Human Resource Management in the Hotel Hospitality Industry
Authors Frank Go and Mary Monachello (1996) note, "effective management of human resources is required in all functions of hospitality in order to cultivate teamwork and sustain a competitive edge" (Go and Monachello, 1996, p.8). Because good management rests on both knowledge of human resource management and skill to implement effective human resource strategies, it is essential that those in the hotel hospitality industry fully understand and implement strategies for good management in order for their hotel to succeed to its highest capability. The purpose of such management is based on the need for high performance level and dedication of hotel employees. Despite the various resources and supplies that a company may require, human resources is actually the most important resource because without a labor force, no business can be done (Milkovich, 1997, p. 2).
The success of a hotel depends on the satisfaction of its customers, and the satisfaction of its customers is based on the competence and leadership of its staff. How then is a staff ingrained with the standards of protocol that are needed to ensure that hotel operations run as smoothly as possible in order to assure that all guests become repeat guests? This task is left up to human resources management. In order to provide effective management, certain plans must be made for achieving desired outcomes. Further, certain control systems and quality management techniques are crucial to both success and motivation within an organization. In viewing these techniques and applying them in conjunction with my own past employment experiences, it becomes clear as to what steps are needed to ensure success in this field as well as what should be avoided.
In order to assess whether a management control system is functional or dysfunctional, one must first understand that basics of the term control system. A management control system is a system that gathers and uses information to evaluate the performance of different resources like human, physical, financial, and also the organization as a whole considering the organizational strategies (Otley, 1994, p. 290). In terms of human resources management, Anthony and Young (1999) note that management controls are the only tools that managers use in implementing desired strategies, and these controls can either function well after implementation or fall by the wayside (Anthony and Young, 1999, p. 16). In order to assess whether control systems put in place are functional or dysfunctional, one must look for specific red flags in order to address them before they become irreparable.
Analyst R. Chenhall (2003) notes that there are several symptoms of dysfunctional control system that managers must be on the lookout for including: lack of balance, inability to influence change, acceptance of relative success rather than absolute success, sub-optimization of departments, ignorance to the root cause of problems, acceptance of "I'm sorry" over "I should have known" mentality, segmented morals, segmenting employees by class, and a broken behavior-consequence chain (Chenhall, 2003, p. 143).
As seen in looking at these symptoms, it is clear that a dysfunctional control system can alter the success of any organization. The goal then is to implement functional control systems set in place by management teams. Functional control systems are important to both new organizations and organizations that are looking for longevity and success within their field. In looking at my past place of employment, management did an excellent job at adjusting control systems in order to assess problems and fix them before issues got out of hand. For example, the recent economic downturn led to decreased patronage of our establishment. However, management discovered that similar establishments in the same area were still doing quite well despite the economy.
Though our management obviously had no control over market conditions, it did have control over how our establishment conducted business and how we as an establishment reached to market variations. In times of economic uncertainty, success for an organization depends largely on how well hotel management and human resources management deals with fluctuations in the marketplace and in patronage in a manner that educates and leads the staff in hopes of fully satisfying the needs of customers.
To deal with our hardships, our management reached out to establishments around us to gauge an idea of how they were maintaining their success. It was discovered that their success was not from throwing out their old control models, but in adapting them to fit the current situation and in informing the staff of each new maneuver. In adapting this policy of openness and honesty about situations all the way from management to part-time employees, our staff was able to operate in a manner that was more organized and unified than it had been. While the economic outcomes on our establishment initially rattled employee morale, this new policy of open communication allowed the staff to remain motivated, which brought about significant changes within the establishment as far as customer satisfaction and return patronage.
Often in looking at the hotel industry, establishments are given a generic corporate model to work with, which some managers do not alter to fit their own personal use. Often, control models are handled with technology in terms of inventory, reports filed, stock, etc. In developing a control model that is distinctive from other models, human resources management must bridge the gap between human resources and information technology. Hotel marketing coach, Neil Salerno (2010) notes that the function of human resources management in generally administrative and common to all organizations, and the effective management of one's "human capital" is an increasingly imperative and complex process (Salerno, 2010, p.1). How management chooses to handle their human capital is spelled out in their control systems and is subjective from establishment to establishment.
Essentials of Quality Management
In looking at the essentials needed for quality management, one must first understand the concept of quality in terms of the hotel hospitality industry. Author Davis Woodruff notes that the "definition of quality by the ISO 9000 standard is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements, while other experts define quality as fitness for purpose" (Woodruff, 2010, p.1). No matter what definition one uses the goal is the same: fulfill customer needs while turning a profit.
There are certain essentials that are needed in order to establish and maintain quality management. First and foremost, the needs and expectations of customers and stakeholders are to be taken into account in all decision making and procedures. While it may seem counter-intuitive to make decisions in terms of how individuals outside of the organization may react, this essential tool will give managers a broader view of how situations need to be handled. Though at times an organization may seem to be an isolated unit, in understanding how those outside of it may be affected upon dealing with the organization allows management to prepare for situations and interaction they might otherwise not have to deal with.
Further, Woodruff notes that other essentials are needed in terms of clerical management including: methods to measure processes, measurements of quality and process performance in order to guide improvement because "measurement without action is a waste of time and resources," establishment of a process for continual improvement as well as monitoring for effectiveness, and management involvement in the system (Woodruff, 2010, p.2).
Techniques for Quality Management
As seen, the hospitality industry is a service-oriented industry, and since services are "produced and consumed in real time, they are inherently variable -- from customer to customer, from provider to provider and from time to time for the same customer and/or the same provider (John, 2003, p. 24).
Author David Hoyle notes that the basic techniques of quality management are threefold. First are the six M's, which Hoyle notes are: management, methods, materials, measurements, milieu (surrounding environment) and manpower (Hoyle, 2007, p.105). Next are the seven wastes: overproduction, excess inventory, waiting time, unnecessary transportation, unnecessary movement, over processing or incorrect processing, and defects. Finally Hoyle notes an eight-step problem solving method: establish a team, describe the problem, develop interim containment, define and verify the root cause, choose permanent corrective action, implement corrective action, prevent reoccurrence, and recognize and reward the contributors (Hoyle, 2007, p. 105).In abiding by these tenets, human resources management in the hospitality industry are provided with a road-map in terms of handling management issues that may arise.
Finally, management should be ever-present in the quality management system in terms of employee implementation. Rather than bombarding employees with rules and codes regarding quality and then sitting back and assessing from an ivory tower, management must be actively involved in the system and must implement thorough reviews of said system in working meetings with staff. Woodruff notes that these meetings should be interactive and multi-faceted rather than "dog and pony shows" that are often found in meetings called solely to meet a quota (Woodruff, 2010, p.2).