In Part 2 of his deep dive into creating an exceptional work environment for integrated resorts, Niall Murray guides us through his Top 20 best practices and processes.
For an integrated resort to create an exceptional work environment it requires the development, implementation and continuous improvement of a series of best practice systems, processes, policies, procedures and standards.
An overall approach to creating an IR Exceptional Work Environment involves designing processes and best practices that take care of team members’ needs and therefore provide a healthy balance for mind, body and soul. By doing so, the IR becomes far more than just a place where team members work and draw a paycheck.
Here are my Top 20 IR Exceptional Work Environment best practices and processes.
FOR THE MIND
01 ORIENTATION, TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT (T&D)
The world’s leading IRs provide team members with a comprehensive orientation that introduces them to the beliefs, philosophies, culture, practices, policies and procedures of the IR. In addition, all leaders attend a Leadership Orientation where Leadership style, practices, standards and expectations are clearly defined and commitments to it are made. A detailed 30-60-90 day departmental training, evaluation, assessment, testing and certification process follows. Upon successful completion of this process, team members are fully certified. A follow-up orientation is held upon completion of the 90-day onboarding process to confirm the team member is comfortable, fully trained and ready to perform at optimal levels. Team members receive a minimum of 120 hours of training per year.
02 MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING
Services are often provided confidentially to help team members cope with the mental stresses and strains of life.
03 TEAM MEMBER CONCIERGE
Services are provided to assist team members with their daily lives. These include dropping off and picking up laundry and dry cleaning, a car wash and valet, banks and ATMs, and convenience stores.
FOR THE BODY
04 TEAM MEMBER DINING ROOMS
Created by top F&B designers to match front of house dining experiences and provide a wide selection of nutritious, quality menu items to suit all tastes and dietary preferences, 24/7. Team members are offered one hot 3-course meal per 8-hour shift with unlimited beverages and healthy snacks for breaks. The best IRs offer dedicated quiet rooms, relaxation areas, wifi stations and TV rooms.
05 TM CHILDCARE CENTERS
The best IRs provide in-house childcare facilities that are heavily subsidized, highly
vetted and secure. Team members drop off their child on the way to work, visit them during breaks and collect them when their shift ends. The convenience and peace of mind that a facility like this brings can be life changing.
06 HEALTH CARE, MEDICAL, DENTAL AND VISION BENEFITS
Leading IRs provide comprehensive coverage for team members, their partners, dependents, and in some cases even parents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most Irs have provided free tests, shots or incentives to get vaccinated. However, the best Irs provide health services and screening on a continuous basis, with access to in-house medical staff and clinics.
07 TEAM MEMBER GYMS
Allow on-site 24 /7 access, free of charge to team members.
08 TEAM MEMBER HOUSING AND SUBSIDIES
Leading IRs provide heavily subsidized staff housing or monthly housing allowances.
IRs will often pay relocation, transportation and moving costs to expatriates, either partially or fully, to relocate or repatriate team members.
10 TEAM MEMBER PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION
Free shuttle buses to and from designated parking, staff accommodation or designated locations to the place of work are standard for the best IRs.
FOR THE MIND AND SOUL
“The #1 reason why an employee leaves an organization is their relationship with their direct supervisor.”
11 TEAM MEMBER RELATIONS TEAMS
These are highly trained and experienced HR representatives, each assigned to specific departments and sensitive to the cultures and languages of their assigned team members. It is their role to understand exactly what is going on within their workgroups, uncover challenges, counsel, mediate and help resolve all team member relations issues that arise. They actively interact with all team members on all shifts. This process is extremely powerful in creating and maintaining an exceptional work environment.
12 COFFEE WITH THE PRESIDENT
The head of Team Member relations organizes and facilitates weekly open-discussion meetings between the IR’s President and groups of Team Members, who are encouraged to freely express their feelings and raise any concerns or issues. None are off limits, minutes are taken, follow-up action plans are initiated and a log of on-going resolved and unresolved issues are distributed IR-wide. This process gives Team Members the opportunity to speak directly with their company’s leaders, ensuring they feel listened to and producing strong results.
13 TEAM MEMBER MORALE, MOTIVATION AND REWARDS
Leading IRs continuously spend lots of time, money and energy on pep rallies, Team Member recognition programs, seasonal and themed events, outings, picnics, holiday parties, birthday celebrations and anniversaries to help boost morale and ensure that team members feel part of the IR family.
14 TEAM MEMBER COMMUNICATION
Top IRs provide in-house TV, with roving reporters providing regular updates, interviews, short videos and soundbites all broadcast 24/7 on screens located strategically throughout the heart of house corridors, staff dining and break rooms. A Team Member monthly newsletter is packed with news, updates and fun facts to keep everyone engaged.
15 IR LANGUAGE
Thoughts turn into words; words turn into actions and behaviors. Leading IRs use language specific to their properties to help define the culture and create an exceptional work environment. Team Members are expected to use certain words and phrases in all interactions, such as Heart of House rather than back of house; Team Member rather than employee; challenge rather than problem; and guest rather than customer.
16 TEAM MEMBER SATISFACTION SURVEYS
The IR team member satisfaction survey and follow-up action planning process is of critical importance to creating and maintaining an exceptional work environment. Most IRs conduct employee satisfaction surveys that are developed and administered in-house, are poorly written, not-validated, ineffective and are not followed up. The best practices for creating an excellent IR Team Member (TM) Satisfaction Survey and Follow-Up Process are outlined below:
- It is essential that the survey questions are relevant, tested, validated and follow best practices. TM Satisfaction Surveys built upon knowledge and best practices derived from leading research, which helps determine the best questions to measure TM Satisfaction and intention to stay with an organization, are highly effective. Modifying these questions to suit your IR by adding a small number of customized questions, an open comments section, and specific workgroup and supervisor identifiers can lead to a very powerful and accurate survey instrument.
- It is critical that the TM satisfaction survey administration process is implemented with the utmost of accuracy, confidentially and integrity to ensure team member participation, confidence, trust, buy-in and belief in the process.
- Team Member Satisfaction surveys should be conducted every 9 to 12 months.
- Each department with more than 6 team members, and each leader with more than 6 direct reports, should receive a TM satisfaction report, score and summary of comments.
- All departments and leaders are required to obtain a certain score, such as 85% or above.
- All departments must implement follow-up action plans. Those scoring less than the required minimum must work with team member relations in facilitated live feedback with their teams to discuss issues, explore solutions, develop and implement corrective action plans.
- All Leaders must implement follow-up action plans. Those scoring less than the required minimum must participate in Executive Coaching sessions and follow an Individual Development Plan to address issues identified, comments made and implement a corrective action plan to achieve improvement. Most leaders make sufficient improvements following coaching.
Correct implementation of Team Member Satisfaction Surveys allows the IRs leaders to identify issues early and take focused, targeted corrective action.
17 BEST / GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR AWARDS
IRs with the most exceptional work environments prove it to the world by applying for and winning “Best Company” or “Great Company to Work For” awards in their industry, jurisdiction or country. These awards are held annually, are highly competitive, involve detailed submissions, inspections, compliance with best practice criteria, judging, voting and winner selection. External examination and award systems help to keep the IR honest with itself and ensure that it is performing at or above the level of its peers and as an employer of choice.
18 UNION VERSUS NON-UNION IRS
Most IRs are unionized to some extent and they work extremely well. The unions and the IR leadership team work together to create the most exceptional work environment they can. The union is in the business of representing members and protecting their rights in return for dues. Non-union IRs are not anti-union, they are pro-team member and believe that if they implement exceptional work environment best practices and processes, provide exceptional leadership, have direct open communication and excellent team member relations, then there will be no need for team members to have union representation and pay union dues.
19 STANDARDS TO CREATE AN EXCEPTIONAL WORK ENVIRONMENT
All IRs strive to develop, communicate, implement, measure, control and continuously improve standards focused on delivering guest satisfaction. However, leading IRs have developed comprehensive leadership standards that help ensure the creation of an exceptional work environment. For example:
- Leaders are expected to meet with their team a least once per quarter for two-way communication to discuss and address team member issues.
- Leaders are expected to achieve a TM Satisfaction Department Score and Individual Leadership Score of at least 85%.
- All team members are expected to treat each other with honesty, respect and integrity.
20 WAGE, SALARY AND BENEFITS PACKAGE
It is very important to emphasize that the best IRs create an extremely competitive and compelling overall wage/salary, benefits, bonus and perquisites package, provide an exceptional work environment and become recognized as the “employer of choice” in order to attract and retain the best team members.