Showing Housekeeping Staff Appreciation

Housekeeping Times

Housekeepers are an integral part of the hotel industry, and employee appreciation is a professional form of endearment that not only boosts the morale of the workplace but also the quality of work being produced, with 91 percent of workers saying they feel motivated to do their best when they have leadership support. Madeline Chang, director of housekeeping at Aston Waikiki Sunset in Honolulu and director at large of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), explains why hoteliers should take a second look at how they appreciate their housekeeping staff.

How can hoteliers be better attuned to their housekeepers’ needs? Housekeepers are the eyes and ears of any operation. They have a direct impact on your guests’ experience, so it’s important to listen to them and hear the challenges or frustrations they might be experiencing. While you can create an open-door policy that establishes a channel for them to communicate with you, not all housekeepers will do that, so you should take the time to regularly walk the floors and speak with them directly. Hold daily morning briefings (which is a must not only for them but for me to set the tone for the day), carry out observations, get them to communicate their thoughts and suggestions, and make them an integral part of the operation. This buy-in from the management team and teammates is extremely helpful. Always keep them in the loop.

What are some ways in which hoteliers are already getting it right with housekeeper appreciation? The first step is just recognizing the housekeepers and letting them know that they’re doing a good job. The recognition should come everyday because there is always someone doing the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reason. I know from my operation, the leadership team understands the hard work that our housekeepers and utility persons carry out daily. They may not thank each and every one of the housekeeping team, but they show by acknowledging the good deeds that our housekeepers do through our recognition reward program. This means a great deal to our housekeeping team, since the award includes a letter of recommendation, a beautiful Hawaiian lei, $100 gift card, and the prestigious plaque which is presented at a very special luncheon attended by every employee of the property. It gives significance to their work and lets them know that someone cares about what they’re doing. So any hoteliers that take the time to communicate directly with housekeeping staff to say “thank you” are getting it right.

It really resonates with the housekeepers anytime you do something special for them, such as a housekeeping breakfast or events used to recognize star performers on the team, like International Housekeepers week. It’s a tough and extremely physical job, so also giving them an hour or two to break up the monotony of their day and have a little fun will keep them engaged and inspired.

What can hoteliers approve upon to show their appreciation? Celebrating housekeepers during International Housekeepers Week is an extremely easy way to show them you care. Just do a search for “housekeepers week” on Google or on your social media channels and you’ll see that it’s something that hotels around the world do. So use it as an opportunity to show them how important their work is to not only the success of the hotel, but to tourism in general.

I also think it’s critical that hoteliers recognize the significance of the housekeeping profession and provide resources for management to stay educated and knowledgeable on new products or techniques. Those new tools will only help them improve the cleanliness of the hotel and the way they manage employees. Encouraging them to become members of professional associations like the IEHA will expand their professional network so they can resolve cleaning challenges, stay abreast of new technology, and identify the best practices for keeping the housekeeping team motivated.

Why is it important to check in with housekeeping‘s morale from time to time? It’s like any type of preventative maintenance activity. Something may run just fine for a long time, but it’s good to keep it well oiled and greased to make sure it’s performing at optimal capabilities.

How can hoteliers make their housekeeping staff feel more engaged within the company? Take the time to listen to them and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. I’d encourage hoteliers to make sure housekeepers have a representative on any committee, or at least talk to your Executive Housekeeper and see if they feel it’s appropriate to have someone from the housekeeping staff involved. I’ve seen too many times where housekeeping is left out of big property-wide initiatives, like a renovation, where they could offer some valuable input on the types of flooring substrates that could be used or the best color for grout, why certain fabrics should be considered over another, etc. When it comes to servicing guests and the overall cleanliness and appearance of a property, the housekeeping department sees and knows a lot about how the hotel operates, so it can’t hurt to tap us for insight.e