This essay has four parts; First part is the introduction part, second part is the main body of the essay which have two parts. The first part is the assessment of the Human Resources (HR) challenges and issues faced by the hospitality and tourism sector which are; Rapid technological change, Recruitment, high labour turnover and the issue that Human resource Strategic cannot be measured. The second part of the main body of the essay will discuss how both hospitality and tourism sector need an efficient and motivated staff to deliver a high quality service to their customers and who can work together as an effective team. Within this discussion, staff categories basing frontline employees and their importance has been explained, different leadership styles and their roles on overall employees performance, empowerment and the importance of empowering staff, benefit of employee retention and the development of effective teams have been discussed. Third part is the conclusion and fifth part is all about bibliography.
Hospitality is a frequently used title for different sectors of the hotel and catering industry, and can be expanded to cover all products and services offered to the consumer away from home including travel, lodging, eating, entertainment, recreation and gaming (Knowles, 1998 p 3).
“Hospitality, is the act or practice of one who is hospitable, reception and entertainment of strangers or quests without reward, or with kind of generous liberality” (Merriam-Webster, 1913)
Generally, hospitality can be defined as washing people's shoes, going an extra mile on serving, helping and treating people kindly and friendly. To make people feel welcomed, good and relaxed from any kind of strange feeling/situation they have. Like tiredness from work when people travel far for business purposes.
According to the general definition adopted from the United Nation's tourism policy making body the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), tourism involves the movement of people from one location to another outside their own community. (Knowles, 1998 p. 1).
Generally tourism to me means the situation where people travel outside their community and stay more than one day in the destination place. In this world of globalization where the whole world has been like one village we have many tourists all over the world travelling from different places to different destinations. For instance African continent receives a number of tourists every year, Botswana many tourists visit to see Delta, In Zimbabwe to see Water Falls, in Tanzania to see and climb Mount Kilimanjaro as well as to see the attractive national parks. Also many people now days travel for business issues, studying and many other reasons. Another example is ‘giant telescope' that links London and New York, this was in Tower Bridge London last year 2009. It has attracted many tourists from inside UK and outside UK travelling to London.
Hospitality and tourism industries are two different things but integrating each other. People travel from different places when arrived to the destination places they experience differences and they demand a number of services such as food, drinks, accommodation and sometimes conference cervices. All these services are provided by the Hospitality industries.
First part: Human Resource challenges and issues
Rapid technological change
Development of technology where people serve themselves in different day to day service. This has lead to the need of let say a job done by ten people now it is done by 2 people because of technological machines. This is a challenge in the sense that, still human being is a resource companies have to depend on. This is because when machines get breakdowns many people miss the service they want on time which is fully of disappointment especially the moment they need it mostly. Example this is seen mostly in bank's ATM machines they get stuck and by the time no one around to help or advice. In Hospitality industry, people can serve themselves on Buffet and booking on-line but still human resource is important in monitoring to make sure everything goes well.
“The challenge of HRM then would seem to be how to recruit, deploy, develop, reward and motivate staff, leading to them being a source of competitive advantage” (Nickson, D, 2007).
Organisation and managers in the tourism and hospitality industry face real challenges in recruiting , developing and maintaining a committed, competent, well managed and well motivated workforce which will be focused in offering a high quality ‘product' to the increasingly demanding and discerning customer (Nickson, D. 2007 p. 2).
Recruiting right candidates has been a challenge as the nature of works in Hospitality and tourism industries are more professional on their own. Example Waitress/Waiter needs someone who is trained on setting tables and all manners in serving customers in hygienic service. Not any one can be picked and work as a waitress/waiter or any other position in these industries.
Labour turnover is becoming a big issue and challenge hospitality and tourism industries are facing. This is because of the nature of the job that they require students, youth who are always inpatient to stay long in one company. Also these industries cannot pay high salaries due to the nature of their business operation thus high turnover. It is a challenge for the companies to achieve low turnover at the same time ensuring wise employee retention. Employee retention which allows changing with the technology to deliver best and quality service.
Human Resources Strategic cannot be measured.
The performance and all activities carried on by human resource cannot be measured like it can be to other fields like finance and others. Here the only thing to be done is through screening and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of work particularly in meeting deadlines. This can be obtained through things like attendance records, time management, and reliability.
Career development and training
This is another issue with Human Resource, and it is a debate on whose responsibility to develop careers. Is it individual him/herself or companies to develop careers of their employees? Sometimes it is a challenge to the companies when they spend money and time to train employees and soon after, the trained employees leave the company.
The second part: How both hospitality and tourism sector need an efficient and motivated staff to deliver a high quality service to their customers
It is true that hospitality and tourism industries are sectors which need an efficient and motivated staff to deliver a high quality service to their customers as well as having ability to work as a team. This is because the two sectors deal with giving people service and the people given service need to be retained to come again and to become loyal customers. If they won't be treated nicely in such a welcoming way means they won't come again and if they won't come again means the business will decline as it depends to the daily arriving customers. So the big challenge these industries have is to maintain the number of guests checking in.
Also staff in these two sectors needs to have team work spirit so that they can help the company to grow in daily basis. This is because departments depend to one another and communication is the key point to make things happening. For instance, Receptionist of the hotel needs to know the status of the rooms all the time. Must know which ones are ready to sell and which ones are not and their status. Most of the time receptionist can get this information from housekeepers. So working as a team is very important in updating one another on what is going on for effective performance. Once there is communication breakdown among the group members things will get stuck somewhere somehow and affect the service delivering.
Also reservation people need to know the status of the room occupancy before doing any reservation. Therefore if there is no team working spirit among the staff you might find a situation where the receptionist is checking in guests to the rooms which are reserved already for other guests. So working together as an effective team among the staff in hospitality and tourism sector is very important.
After explaining the importance of working as a team among the staff members, the following is the importance of frontline employees (includes, receptionists, housekeepers, front office manager and all other managers) in high contact hospitality and tourism service encounters
Front-line employees are the people the guests meet firstly. Therefore if they are not qualified, it will bring down the business because all hospitality and tourism industries are struggling to make sure that their customers get quality and best service all the time and it becomes more advantage when it is their first time to the hotel. For example, a receptionist is seating watching something while the guest is standing waiting to be helped, this customer will be disappointed and he/she might never visit again this hotel. A good receptionist will all the time be aware on what is happening and sometimes she/he can walk outside the reception desk to help a guest who is coming in not to hang, to show the guest appreciation for choosing the hotel, this is what we call Hospitality, going extra mile serving people.
Also frontline employees are very important within the company because they are the one mostly responsible for handling thousands of what Carlzon (1987) called “moment of truth”. This according to him is the moment of contact between customers and the service providers (front line staff). This is the moment customers can be disappointed by failing to meet their expectation or satisfying them by meeting their expectations and sometimes service providers can exceed their expectations which will be better for the company as it retains customers (Carlzon, 1987).
Again, the moment customers arrive to the hotel, it is the good opportunity for the receptionist who are part of the front-line staff to influence the customer's perceptions of the service quality. And this can be achieved when service providers go an extra mile during the whole circle of the guest checking in, staying until checking out moments. According to Fitzsimmons, A. & Fitzsimmons, J. (2006 p. 197), “The often brief encounter is a moment in time when the customer is evaluating the service and forming an opinion of its quality”
Therefore front-line employees determine other services to be defined as good services if they give positive impression to the guests at first. This is because, the food served in the restaurant can be delicious food with an outstanding quality but if the service provider serves it having a negative attitude, lacking friendly welcoming, the customer will define the service as poor and she/he will not be satisfied (Kotler et al, 2006).
On the other hand, front -line employees are the ones who determine high occupancy in terms of rooms, whereby people get in touch with the hotel referring how firstly they have been treated, helped. This is very important because tourism and hospitality industries are industries which depend to customers arriving and the business does well when the occupancy in all areas is high. Having high occupancy depends on the staffs who directly serve customers particularly font-line staff.
Therefore it is very important and challenge to the Hospitality and tourism industries' management to ensure front-line staff are well trained with high communication skill as well as high knowledge in customer care service.
This is because the customer's perception of service quality is more directly linked to the morale, motivation, knowledge, skills and authority of front-line staff that are in direct contact with customers, than in the case of a product selling organization. Therefore the management should become responsive to staff rather than being responsible to their staff. This will help in managing customer satisfaction. (Mahesh, 1988, pp.10-11) Baum, T. (2006)
Leadership on overall employee performance
The employees of the company need to work hard effectively and efficiently to ensure high performance. In order this to be achieved leadership style must be very smart and sensitive to know what employees need. The reason for this is that, the leadership style operating in any organisation has close relationship with the employee's performance. If the leadership operating does not encourage cooperation with employees, automatically employees will develop negative attitude to their leaders and the company in general as a result will affect their performance.
Leadership is the key or central feature of any industry or organizational performance and therefore it is necessary for the managers to understand the nature of leadership and factors which determine the effectiveness of the leadership and the factors which determine the effectiveness of the leadership relationship (Corlett, S. & Forster, G., 2004 p. 254).
Leadership differs according to many factors including the nature of the industry and so there are different leadership styles. Many theorists have grouped them in three leadership style which are, Authoritarian, Democratic and Leissez-faire leadership styles.
Authoritarian leadership style
This is also called autocratic style of leadership. With this style only managers have say and so they only give orders and instructions to the employees who have little or no room for discussion or even giving out any explanation. Decision making and all company important issues like making policies, work relationships and tasks, planning and strategies towards the Industries objectives are exercised by the managers where employees have no say at all.
This has a negative impact on employee's performance because they just work complying the instructions given instead of working with commitment. In order to have high performance employees need to have commitment to their works as well as positive attitude to the company's they work for. This is never happen when the leadership style is authoritarian because employees are not given any chance in anything including decision making, this cause them unhappy and sometimes feel unmotivated which automatically will affect their working performance.
Democratic leadership style
This leadership style encourages efficient and motivated staff who can work together as an effective team because the managers are part of the team and the group members are part of the leadership functions where they are given opportunities in decision making and other important issues including determination of policies and plans and strategies towards the company goals.Therefore,“democratic managers recognize that they are not only leading but are also part of a team and that this requires the others in the team - the staff -to be involved in decision through discussion and explanation” (Boella J.M, 2000)
Democratic leadership style has positive impacts to the company's performance because people who are the workforce are happy, feeling motivated, feeling that the management cares about them and so they work with high commitment and positive attitude which automatically will lead them performing well. If I was asked to advice managers, I could advice them to opt this leadership style and in order to be good managers who can communicate well with the employees they have to consider that employees acquire new experiences and knowledge particularly on their working areas on the daily basis which they can also share with the management. Therefore managers do not have to ignore employees by seeing them as just employees. To me it is more rational if managers can understand that everyone plays great role on his or her own position and need to be valued. In hospitality and tourism industries, it is not a surprise to find the general manager attending guests by the reception office.
Referring this, managers are not supposed to rely on the use of their position as a means of exercising the functions of leadership rather they must have regard for the need to encourage high morale, involvement spirit and cooperation as well as a willingness to work so that the company can achieve the best results from subordinates (Corlett, S. & Forster, G., 2004 p. 267).
Laissez-faire type of leadership style
This is the leadership style where the employees are given authority performing the tasks on their own or i can say without any supervision. So the employees are responsible on whatever including some responsibilities that need to be handled by the managers.
This is good and has positive impacts on the performance because the moment this style is practiced in a company employees gain the confidence on their jobs and so they can work efficiently and effectively. This is done consciously by the management after observing and sees the employees can work on their own.
On the other hand this has a negative impact on the performance especially when some matters are beyond the employee's capability to decide and at the same time the managers are less concerned. For instance issues like complaints which need maintenance, employees can only report the problem but cannot solve that's why companies have managers. Maintenances need management to plan and budget for them not a receptionist or a housekeeper. So when the managers are less concerned and the employee has nothing to do it remains normal problems customers complain about, and sometimes it gives employees hard times with full of stresses that in one way to another cause low and poor performance. For instance the situation whereby the same customers visit the hotel and find the same problem, sometimes with the same receptionist.
“The first step in improving the performance of leaders is to build sufficient organizational capabilities to grow this important asset” (Hall, W.B. 2008 p. 137).
Managements must care about employees in all departments because if some are not directly meet and save customers they play part in supporting those who directly serve customers especially front line staff who are mostly responsible for the moments of truth. I like and I support Carlzon idea that, “If you are not serving the quest, your job is to serve those who are” (Carlzon, 1987 p. 4). This proves the truth that each person in each position plays a great role. This means, if one is a cleaner she/he plays great role of cleaning, who is a manager will seat in a clean and well arranged place comfortable to perform daily responsibilities. So all employees from all departments everyone with own responsibilities are interdependent and so every staff must be valued on his/her position. Good management is the one which take these into account and be the first one to respect and build an efficient and effective working team. Automatically employees adopt.
Leadership also play great role on overall employee leadership by creating environment that encourages the development of skills, learning and openness so that everyone belonging to the team can participate in the deployment of financial and human resources. Again leadership attempt to reduce employee dissatisfaction as it is related to employee's motivation, interpersonal behaviour and the process of communication which is very important to be effective within the working team members (Corlett, S. & Forster, G., 2004)
“Leadership is vitally important at all levels within the company, from main board to the shop floor. Leadership is the moral and intellectual ability to visualise and work for what is best for the company and its employees... The most vital thing the leader does is to create team spirit around him and near him, not in a schoolboy sense, but in realistic terms of mature adults...To be effective leadership has to be seen, and it is best seen in action” (Sieff, M. 1991 p. 133).
Empowerment is a management philosophy that allows work people to take on responsibilities that were once the prerogative of management. (Boella, J. M, 2000 p. 41).
According to Baum T. (2006), “Empowerment is a concept that originally comes from the notion that the individual can take charge of decisions within his or her own life, has, arguably, been hijacked by those more interested in its application as an organizational tool”.
Generally, empowerment is the situation where the people empowered get or gain the ability to do things on their own, if its work they become confident to perform responsibilities efficiently and effectively with less or no supervision.
Strategies of empowering employees
Organizations use different strategies' in empowering their staffs depending on the nature of the works. For example, in hospitality and tourism industries, according to Fitzsimmons, A. & Fitzsimmons, J. (2006), many senior managers believe that, people want to do good work and they can do so if given opportunity and to get the opportunity is to be empowered. For instance Service master, Marriott and Dayton Hudson, are one of the companies the Senior managers believe this and they have all decided to empower their staff through committing themselves to do the following;
Invest in training people as a main resource than on machines. This is very true because managers have to understand that, although technology is developing and changing everyday to the extent that human being works are replaced by machines still the human resource is the main resource to depend on. Therefore, in order to improve the quality of service delivered people need to have skills on the machines and they must be up to date according to how the technology changes. For instance currently in many hospitality and tourism industry there is use of OPERA system mostly in the front office. And as the technology change always in case there is another system which can be more useful than OPERA the company can still invest in training its employees. Trained staff can be given authority in different daily business operations.
Use of technology to support contact personnel rather than to monitor or replace them, consider the recruitment and training of contact personnel as critical to the firm's success and to link compensation to performance for employees at all levels.
Importance of empowering employees
When employees are empowered apart from being able to do good work as they wish, it helps them to be able to behave within the boundaries of working environment as a team where they lose any sense of individualism and selfishness which may affect working effectively as a team.
Empowerment as a key toll of any management makes employees confident in decision making. For instance, customer's complaints need immediate positive solutions. Therefore if employees can decide wisely before running to managers it is more important and potential to the company.
Labour turnover can be defined as the total number of leavers expressed as a percentage of the total number of employees in a department, unit and/or organization. (Boella, J.M. 2000 p. 166).
Employee retention means the situation where the employees stay working in a company for such long time unlike labour turnover where every time employees resign and the management find itself employing new people all the time.
Employee retention is very important as it is one of the major factors to reduce expenses the company might encounter. This is because if a company can retain its employee means it won't be spending money in recruiting and selecting of new employees. Also companies which have high labour turn over spend a lot of money to invest on the employees who for one reason to another works for the company for a short time. Example, company can send employees for training paying for their fees, transport and all other expenses including payments while absent at work, but the same employee can leave the company soon after. The company can benefit if this employee's knowledge can be utilized in the company's development and it can only be possible if the company can retain its employees.
Also most of the time having employees who have experience with the company is very important because they already know what is supposed to be done, what the company expects from them and such kind of things. This contributes to high performance as the company is having strait forward and focused employees. But when employing new people it costs company not only money but also time to train them until catching up with the system of the company.
It is also advantage to retain employees because instead of Human resources department being busy employing, will be busy in other development strategies and plans for the benefit of both the company and the employees. For instance improving and updating the company policies to match with the economic, social, technological and cultural changes for more and quality service delivery which is the key focus in hospitality and tourism industries.
Companies can retain employees through different ways including the following;
Bonuses, companies can budget for bonuses to employees according to the performance individually, in groups or departmentally. This can be done monthly or yearly referring to the company's policies. This has been one way companies can retain their employees. When they perform well they know and so by been given bonus, they feel motivated and encouraged that the company also care about them. For example, I ever worked with a hotel where employees strike and some terminate their contracts, the main reason was, for a continuous period of four months they worked very hard serving people for conference which brings a lot of money to the company, so they expected to be given something and by the time the company was not yet decided to do so, they lose patient and left their jobs. Although they were not right as the company was still in plan to reward them, but it make me lent that employees like to be appreciated when they do better.
According to Nickson, D, 2007, “The use of “retention bonuses” to influence employees to stay is one way of avoiding the development of a “turnover culture”.
Job rotation can also be the best way of retaining employees. This has been a best way in tourism and hospitality industries due to the nature of their jobs. Sometimes an employee can be tired with being a waitress for example but still need to work with the company so when changed to another department like house keeper or reception feel happy and so can stay and work. Also changing working environment from one department to another give an employee more exposure and interest of working, as he/she doesn't feel bored staying in one place. This is a good example I have seen LSC some employees today you will find her in registration office, tomorrow in the library. This is good and it is much better to be practiced in hospitality and tourism industries due to the fact that the service in these industries is unpredictable and it depends to the daily arriving guests.
Again the solution for employee retention mostly depend on the reasons that cause high employees turnover like low wages, working in poor and unsafe environment, poor management.
Some geographical and subsector areas, tourism and hospitality provides an attractive with high status of working environment, competitive salaries and good working conditions, which is obvious highly demanded by employees and it is good in maintaining low staff turnover (Nickson, D, 2007 p. 2).
This is very true to the companies that manage to maintain all those status especially it is applicable in big hotels and good example is Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok which is characterized by low labour turnover. On the other hand the issue of competitive salary still employees in many tourism and hospitality industries are experiencing low salaries. According to Boella (2000), this is because of the nature of the industry's operations which does not allow the companies to pay high salaries.
This has been the reason for staff turnover because everyone wishes to work with a company which offers competitive salary, therefore when they find another company offers more salary they are attracted and so it has been like life circle for employees in hospitality and tourism industries moving from one industry to another.
Everyone likes to work in a good and safe environment with a competitive pay at least equivalent to what they do. Sometimes, employees might not be satisfied with the low salary but enjoying their job and willingful to work only because the working environment is safe and attractive as well as if the employees within the company have good working relationship.
More over companies can retain customers by having company policy which encourages motivation to employees. Motivation can be through appreciating when staff did well, giving bonuses, paying them on time, listening to their problems, giving them opportunity to participate in discussions and in decision making, bonuses, rewards, promotion, internal recruitment to give priority to the staff.
Generally, there is no leadership style that can be used as a model to be practiced in all companies, rather it depends on different factors including the nature of the company, economic, social, political and cultural factors. So we can find leadership style differ from one company to another, place to place, country to country. Good leadership is the one which achieves efficient and motivated staff to deliver a high quality service to their customers and who can work together as an effective team. And this plus retaining customer depends on how employees are motivated in different ways, like, being empowered, appreciated when they have gone extra mile in service delivery, being promoted, trained, bonuses and those alike. Also Managers have to consider that everyone has a contribution to the company's growth everyone on his/her own position and so they have to be first ones to encourage effective working spirit among them as a result employees will automatically adopt, learn and grow in that spirit. And lastly, leadership has a big role on overall employee's performance. Leadership plays great role in motivating employees in one way to another.
Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/free-essays/management/the-hospitality-and-tourism-sector.php
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