Creating an UpLIFTing Environment for Employees

Not only do hotels need to keep their amenities up-to-date to keep guests coming back, but they also need to provide an experience guests would not have at another location. Guests want to feel welcomed when staying at a new hotel, and that goes deeper than keeping up with brand standards.

High staff morale shows guests exactly how a hotel differs from the competition. Whitney Peak Hotel, located in Reno, Nev., recently launched an upLIFTing Employee Program. The program provides coworkers with the opportunity to express their appreciation for each other through LIFT cards that feature encouraging messages and keep workers motivated to keep up Whitney Peak’s standards. Lindsay LaFleur, team member at Whitney Peak, says, “We wanted to create something as unique and different as we are. Being the first non-smoking, non-gambling hotel in Reno creates a different kind of culture for us.”

That culture boosts morale throughout all departments in the business. There are eight variations of LIFT cards, each with a funny image depicted on the front and a blank back for personalization. Coworkers can write each other encouraging messages and explain why they are giving the recipient the card. The customization gives employees that push to succeed at work and is intended to lift spirits on difficult days.


With a large demographic of millennial workers, Whitney Peak realized that employees who are told they are doing well at their job tend to put more care into their work. LaFleur says, “We’ve actually found that it’s been pretty beneficial to go that route, rather than the monetary route. People seem to be more motivated when they get these fun cards.”

Millennials, according to Whitney Peak’s research, find motivational messages and encouraging incentives more enticing than bonuses. Staff members are more prominently involved when they know that other staff members appreciate their work. These incentives are not just given to employees by management—any worker throughout the company can give a LIFT card to any other employee on the premises. Whitney Peak also offers other incentives through management interdepartmentally.

Other generations are accustomed to the LIFT cards and have responded to the program just as well as the millennial group. When employees recognize the good their coworkers do for the company, the staff is motivated, positive, and genuinely wants to create a better business atmosphere. Guests can see how the staff is connected and want to return to a hotel that treats their staff just as well as they treat their guests.

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Robin McLaughlin is associate editor of LODGING.


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