5 Practical Steps to Manage Workplace Culture in the Hospitality Industry

Managing workplace culture is one of the most difficult and one of the most important aspects of organisational success nowadays. This is especially true for the hospitality industry.

The hospitality industry is among the most multicultural and diverse industries in terms of workforce.

A positive workplace not only leads to a happier workplace but also helps in better employee retention and catalyses innovation.

Organisations that bring everyone on board and align them to the purpose by ensuring well-being and equal opportunities to all thrive and survive. 

Let’s discuss in this article 5 important and practical steps that would help in managing workplace culture.

What is Workplace Culture?

Before we start listing these steps, let’s quickly discuss what exactly workplace culture is all about.

Peter F. Drucker, a famous marketer and management Guru, has come up with a very popular phrase.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.

Peter F. Drucker

This is how important culture can be for organisations. Any strategy is bound to fail without a culture made for success.

Workplace culture is a mix of all the values, beliefs, leadership and attitudes within an organisation. This would include peer to peer interaction, environment, politics, inclusiveness and a lot more. 

Having an inclusive and positive workplace ensures sustained success for all organisations.

Now moving on to a few practical steps for the hospitality industry to ensure a successful organisational culture.

1. Bringing everyone on board – Inclusiveness

Inclusiveness is one of the most important strategies for a successful workplace culture.

It is important to bring each and every individual of the organisation on board as having diversity and inclusivity brings many advantages in the workplace like what inclusio highlights.

Having everyone on board is one of the nano tools for successful culture as recommended by the Wharton Business School. These tools for managing culture within an organisation stress the importance of including everyone in the process of evolution.

One such example of inclusiveness in the hospitality industry is Marriott International which is one of the topmost hotel chains. The initiatives by Marriott for inclusiveness include corporate diversity, empowering people with disabilities / the differently abled, global diversity, employee wellbeing and more.

2. Following the policy of Compassionate leadership

An organisation is as good as its leader. Top management has a direct impact on organisational culture. 

Cascading effect or ripples of attitude displayed by the leaders can be seen all over the organisation. 

It’s visible in how people respond to situations and how challenges are tackled. Compassionate leaders ensure complete accountability of team members and management without getting into the blame game. Compassionate leaders are great listeners and first believers in equal opportunities.

Ratan Tata of Tata Group (India Hotel Company / Taj Group), Bill Marriott of the Marriott International Hotels, Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn and Larry Page of Google are known for leaving an impact on the workplace culture through their compassionate leadership.

Building a conducive work environment for maximum participation by everyone is a catalyst of innovation and creativity in workplace. Compassionate leadership can help create a successful work culture in all hospitality organisations.

3. Active Listening and Continuous improvisation

It is crucial for hotel managers, hospitality leaders and entrepreneurs to be active listeners and learners.

Active listening is one of the key traits of entrepreneurs and business heads. 

In a hospitality organisation, active listening and improvisation can be incorporated by continuous assessment of culture and by utilising best practices for feedback.

It is through continuous assessment that best practices can be incorporated in workplace as far as work culture is concerned.

It is through continuous learning that businesses can move between a culture made for success.

It is important to mention the types of organisational culture here for better clarity on what is a better type of culture and why managing culture is crucial to organisational success.

Broadly speaking, there are 4 types of organisation culture.

Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor investigated the qualities that make businesses effective. They have explained the same through the Competing values framework.

These are:

  • Clan – People focused with a lot of flexibility like a lot of tech companies and startups of today.
  • Adhocracy – Innovation and creativity focus. Risk-taking culture. Eg- Google, Apple.
  • Hierarchy– The focus is on discipline and structure. There is a fixed role for everyone and this lacks flexibility. Think of examples in Construction firms or a Biotechnology firm. 
  • Market – The key aim is profitability. The focus is on customers and sales. Think of Amazon and how customer-centric culture they have created. 

Have a look at the parameters of the model in the below image for a visual description.

Image Courtesy- Builtin

4. Responsiveness to Change

Responsiveness to change is crucial for a successful culture.

After the Covid Pandemic shock, it is even more important for the hospitality industry to be responsive to change.

The post Covid recovery of hospitality industry is going to be long. It is thus crucial to be prepared in the future to bounce back quickly.

The world is witnessing a lot of different things at the moment. From a pandemic to continuous innovation and everything in between. 

There is an information overload for employees making quick transitions difficult.

It is thus crucial for organisations to handle change in a better way.  An article by Harvard Business Review recommends embracing the below eight fundamental things for creating a culture made for success and that’s responsive to change. These are:

  • Learning
  • Enjoyment
  • Purpose
  • Caring
  • Results 
  • Authority
  • Order
  • Safety

There are numerous models available to help hospitality and leisure organisations incorporate these within the culture.

Getting mentors on board or seeking support from external consultants is well worth. Benefits outweigh the expenses incurred especially for larger hospitality and tourism organisations. 

5. Aligning everyone with a common purpose

Last but not the least. It is crucial to have a purpose that everyone within the organisation can relate to.

Amazon’s Purpose is “To become most customer centric company on Earth”

Hilton’s purpose is “to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time.”.

Walmart’s purpose if to “Save people’s money”.

And there are numerous examples. Over the years these companies have created a culture around this purpose. This helps them move forward and keep everyone on the same page.

It is thus crucial to ensure that everyone in your hospitality organisation is aligned with the common purpose.

Conclusion

Here you go, some of the useful and actionable steps to create a sustainable and successful work culture within hospitality organisations. 

It is also crucial to learn from the giants and top hospitality entrepreneurs.

The most successful organisations out there are successful not because of the product or marketing but because of their internal customers. Internal customers are the people working for them. It is these people who create a brand and express the culture displayed by the organisation. 

Caring for internal customers has been the key to success for hospitality leaders like Sir Richard Branson, Conrad Hilton and many others.

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