Tips for Motivating Your Housekeeping Staff in 2021 and Beyond
To say that times have been difficult in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic would certainly be an understatement. Especially when it comes to hospitality and the uncertainty that people working in this industry have had to face.
Even before the pandemic, housekeepers, who are at the heart of every hotel operation, have been chronically undervalued, and not just in terms of compensation.
For anyone familiar with the hotel industry and housekeeping work, it is not hard to understand that providing proper motivation is a huge challenge when managing a housekeeping team. The good news is that small gestures, as long as they are sincere, can go a long way towards making your staff feel appreciated and respected.
In the hospitality industry, a motivated housekeeping staff often equates to a higher standard of service and, in turn, greater customer satisfaction. Conversely, a lack of motivation can cause a ripple effect, resulting in a lesser quality of work across all service segments and departments. A lack of proper motivation is also one of the main reasons behind high turnover rates in hospitality.
With that in mind, here are some tips housekeeping and hotel managers can follow to boost morale and increase their housekeeping staff’s productivity and motivation through positive reinforcement and support.
Give Housekeepers a Chance to Learn New Things
By offering your employees a chance to learn new skills you are not only turning your workforce into a better-skilled one, you are also giving your employees a chance to grow with your company. The employees who take these opportunities by the horns and build their skill sets quickly could potentially turn into future managers and supervisors.
This then gives you the ability to do three very positive things for your business with just one new program; support the growth of your employees, hire from within for managerial positions, and improve your retention rates.
Investing in your employees is never a bad idea because it not only motivates them to work harder and learn new things, it also gives you employees that are significantly more knowledgeable and skillful than they were when you first hired them.
Give Them a Voice
In any business, hospitality included, it’s essential to give your employees a chance to share their opinions. Make sure that they know that they are allowed to make comments and give suggestions related to work processes, the work environment, work relationships, and anything else that matters to them without being punished for it in any way.
Many employees fear speaking up and telling management what they think. That’s why housekeeping managers need to vocally and openly encourage staff members to speak up if they have anything constructive to say.
The hotel housekeeping staff is directly involved and acquainted with the ins and outs of the entire operation because many hotel processes begin and end with them. If anyone has spotted weaknesses in the hotel staff’s workflow and areas that need improvement, it’s them.
Listening to them and having them point out things that should be improved. Encourage them to make proactive suggestions to both increase their motivation and improve the quality of your hotel’s offer once all of the best suggestions have been implemented.
Introduce Objective and Transparent Performance Measurement
When it comes to measuring the performance of your housekeeping staff, it is vital to be as objective as possible. A measurement and evaluation system that only keeps track of the number of completed tasks and mistakes made is not an accurate one and certainly not a system that will keep the hotel housekeeping staff motivated.
Data such as the number of rooms cleaned and the number of errors reported should be correlated with data such as average workload, number of guests per room, and other relevant data that can provide managers with a clearer and more objective picture of the work being done.
In addition to more objective key performance indicators (KPIs), it is also important to make the process more transparent. Housekeeping staff should be aware of what is being measured and how their performances are being graded. The factors that determine their performance scores and how this data correlates to their evaluations should all be things that your staff are made aware of as soon as they are onboarded so that they will know what to expect.
When staff members know that managers are doing their best to be fair and objective in reporting on their performances, it inspires and motivates employees to work harder to earn better evaluations. A lack of transparency and objectivity can lead to housekeeping staff cutting corners and trying to find ways to cheat the system since they aren’t being presented with any real guidelines that define what is truly expected of them.
Reward Good Work
Rewarding good work ties many of the things we have been talking about together. When rewarding employees who are constantly rising to the occasion based on the objective and transparent goals that you have set for them, you are motivating them by showing them that their work is valued and appreciated.
As for the actual rewards, what you’re going to offer is up to you and your possibilities. If your hotel has a spa or organizes day trips, you could offer vouchers to your best-performing housekeeping staff, or coupons for partner services if you think that your staff would enjoy the reward more if it’s not taking place at the same property in which they work.
Financial bonuses are never a bad reward either, just make sure that they both fit within the constraints of your budget and are significant enough to be appealing to your staff.
Remember how we talked about giving your staff a voice and asking them for their opinions? This would be another great way to do so. If you’re not sure what type of awards they would appreciate for a job well done, ask them directly whether in person or via some type of employee survey.
Increase Their Wages (If Possible)
Let’s be completely honest, the best reward is always an increase in pay. Like most workers, hotel housekeeping staff perform the job because they need to make money in order to support their families and make a living. That’s why, in terms of motivation, money is a huge motivator, if not the biggest one, most often.
COVID-19 has obviously been devastating to the hospitality and tourism industries, which makes most hotel housekeeping staff members happy to even have a job a year into the pandemic. Plus, many managers might not even have a way to offer pay increases to their staff right now with guest numbers at all-time lows.
However, when better economic times do arrive, and they will, it is important to regularly and incrementally reward your staff with increases in wages. Naturally, wage increases should be performance-based, because if you are offering higher wages to everyone who sticks around, regardless of the level of work they are performing, you are not motivating anyone.
Make sure that those who are performing at a high level are rewarded so that they can set an example for staff members who might be inspired to step up their performances after seeing that putting in the effort does truly pay off.
Provide Equipment and Technology
Old, outdated, and low-quality equipment that creates more messes than it cleans up can demotivate even the best-performing hotel housekeeping staff.
As mentioned previously, providing your employees with new tools and the opportunity to learn new things can be a motivating factor for them and will serve your business in the long run as well by providing you with better-skilled employees who are able to perform their jobs more quickly and efficiently thanks to their ability to work with the latest and most effective housekeeping equipment.
In 2021, it would also be malpractice to not have some type of technology implemented that helps your housekeeping staff work better. Housekeeping software and apps are obviously great for housekeeping managers for keeping track of their properties, but they can also motivate staff by making their tasks clearer, streamlining processes, and eliminating outdated processes in order to decrease their stress levels and make their jobs easier.
Housekeeping software provides staff with incredibly useful tools like digital SOPs, where procedures are structured and available by departments, tasks, or positions, so the staff can have an easier time finding what they need to complete the tasks. The software can also serve as a knowledge base that can be accessed by staff via smartphones to answer any of their questions at any time.
Most software of this nature also includes housekeeping checklists to make it much easier for staff to keep track of their work and report on the tasks that they have completed.
With such great technology available today that makes the jobs of both hotel managers and their staff much easier and more transparent, it’s very hard to find a good reason not to get on board with some type of housekeeping software in 2021.
Show That You Value Them
Housekeeping staff members are often very undervalued and underappreciated, not just by their employers, but by guests as well. When a guest walks into a clean room, not many think about the people that were responsible for making it that way. The housekeeping staff is the least visible department of your operation since they usually do their work when no one else is around and wait until the guests leave their rooms to get to work.
It’s hard to feel motivated if you feel invisible. And while you certainly can’t change the job and make it more customer-facing, as a hospitality manager, you can make a concerted effort to make sure that you are recognizing the job that your housekeepers are doing.
Show them that they are valued by telling them on a regular basis. Praise them in company emails and in front of other staff. Your housekeeping staff is constantly behind the curtains; giving them a moment to shine in the spotlight now and then can go a long way towards showing them that they are appreciated.
A motivated staff is one of the pillars of a successful hotel. Hygiene and tidiness rank high on the list of criteria guests use when evaluating a hotel or any other hospitality establishment, so it’s clear that investing time, effort, and money into motivating the housekeeping staff can only pay off in the long run. It also creates a healthier, happier work environment for everyone involved in keeping the guests satisfied, which should, in turn, lead to happier guests.
Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts in this process and that improving and maintaining employee motivation, productivity, and satisfaction is a process that truly never ends. Handing out a couple of coupons and raising a few salaries is not going to do anything for your hotel and its staff in the long run.
That’s why it’s important to make systematic changes and implement long-term strategies towards not just increasing motivation temporarily but sustaining it.