Would you expect your employees to ask you to write a book upon handing in your resignation notice? Well, that’s exactly what happened to our webinar speaker Monika, the managing director of the Yasuragi AB part of Nordic Hotel & Resorts, NCHG, and the writer of the book “Put Your People First”. During our last webinar, she shared a few of her best practices with our audience and some tips on how everyone can embark on the journey of putting their people first. She also discussed the possible benefits of the people first approach.

What changes did Monika bring to the hospitality industry?

We’re all familiar with the saying that the customer is always right and should always come first, but is that really the truth? Putting the customer first can bring a lot of trouble. This is when good management practices can help, and what’s more are necessary.

Since the mass tourism occured in the 50s, giving orders down in rank has been the choice for the most companies. Monika recognized this to be one of the main challenges and started changing the system established between employees higher in rank and those on the first lines of defense, who are directly in contact with customers. She believes that you should always trust people, at least until they prove you otherwise and that you can’t approach every situation with fixed policies.

Given the fact that the hotel industry is pretty tough ground for establishing this approach, she had a lot of useful advice to give. We tried to sum up what she shared with us that day in the next few lines.

Put your people first – 5 tips on how to implement this approach

  • Start small, then go into the specifics

Start with yourself. Start by making yourself available to your employees. And start by believing that you can do a lot. Most leaders want to do good but can’t see what they are doing wrong. By making yourself available, your chances of doing the right thing drastically increase.

  • Talk and go with an open mind

People have the need to be understood. It really is that simple. Ask them what their day has been like so far, have lunch with them. It might seem small, but the thing about little things is that they eventually add up and lead to outstanding results.

  • Treat all employees equally

Treating your management differently isn’t a good practice. Having different policies for management to the ones you have for the rest of employees is not something Monika does at her hotel. She believes that the same rules should apply for everyone — from the practice that all the employees wear the same clothes to everyone being included in the recruitment process.

  • Advocating for happiness does not mean you can’t complain

On the contrary. Doing a good job makes us happy, feeling like you add value and are appreciated. And when there is room for improvement, we should talk about it.

  • Trust your employees

The so-called front-line workers often carry a lot more information and power to solve some situations than the top management could ever even imagine, simply because they are dealing with customers on a daily basis. That’s why we need to support them and make them feel like they are trusted. When you give employees the authority, the management doesn’t have to take care of it later on.

This is when HeartCount comes into play. We ask everyone how they’re doing and go on from there with the data we collect. With the right people who have insights into how employees feel, you can do so much. Then we can go on and solve the problems and change for the better.

Benefits of putting your people first

The equation is rather simple: happy employees lead to greater customer satisfaction, which ultimately results in company success. Other benefits of creating a happy work environment include lower absenteeism and higher productivity. By focusing on employees, we will also make everyone else happy, but don’t forget that there is no quick fix. This is a long haul process and onboarding everyone might take a while, but the benefits make it worthwhile.

Interested in hearing more about this topic? Head over to our youtube channel and watch the recorded webinar. We are excited to hear your opinion!