Why the Four Seasons is one of the 100 best companies to work for
Fortune Magazine?recently listed?Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts?as one of the ?100 Best Companies to Work For? ? that?s 15 years in a row that the hotel group has received this honour from its employees, and it has a lot to do with their approach to their employee care programme: ?only those who feel valued can add value.?
The Four Seasons hotel group has been so successful because of its attitude towards its staff ? managers pay attention to employees, employee contributions are recognised, employees are made a part of the decision-making process, and they?re kept informed on what?s going on in the business.
At the Four Seasons, employees know that the hotelier places their own happiness on par with that of their guests. Nothing creates a team bond like being part of a ?we? ? not an ?us? and ?them?.
Enriching the experience of guests
According to Kathleen Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts:
Among the many accolades Four Seasons is fortunate enough to receive, those that stem from our employees are always the most meaningful. There is nothing more rewarding than being recognised by our people, who themselves deserve our gratitude for constantly creating new ways to welcome and enrich the experience of our guests.?
In their 86 properties around the world, the hotel group is known for pioneering innovative services, amenities, and experiences that meet the needs of travellers seeking the epitome of luxury. Christopher Hunsberger, Executive Vice President of Product and Innovation says:
Our employees have an innate understanding of the luxury hotel guest and their specific needs. One of the most precious commodities for travellers today is time, so our people are constantly thinking of new ways to ensure that every minute spent at our hotels is rewarding, productive and memorable.?
The 15-minute menu
Recently a team of employees at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston initiated what?s now a company-wide service.
Recognising the need for quality room service meals in a hurry, the team set about to establish a 15-minute room service menu, offering a selection of creative and delicious dishes. Extremely well received by guests in Boston, the 15-minute menu is now available at all Four Seasons hotels around the world, each executed with local flair ? a resounding success.
Nick Mutton, Executive Vice President of Human Resources had this to say:
Grassroots innovation is possible when you have a group of like-minded employees working toward the common goal of service excellence. Our practice of hiring people based on attitude before skill enables us to find people who are genuinely interested in serving others and dedicated to finding new ways to impress.?
Recruiting the right people who are passionate about service and thrive in a team environment is obviously key when it comes to excellence in the hospitality industry. An employer like the Four Seasons, who is progressive and generous in terms of investing back into their workforce will reap the benefits of content, motivated, and well-equipped employees.
8 keys to successful teams
In?8 keys for successful hotel work teams, Chuck Conine, managing partner of Hospitality HR Solutions, shares his 8 steps to an energised work environment?
- Pick a winning team.?If a hotel has a sales challenge it might assume sales managers should be tasked to solve it. What could work better, however, is bringing creative high achievers from various departments together and asking them to bring? 10 ideas for discussion.
- Focus on the prize.?Groups of all kinds get hung up on group dynamics, worrying about a group member who talks too much, for example. Moving the focus back to the work team?s goal will help individuals as well as the team keep their eye on the prize.
- Encourage creativity.?Define goals generally to leave room for creative solutions. Encourage brainstorming and random comments. Design the work team?s ?space? using comfortable furniture and a more relaxed atmosphere.
- Banish most rules.?Work teams don?t need many rules to function. For example, does one person always need to be the note taker? If everyone is encouraged to keep his or her own notes, the group can compares notes, and a better outcome is more likely.
- Say ?yes? to most ideas.??That will never work? is not a phrase for winners. Allow everyone on the team to hear yes, and follow that with, ?tell us how we can make your idea work.?
- Use loose-tight leadership.?Group leaders should resist the temptation to set time limits or to saddle work teams with older, office-based concepts that by nature encourage compliance rather than creativity and free thinking. If it?s necessary to get the team refocused, do so deliberately, and then withdraw to see whether the team goes back to work with its eye once again on the prize.
- Personalize rewards.?A meaningful reward goes a long way to energizing a team member. Poll team members in advance as to what rewards would mean the most.
- Finally, don?t be bashful.?Multiply! As more teams are spread out around a property, the greater the likelihood an overall esprit de corps among employees will prevail.
The Four Seasons has obviously embraced these principles, which is clearly why it?s a privilege to work for this top employer!