The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Takeaway notes from Ritz-Carlton

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So even if you weren’t there at the recent Conference on Fair Employment Practices last Tuesday, you might have read some of our coverage of the event. Some of the stories which we wrote about include  Acting Minister for Manpower Gan Kim Yong’s keynote speech, investment bank UBS’s take on diversity during a downturn, and even a heated discussion about whether Singapore should subscribe to the policy of protectionism and retrench foreign workers before its citizens.

But I thought was one of the most interesting discussions of the day was Ritz Carlton’s president and COO,  Simon Cooper, talking about the value (and $$$) of employee diversity and what it means to the hospitality company. (Look out for an exclusive interview with Simon Cooper in the April issue of Human Resources magazine!)

Here are some  of my takeaway notes from Simon Cooper’s speech:

  • Two of the most important traits that Ritz Carlton looks for in its employees (which they refer to as Ladies and Gentlemen) are ‘self-esteem’ and ’empathy’.
  • The company regularly holds events (such as a women leaders forum held in Singapore) which is an avenue for employees in under-represented demographic groups to come around and discuss issues that they face in the company.
  • Ritz Carlton’s five key success factors are listed in a pyramid order. And from the top, it follows the order of (1) The Ritz Carlton mystique (2) Employee engagement (3) Guest experience (4) People and service excellence and (5) Financial performance .
  • Employee engagement levels and customer service levels are linked. Fully engaged guests spend more money and stay for longer periods of time, Ritz Carlton found.
  • One of the statements on Ritz Carlton’s employee engagement survey is:  I have a best friend at work.
  • Function and purpose of the job are two different things, especially when jobs (such as making beds and opening doors) may seem mundane and tedious. In order to get more from their employees, Ritz Carlton gets its ladies and gentlemen to see that they are contributing to more than just a function of their job.
  • In times of a downturn, it’s important to communicate, communicate, communicate. Especially since employees read the newspapers and would know what is going on in the world anyway.
  • In addition to the daily briefings the company has, Cooper sends out a podcast averaging around twice a month.
  • Cooper can only count the number of employees the company has retrenched with two hands. That’s because the company cross-trains employees and redeploys them to other functions.
  • Ritz Carlton also promotes a ‘Boomerang programme’ – where they hire employees and women who have left the workforce and want to come back to the company. And there are advantages of doing so, Cooper said, because for those who have left the company and joined their competitors, many have new knowledge and new ideas of doing things.
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Written by Human Resources

February 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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