The 5 must for building a strong hospitality team

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

What it takes to have a dream team?

Strong hospitality team is the ticket to business success

In todays sophisticated business environment we spent hours and days trying to create a unique selling preposition which would give us competitive advantage in the industry. From impressive modern design to adapted newest technology - we search for ways to impress our guests. And while the latter can no doubt serve the purpose, we often tend to forget the paramount selling point - our people.

Hospitality excels at human interactions - without the people our product is worthless. They are the face & soul of our business, and they can surely help us differentiate ourselves from intense competition.

However, to build a strong and lasting team is often a challenges which requires both great leadership and effort.

Here are top five factors needed to build a robust and successful team.

1. Hospitality mentality

As already shared previously, understanding the difference between service and hospitality and training our people’s hospitality mentality is essential success factor. Understanding the essence of hospitality and ability to execute it is a game changer. People with this characteristic are not only more successful performers, but also better team players. This is because hospitable folks demonstrate this trait not only when interacting with the guests, but generally in their lives - both private and professional. Being kind and helpful towards colleagues, friends or generally all people, caring about the needs of others, aiming to create pleasant, welcoming and stress free environment are things they aim for. And that is exactly what we need both in our teams and for the guests.

So demonstrating hospitality mentality in our organisation by showing the example and actively encouraging people to follow, noticing and rewarding supporting behaviour is the starting point in building a strong team.

2. Relevant product experience

Would we be able to recommend a good book if we have never read any? Or who would we trust more in teaching how to make authentic homemade Italian pizza - a grandma from Naples or a bus driver from Greece? The answers are probably clear - it is difficult to obtain valuable result without having relevant experience.

The same goes for our people. In order for them to better understand the guests and their experience, they need to have one themselves. We want them to execute the certain level of hospitality - we need to ensure they have experienced it! They need to be familiar with the product for being able to perform and improve it. So creating possibilities for the staff to be guests themselves - either for a day or a few hours - will not only build a better understating of the guests’ expectations and their role, but can also serve as great motivation method.

Like famous Benjamin Franklin has said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” - involving our staff not only in creating the guests’ experience, but also experiencing it by themselves, will give them the understanding and a know-how better and faster than any other training we can provide.

3. Role exchange

If in order to better understand the guests and the product our staff should have an opportunity to experience it themselves, so in order to better understand the colleagues and get a holistic view about operations they should have a chance to get familiar with other roles and responsibilities.

Receptionists, who comprehensively understands the operations of housekeeping or F&B, will be more likely to have better complaint handling skills and solve challenges faster and more efficient. Or the waiting staff, who have extended knowledge of the kitchen processes, will in many cases be more successful in their role as the ones limiting their experience to the specific job responsibility. The better understanding we have about different roles and their required job skills in our establishment, the easier it is to succeed not only individually, but also as a team.

4. Team culture

Common culture creates a sense of belonging - an emotional state, where we feel acceptance as a member or part of something, which is important for our wellbeing and happiness. A strong team culture can contribute to improved communication, collaboration, wellness and most importantly performance.

In order to create strong team culture, we need to think about three main aspects - the purpose of it, the people who are involved and certain practices, which will define how we act in the team.

So starting with the team vision, mission and common goals is a good way to begin. Important here is to involve the team in the process and ensure we all share the common mindset regarding our objectives. Constant following on the vision and the results we have (or haven’t) already achieved holds the team not only more accountable, but also involved.

Spending time with each other both in and outside work environment is another good way of building the culture. Social connection is important, so taking the time to get to know each other helps to strengthen relationship. Anything from celebrating birthdays together to arranging team building activities would work - finding what fits best for our team and ensuring we carry it out (more than once per year!) is important.

Lastly, defining certain practises, in other worlds - our ways of working (WoWs) - is essential. How do we do things, what is acceptable and not in our team? How do we communicate or address problems? What do we do in case of toxic behaviour? Such and similar topics should be addressed and desired practises clearly defined - it will not only give guidance to the members, but also support team values and objectives.

5. Development

Living in the times of transformation economy self-actualisation is valued more than anytime before, so taking the position of a great motivator both for staff retainment and satisfaction. People want to learn, obtain new skills and progress both professionally and privately. So building the culture of possibilities and continuous learning & development will do good both for our staff individually and the business holistically.

Here we should promote a culture of learning and encourage people to continue expanding their skill sets while providing access to ongoing training and personal development. The most successful companies today are the ones who focus on the broad teaching of their people - developing not only the skills and behaviours that are directly related to their job role, but also helping them gain the skills they can benefit from in other areas of life - be it public speaking, creativity, diversity and cultural awareness, time management or others. Anything from onsite training, personal couching or online courses - the choice nowadays is truly wide and very affordable. If we provide them the tools they need to be successful and move forward in their careers, they will be both more engaged and successful in delivering memorable experience for the guests.

Promoting the culture of learning itself is another step into development journey. Fostering he environment of being able to make mistakes, risk and learn, as well as celebrate the AHA moments and not only results, gives our people both the higher trust in us and the business, and helps them learn faster. So introducing performance measures that are based on growth and improvement (not only specific targets and results), making learning easily accessible and using blended learning techniques to maximise the outcome can help us build and develop a strong hospitality team.

If you need assistance in building your dream team or helping them grade up their skill set - get in touch for a free discovery session to discuss your possibilities in becoming a strong leading team ==>


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