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Hotel Association of Canada | The Voice and Vision of the Canadian Lodging Industry
May 2014

Employees - To Survey or Not to Survey?

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Hotels exist to make a profit.  This is certainly the truest statement.  The largest controllable expense to operate a hotel is the payroll.  Therefore does it not make sense to best understand one of the biggest drivers of guest satisfaction in a hotel?

Whether we refer to them as Employee Climate, Engagement, Opinion or Satisfaction surveys, the one common theme is the desire to poll employees in order to assess their perceptions about the organization. Frankly the hotel industry has been quite rigorous with its surveying processes and it is in fact encouraged by many of the brands. But do surveys go far enough to probe the nuances of a competitive labour pool in a community? This requires more comparative data amongst all the hotels in the community.

Equipped with that information, it’s time to contemplate appropriate interventions to address any obvious concerns.

It is however important to note that these aggregated results are only a perception of the surveyed group. In order to drill down further for meaningful interventions, there is a need for further feedback sessions with objective facilitators, particularly where it is discovered that the supervisor of a department is the problem. These are normally recommended in small groups to allow maximum discussion and thereby determine exact actions to consider.

Under any circumstances, a survey should only be conducted if there is a willingness to consider the findings and where necessary, intervene with employee relations initiatives.  And it becomes so important to acknowledge and thank the employees for their contributions to the survey.

Here are a few more reasons to consider an employee satisfaction survey. 

  • You can construct proactive strategies to attract and retain staff;
  • It will assist to measure the performance of supervisors and managers;
  • It’s a convenient measurement to contribute to incentive bonus plans or any other reward structure;
  • You can compare departments in your organization or to other organizations to seek out the weakest links;
  • If mutual respect is an organizational value, this exercise will strongly support it;
  • Unions find fertile ground in a dissatisfied workforce.
It is not true that surveys will require you to pay more for labour or require a hotel to increase the size of the human resources department, if there is even an HR department.

It is a very simple and inexpensive way to calibrate the organization to optimally operate for maximum profitability


Article submitted by: John Platz, President, HRIR Satellite Inc., Platz & Associates Inc. and advisor to Global Hospitality Executive Search Consultants

HRIR Satellite Inc. distributes a robust industry wide employee satisfaction survey with its latest version to launch in the fall of 2014.


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Hotel Association of Canada
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