Hotels are the last bastion for conservative grooming policies although I have seen many traditionally conservative Hotel companies become more flexible over time.
I have to admit that although most people, (okay, probably everyone I know), would describe me as fairly conservative as well, I too have become more “open” to relaxing some of the grooming policies that I once held sacred.
I’ve always had a policy of meeting every single applicant during the interview process. Not that I didn’t trust my department managers, but rather that I liked to meet everyone that was potentially going to work at the Hotel.
I felt that it was important that every team member know the General Manager, and hopefully, got a sense of me during our conversation, as much as I hoped to get a sense of them.
I also liked to be that last opportunity to judge their service ethic, see whether they exuded that sense of service that you look for in every employee.
On one occasion, I found myself travelling quite a bit and we were in need of a house person. The need was quite immediate and I got a call from a relatively new Director of Human Resources asking if we could bend the rule on this occasion to help out the Housekeeping team.
She advised me that in my absence, the Director of Operations had met the candidate, as had the others you would expect, and references were excellent, etc...
We agreed to move ahead and also agreed that I would meet this candidate, to fulfill the other part of my personal mandate, upon my return.
I returned a week or so later, inquired if the young man was on duty, and once confirmed that he was, I asked what section he could be found so I could go and add my welcome.
Imagine my surprise when I approached the young man, who upon hearing me, turned his head to expose his pony tail dangling from the back of his head like a shampoo model.
I contained my shock and then went to find the Director of Human Resources and asked her what the @#%$ she thought she was doing hiring someone with a pony tail?
Apparently, at her last Hotel, with another Hotel company, pony tails were acceptable, and she had “assumed” that our grooming policy was as liberal and understanding.
And that, is how pony tails became acceptable in that Hotel company. Precedent was now set and the clock could not be turned back. With one flick of his pony tail our company grooming policy was changed.
That said, I have to say that he was a very tidy, polite, well-mannered, well groomed young man and he quickly established himself as one of our best employees.
And I came to realize that the world had not come to an end, although an era certainly had.
What about you? What’s your tolerance for longer hair, piercings, tattoos, and the like on hospitality employees? Where do you draw the line with what’s acceptable?
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