Are you the person in your organization who seems to inspire trust? Are you known as the empathetic and trustworthy person who associates come to with workplace issues that may be sensitive in nature? Do you pride yourself on keeping a confidence while facilitating corporate change?

Usually, your associates will come begging confidentiality and they’ll need to know that that is exactly what they will receive, so long as it doesn’t involve anything outright illegal. This element of trust can leave any manager in a precarious position, yet it is worthwhile in an organization where hotels may be spread from coast to coast and employing a multitude of personality types for supervisory and GM roles. Moreover, a culture of honest communications is essential for reducing employee turnover and increasing productivity.

Crucial here is also the development of a sense of transparency where not only do associates feel comfortable bringing their issues to their supervisors, but managers can also openly express what decisions have been at the corporate level without any political distortions deemed necessary to maintain relationships. Transparency is a fixture of the modern workplace, and it behoves you to find ways to foster it within your hotel culture.

If this ‘trustworthy person’ does not happen to be you – the ambitious hotelier who actually allocates time to read op-eds instead of running on autopilot – are you confident enough to use this ‘trust agent’ to your advantage from time to time?

I have worked many times with extremely confident general managers who have even used training sessions to bow out gracefully and leave the room, thereby allowing their associates to ‘vent’ about issues that affect morale, productivity and service. These strong and confident leaders welcome the information received in these informal sessions to improve working conditions and associate relationships.

Then it isn’t long before associates stop going to an outside source, such as human resources, and start trusting their supervisors instead. Such managers like this also know that the information relayed to HR is simply an opportunity to welcome change and to start building an environment of respect so that the ‘open door’ will be their gateway to a successful career. Nine times out of ten the managers who choose this road do not generally need HR to mediate a second time.

So, do you create a work environment where associates feel comfortable in speaking out about any and all issues? Or is this only something in your head and the reality is that you have helped to foster one where fear of retribution overpowers honest and open communication?

Sometimes you should not concentrate on the answers but on the questions you should be asking as a strong confident leader. As such, here is a list to help guide you towards creating a culture of trust in your hotel, for which I’ll leave the answers up to you to decide, based on the above introduction, what is the best course of action.

  1. Do your associates trust you enough to realize that if they communicate openly and earnestly at any level in the company their future will not be damaged or in jeopardy?
  1. Do you help associates feel that the work they do is actually significant in the grander scheme of things?
  1. Under what conditions do you delegate responsibility and are you personally comfortable in delegating authority?
  1. Do you involve your associates in the decision-making process?
  1. Is training and development a central part of your strategic plan?
  1. How do you show your staff that you value them and appreciate their work?
  1. What procedures are in place to reward the kinds of behaviours you want to see repeated?
  1. Have you defined your company’s core values (at least 5) and do your corporate executives demonstrate these on a daily basis?
  1. How much are real, honest-to-goodness fun people having at work?
  1. If you ask your associates to take risks, do you embrace their failures as learning experiences?
  1. Do you really believe your associates are capable of being fully empowered and, if not, do you understand that you could be at fault?
  1. When an associate makes the decision to please the guests rather than please you, are they praised or reprimanded?
  1. Do you survey your staff to find out how they really feel about their working environment as well as whether or not they really have the tools they need to fully take care of their guests?
  1. Do you orient your associates to who you are – to the heart and soul of your company, your goals, your vision, and your values – so they can join you and not just work for you?

Remember, if we want our associates to create more value in your hotels for your guests, you need to create more value in the workplace for them – it’s really that simple!

About Lizz Chambers

Lizz has over 28 years of industry experience that includes broad-based sales and marketing expertise in multiple segments of the travel industry. Currently, she leads Newport Hospitality Group’s Leadership Development team. Lizz is also a member of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, The Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers and is a Certified Hospitality Administrator and Certified Hospitality Educator with American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Educational Institute.

You can reach Lizz via email at lizzc@nhghotels.com or you can call her direct office line at 757-221-6830. To learn more about Newport Hospitality Group, please visit their website at www.nhghotels.com.