’s identity and claims about previous work experiences and skills. It may also be hotel policy to have a police record check and medical test conducted on all job applicants. This may be especially critical for positions like front office cashier, or positions involving close contact with guests or their children.
The interview process has mainly five objectives:
- To establish a basis for a working relationship
- To collect enough accurate information to make an informed hiring decision
- To provide enough information to help the applicant make a decision
- To promote the company and the work position to the preferred applicant
- To create goodwill between the hotel and the applicant
Interview Question Techniques
- A two-step questioning process is the most common technique used in interviewing. First, the interviewer asks for specific information such as who, what, when or where. The second or follow-up question seeks a more in-depth response – one that will tell the interviewer how or why.
- Asking the applicant for a list rather than a single response.
- Using direct questions to verify facts and cover a lot of information quickly. A direct question is also called a closed question which requires just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer.
- Asking indirect or open-ended questions or asking the applicant to make comparisons. Open-ended questions require an elaborate answer.
- Pursuing a specific subject in depth when a response seems unreasonable or unrealistic.
- Probing for additional information when an applicant gives partial response.
- Using short positive responses to encourage the applicant to continue talking such as, “I see,” or “Please go on”. Sometimes it may also be helpful to nod head in agreement.
- Using silence to indicate that the applicant should continue speaking.
- Suggesting sample answers when the applicant does not understand the question.
- Making comments rather than always asking questions in hopes of receiving varied responses.
The front office managers should score all the applicants and the applicant who scores the highest will be the best person for the position. After evaluating all applicants the manager should select and hire the best applicant. Once an applicant is selected and has accepted the job offer, the manager should inform other applicants that the position has been filled. Sometimes, an unsuccessful applicant for one position may be qualified for an alternative open position. If so, the manager should encourage the applicant to apply or should take the time to notify the other department manager of a qualified applicant. Managers should document all employment interviews including those who were not hired.
The hiring period begins when an employer extends an offer to a prospective employee. Hiring involves making all the necessary arrangements to prepare the recruit and current employees for a successful working relationship, including processing personnel records.
The three steps of making employment offers are extending the offer, negotiating the offer and completing the offer. Job offers should be extended in written to eliminate misunderstandings about the job title, job requirements, starting pay or work schedule. A candidate accepting the offer should sign the written job offer as evidence of his or her agreement with the terms of the offer. Once an applicant accepts an offer, supervisors should immediately begin preparations for the recruit’s arrival, including informing other front office staff about the new employee.
Processing Personnel Records
Processing new employees’ personnel records before they start work helps prepare them for their new positions. Uniforms should be fitted and name tags ordered for the employee’s first work day. At this time the front office manager or Hotel human resources division manager should also discuss time cards, pay procedures, house rules, reporting instructions and uniforms. Use of a checklist can ensure that all the points are covered.
New employees should be given an orientation when they arrive for their first day of work. A well planned and organized orientation helps new employees get off to a good start. Successful orientation programs often include a written agenda that the new employee can use as a reference. The orientation should include information about:
- The hotel – its history, reputation for service, names of key management personnel, plans for growth, company policies and chain information.
- The benefits – wages, insurance coverage, employee discounts, vacations and paid holidays.
- The working conditions – applicable training schedules, work schedules, breaks, meal periods, overtime, safety, security, employee bulletin boards and log books and social activities.
- The job – the tasks the job involves and the expected performance standards.
- The front office team – introductions to fellow employees, overview of the key responsibilities of each employee, and explanation of reporting structures.
- The rules and regulations – regarding smoking, entry and exit, disciplinary action, and parking privileges.
- The building – the layout of the building, the location of the employee entrance, locker room, employee dining room, uniform room, front desk, and other important departments. Front desk, reservations and bell staff should be shown guestrooms, dining rooms, recreation areas, and meeting rooms to understand the layout of the guest area.
This information should be included in the employee manual or handbook. Time should be set aside during an employee’s first day of work to complete all work related forms. Uniforms and lockers should be provided if they are a part of the job. New employees should also be given a tour of the entire property especially the guestrooms and the meeting rooms. The tour should include the work area, supply areas, first aid kits, restrooms and break areas. A tour of related departments will help reinforce an explanation of the workflow and need for teamwork. During the tour, the Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office manager should introduce as many fellow staff members as possible.
Management should ensure that all revenue centers are shown to the recruit. The tour should also point out the locations of the housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, accounting, and other important hotel departments. Time should also be taken out to introduce the new employee to key managers by Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office managers, especially the general manager and the rooms division manager, if they were not a part of the interview process. Such introductions can help make the recruit feel part of the team immediately. It also establishes recognition between management and staff.
One of the Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office manager’s major responsibilities is ensuring that the employees receive proper training. The front office manager may delegate the training job to department supervisor. The goal of training is to help staff members develop skills to do their jobs well. The following four-step training method provides the framework for training:
1.Prepare to train
2.Present the training
Prepare to Train
Preparation is essential for successful training. Before training begins, the front office manager must analyze the job and assess the training needs of the staff.
The foundation for training and for preventing performance problems is job analysis, which is determining what knowledge staff members must have, what tasks they need to perform, and the standards at which they must perform them. Job analysis involves three steps – identifying job knowledge, creating a task list and developing a job breakdown for each task performed.
Job knowledge identifies what a staff member needs to know to perform his or her job. Job knowledge can be divided into three categories – knowledge for all hotel employees, knowledge for front office employees, and knowledge specific to a position like a front desk agent.
A task list should reflect the total job responsibility of a position. Tasks should be listed in an order that reflects the logical sequence of daily responsibilities.
A job breakdown includes a list of required equipments and supplies, steps, instructions, and tips explaining how to complete a single task.
Present the Training
Using the job breakdown as a training guide, follow the sequence of each step in each job breakdown. For each step, show and tell the staff members what to do, how to do it, and why the details are important. As you explain the steps, demonstrate them. Encourage the staff members to ask questions whenever they need more information. Be sure to take enough time when presenting your training. Repeat the steps as many times as necessary.
Have trainees demonstrate each step of the task presented during the training session. Coaching will help staff members gain the skill and confidence necessary to perform the job. Compliment employees after correct performance. Gently correct them when you observe problems.
There are a number of things a Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office manager can do to make it easier for employees to carry skills over to the workplace after training.
There are a number of things a front office manager can do to make it easier for employees to carry skills over to the workplace after training.
- Continue Coaching on the Job. As a coach, the front office manager should challenge, encourage, correct and positively reinforce the knowledge, skills and attitudes presented during the training session. On the job coaching tips include:
- i) Observe employees while they work to ensure that they are performing tasks correctly. Let them know when they do something exceptionally well.
- ii) Make suggestions to correct minor problems.
iii) Tactfully correct employees when they make major mistakes.
iv)If an employee uses an unsafe procedure, correct the problem right away.
- Give Constant Feedback. Feedback is what employees are told about how well they are performing. Two types of feedback are positive feedback, which recognizes a job well done, and redirective feedback which recognizes incorrect performance and reviews how the employees can improve.
- Evaluate employees’ progress. Use the task list as a checklist to confirm that employees have mastered all tasks. Provide further training and practice for tasks that employees have not mastered.
- Get Employees’ Feedback. Let employees evaluate the training they received. This can help the front office manager improve his or her training efforts for them and other employees. Keep training records for each person who receives training. Track each employee’s training history and keep a copy of a training log in his or her personnel file.
Employee scheduling affects payroll costs, employee productivity and morale. The more cross-training that occurs within the department, the fewer staff required to perform the front office tasks. Cross-training provides front office staff with expanded job knowledge and a wider range of skills. The following tips are helpful for front office managers while developing staffing schedules:
- The schedule should be developed using the hotel’s business forecast. Front desk and uniformed service operations usually schedule staff based upon the number of check-ins and check-outs expected each day. The reservations office usually schedules staff based on when reservation traffic is expected. This may take some coordination with the sales department. For example, the sales department may have an advertisement in a print or electronic media, so someone should be scheduled at the hotel to take calls and enquiries.
- Schedules should be posted at least three days before the beginning of the next workweek.
- Days off, vacation time and requested days off should be indicated on the posted work schedule. Employees should be familiar with the required lead time to submit a vacation request.
- The work schedule for the current week should be reviewed daily in relation to anticipated business volume. If necessary, changes should be made to the schedule.
- Any scheduling changes should be noted directly to the posted work schedule.
Motivation means the art of stimulating a front office member’s interest in a particular job, project or subject so that he or she is challenged to be continuously attentive, observant, concerned and committed. A front office manager can motivate front office staff in many ways such as training, cross-training, recognition, communication and incentive programs with the help of Hotel Human Resource and Hotel Front Office.
One of the most effective ways to motivate employees is to train them. Training informs employees that management cares enough to provide the necessary instruction and direction to ensure their success. Effective training educates staff about performance expectations, required tasks and equipments.
Cross-training means teaching an employee job functions other than those he or she was hired to perform. It offers many advantages for both management and staff. For the employee, cross-training can offer an opportunity to acquire additional work skills, whereas for the management, it increases flexibility in staff scheduling.
Guest, managerial and peer recognition are strong staff motivators. Management should communicate positive feedback to staff as recognition for a job well done. Completed guest comment cards can be posted on an employee bulletin board especially those complimenting individual staff efforts.
Another popular form of recognition is an employee-of-the-month program. An employee qualifies for this honor by demonstrating extraordinary commitment to the front office, its standards and its goals.
Keeping employees informed about front office operations helps produce positive results. Employees who are informed about upcoming events tend to feel a greater sense of belonging and value.
A front office newsletter or bulletin can be an excellent way to establish and maintain formal communications. Articles included in such a newsletter might be job-related or personal topics such as:
- Job opening announcements
- Arriving or in-house VIPs and special events in the hotel
- Promotion, transfer, resignation ad retirement announcements
- New recruit announcements
- Performance tips
- Special recognition awards
- Birthday, marriage, engagement and birth announcements
- Upcoming event information
Excellent employees deserve special appreciation for the work they perform. An incentive program is one of the most effective ways to acknowledge staff members who excel in their work. A well-designed front office incentive program should:
- Recognize and reward exceptional staff performance
- Increase staff productivity
- Demonstrate commitment to guest satisfaction
- Promote staff participation in revenue and service improvement through suggestions for improvement
Rewards generally considered for incentive programs are:
- Commendation letters
- Certificates of appreciation
- Public photo display (with the staff member and general manager and/or front office manager)
- Recognition dinners or events
- Gift certificates
- Complimentary weekend packages
- Special parking privileges
A performance appraisal is also one of the most effective ways a manager can use to enhance motivation and morale. A performance appraisal:
- Provides each front office staff member with formal written feedback on his or her job performance.
- Identifies strengths and weaknesses in performance and provides plans and actions for improvement.
- Gives the manger and each employee the opportunity to develop specific goals and progress dates.
- Recognizes and rewards outstanding performance through possible promotions, wage increases and additional responsibilities.