In the second of a series of columns exploring best practices in the operation of integrated resorts, industry veteran Niall Murray explains the importance of creating an exceptional work environment.
An exceptional work environment in an integrated resort (IR) is one where the team member genuinely feels welcome, safe, comfortable, at home, valued, trusted and respected as a member of the team. When team members feel this way, they experience high levels of satisfaction, will be more productive, provide unmatched guest service, stay in their job and will not be easily lured away by offers from IR competitors.
WHY CREATING AN EXCEPTIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT IS CRITICAL FOR INTEGRATED RESORTS
In my previous article for IAG, titled “Hire Power – IR Recruitment Best Practice & Processes”, I highlighted the importance of ways to identify, screen, filter, profile, audition, evaluate, rank and select the best available team members, with the aptitude and attitude most suited for each position. These recruitment best practices and processes ensure we have the right team members in the right positions, providing ultimate levels of service to exceed guest expectations and achieve optimal performance and bottom-line results.
The best team members will be drawn to and stay with companies with the most attractive overall wage and benefits package and reputation as an “Employer of Choice” with an exceptional work environment.
LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT IS CRITICAL TO CREATING AND MAINTAINING AN EXCEPTIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT
Creating an exceptional work environment in an integrated resort involves far more than providing team members with a list of benefits posted on recruitment sites. The desire and commitment to create an exceptional work environment must be part of the DNA of the IR, embedded in and flowing from the Mission, Vision and Values, and must be fully embraced and lived by leadership and team members from top to bottom. It will not come to life if it is simply written down but not clearly defined, continuously communicated, implemented, measured, controlled, rewarded, improved or lived, day in and day out.
If creating and maintaining an exceptional work environment is not taken extremely seriously from the top down, at all levels of the IR, it will never come to life, it will not persist for long or may disappear very rapidly, along with team member morale, performance, team and guest satisfaction and bottom-line financial results.
It has been a long-held belief in the hospitality industry that “if you take care of the team members, they will take care of the guests and the finances will take care of themselves.”
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING AN EXCEPTIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT?
Every member of the IR, from top leadership to front line team members and outsourced service providers are responsible for creating an exceptional work environment. How each member of the team works together, communicates, supports and respects others impacts the work environment. This is extremely difficult to accomplish in an IR with thousands of team members; however, it is possible. It must start with hiring the best people at all levels of the organization by using the IR Recruitment Best Practices and Processes discussed in my “Hire Power” article.
With the right people who possess the right attitude and aptitudes in place, IR exceptional work environment best practices and processes can be implemented company-wide. The exceptional work environment will help attract the best team members and ensure that those selected are welcomed on-board, treasured, cared for, nurtured, developed and ultimately retained in the long run.
PUT GOOD PEOPLE UP AGAINST A BAD PROCESS AND THE BAD PROCESS WILL WIN EVERY TIME
Many IR operators will say they have all aspects of best practices, and more, in place. That may be true, however in my experience, many IRs have badly designed, poorly implemented and uncontrolled processes and practices in place, and as a result, they are ineffective. Far too often, top leaders do not understand the importance of team member satisfaction, an exceptional work environment and the overall impact on the bottom line. Many top IR executives understand the cost of everything but not the value of the establishment and maintenance of an exceptional work environment. Instead, they consider its implementation unnecessarily costly and that it should be the responsibility of the HR Department. This is a common and critical mistake.
A guy I know once said, “Success as a Senior Executive in the IR business is all about sincerity. Once you learn how to fake that, you’ve got it made.”
Unfortunately, this joke appears far too often in reality when it comes to creating an exceptional work environment. Often IR senior executives delegate best practices and processes to HR and others, telling them to go make it happen and only to call if they need some extra help or to hand out team member awards. That just won’t cut it in these challenging times.
A stand-out exception to this is Rob Goldstein, Chairman and CEO (until recently President and COO) of Las Vegas Sands Corp, who since 1998 has been deeply involved on a daily basis in creating, maintaining and developing an exceptional work environment. In addition to numerous other team member related activities, such as satisfaction survey follow-up sessions and award ceremonies, Mr Goldstein has long held weekly “coffee with the President” sessions to hear team member concerns directly, allowing him to communicate openly and take appropriate follow-up action.
Mr Goldstein leads from the front in making it clear that it is every IR leader’s responsibility to ensure an exceptional work environment. The results speak for themselves.
In Part 2 of “Creating an exceptional work environment”, to appear in the October 2021 issue of IAG, Niall will outline his 20 top IR exceptional work environment best practices and processes.