Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Labour Relations – Out With the Old, In With the New

The topic of “Labour Relations” has been on my mind of late.

If you’ve been following my Blog for any length of time you will have noticed several articles, in the last month, on the topic of unions, their impact on service, and the question of their validity in this era.

I’ve long thought that even the term “Labour Relations” is out of date.

What do you think of when you hear the term?   

For me, it conjures up memories of stories of labour disputes, protracted and adversarial contract negotiations and other negative examples of a typical relationship.

In my opinion, there is currently no “relations” within the labour sector, so why do we refer to it as Labour Relations?

If we’re going to have successful relationships with the people that we work with, union or not, management, hourly, whatever, it’s time to look at this area with fresh eyes.

I think, for starters, a more appropriate label would be; Relationship Management, not Labour Relations anymore – Labour Relations is outdated and out of touch w reality.

After all, everything, and I mean everything in this business is all about relationships.  

As I’ve said before, I firmly believe that the 4 most important words in the hospitality business are; it’s all about relationships, so why wouldn’t that extend to the relationships that we have with our employees?

Managers, all managers, need to take a new look at the relationships that they have with their employees and remember a few simple facts along the way:

Manage your relationships, all the time, not just when you need them.

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  

I love that quote.  To me, it reinforces the fact that it isn’t about what you know, how much experience you have in this or any other preceding position that matters to your employees, or at least not as much as it matters to them how you treat people.

Show your employees how much you care and watch them line up beside you. 

You need to know your people, what makes them tick, what motivates and inspires them.

Show them how they make a difference.

Be real, be sincere, be genuine:

- Dogs can smell fear, and,
- Your employees can smell bullsh**.

Be present and listen, really listen.

Thank people, often, and be specific.  (Show appreciation)

Labour Relations, or in this case Relationship Management, is everyone’s job, and it’s time that this important topic was elevated and prioritized within every service-based hospitality business.

Statistics show, repeatedly, and consistently, that happy, engaged employees are significantly more productive than other employees, and, those same happy and engaged employees are also much more likely to extend their happy attitude to your guests, a reflection of your company’s commitment to extending exceptional guest service.

Doesn’t everyone win when this happens?

It’s going to take a commitment though.  It’s going to take bold leadership to establish this as a priority within your business and to stick to it, even when it’s harder to do so.

It’s always harder to do the right thing, but, as I’ve said before, if it was easy, anyone could do it. 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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