Home Publisher's Point of View Keeping Staff Involved, Celebrating Successes

Keeping Staff Involved, Celebrating Successes

Glenn Hasek

The results of the second annual Green Lodging Trends Report survey are beginning to come in. I will be writing the report along with Greenview in the coming weeks. Be sure to watch for the final version in September.

One of the things that has always intrigued me about sustainability in hotels is how hoteliers keep staff interested. In this year’s survey we asked hoteliers what their greatest challenges are around staff involvement. We also asked hoteliers how they celebrate their successes for moving their property toward greater efficiency. I will share a few of the responses from our survey from last year and this year below. Be sure to read the September report for greater analysis.

In the tours I have taken of hotels I always look for clues that indicate management is mindful of staff education and rewards. Bulletin boards showing progress in back of house areas have been common. Other signage as well as small reminders such as reusable water bottles or coffee cups are also common. Of course sustainability is typically a part of the training process for new employees and also a part of ongoing training and green team meetings. In press releases I have received over the years I have rarely seen mention of formal dinners and celebrations but they do happen. Connecting associates to a cause can be highly effective—collecting soap for Clean the World for example, and showing them the positive difference it makes.

Here is what a few said about challenges around staff involvement:

“A great deal of staff training was needed for them to understand the concepts of recycling, reducing, reusing and rotting. They all thought I was crazy when I set up the compost and recycling bins, and were resistant because it meant more work.”

“Staff turnover is a challenge with maintaining a good standard but our senior staff are committed which helps.”

“Cost. Implementing sustainable practices isn’t something that comes cheap.”

“Some staff members don’t really care.”

“We are a seasonal property, and have to recruit and train new staff each year.”

“Lately we have had a monitoring problem, meaning data that we once kept is no longer being collected in the same way.”

Here is what some said about celebrating their successes:

“Every year celebration for rewarding the most efficient employees.”

“Inform staff in quarterly sustainability newsletter.”

“Team meeting, cupcake party or other treat, extra time off for the whole team.”

“Recently, our Sustainability Committee has been taken for lunch by a member of the executive team to recognize and celebrate their achievements. On a larger scale, the Sustainability Committee hosts various events and activities to thank staff for their commitment to sustainable practices. For example, the Sustainability Committee recently hosted the hotel’s monthly service recognition party—the party involved activities like honey tasting (with honey from our rooftop apiary) and a recycling game to help keep skills sharp where prizes were awarded. Service recognition winners for the month were also given a mason bee house and a plant with their regular award.”

How do you keep staff educated and involved? In what ways do you celebrate your successes? I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Teslas Part Two

I wrote last week about the different ways hotels and B&Bs are working with Tesla. I heard from Scott Cowger, Co-Owner-Innkeeper of the Maple Hill Farm Inn & Conference Center in Hallowell, Maine. This is what he wrote: “I just wanted to let you know that Yankee magazine named us as one of “The Best 5 Green Hotels and Inns” in New England in their March/April issue.  In part because we have four EV charging stations as well as a Tesla that I drive myself, and even pick up guests at our little Augusta, Maine airport! Click the cover to go to the article!”

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