The Secret to Happier Hotel Staff? Give Them Purpose

LONDON—How do you make 100 million people happy? Author and entrepreneur Stefan Wissenbach has the answer. His human resources tool, The Engagement Multiplier, helps to raise morale, empowerment and respect among teams.

Hospitality groups on Wissenbach’s client roster include Relais & Chateaux, Virtuoso and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In addition, The Beaumont, The Iconic Group (Cliveden House, 11 Cadogan Gardens, The Lygon Arms, Chewton Glen), Langdon Hall Country House & Spa, Hotel Football, Lympstone Manor, and Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport are also using the platform.

“Your eyes see, and your ears hear what your mind is looking for,” said Wissenbach. “I was at a coaching workshop, surrounded by some amazingly inspirational entrepreneurs when the answer hit me. Everyone around the room was complaining about millennials, joking that if ‘they didn’t have people problems they’d have no problems at all.’ The truth is we are all really the same at the end of the day—we strive for purpose. Without it we lack loyalty, motivation and energy. We are likely to chase money, bounce around and the need for recruiting sky-rockets.”

Wissenbach knew that if he could remove the pain of these business owners by providing them with a tool that creates framework and structure for them, he could begin to change the lives of the owner and the team.

“I shared our system with leading GMs of the world’s most respected hotels. It played very well with the growing movement around Kaizen, [an approach to creating continuous improvement based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements]. The transformation began shortly after the implementation,” he said. “People need purpose and our unique approach and tooling creates a platform that connects teams at a deeper more meaningful level.”

When asked why he made it his mission to make people happier at work, Wissenbach said it’s all about engagement. “I’ve dedicated my life to a very personal mission: help 100 million people become measurably more engaged,” he said. “Engagement is such an abstract thing and most business leaders and hotel GMs I talk to understandably struggle to even define it, let alone improve it. There was no simple solution and herein lies my innovation. In any business, engaged employees make all the difference, especially in service-driven sectors such as hospitality. Engaged hotels find it easier to attract and retain productive talent.

He added, “We spend so much of our existence on autopilot and I’ve seen the magic that can happen when a person discovers that they can take control, achieve more and truly love life. If even one person felt their life was measurably better, I’d feel fulfilled. But I’m not one who dreams small. The focus on 100 million has dramatically shifted my thinking and allowed me to take steps I otherwise would not have.”

It’s straightforward for hotel companies to get started. “The platform for hospitality enables GMs to understand, in less than 10 minutes every 90 days, what their staff really think, simply by having them answer our carefully crafted questions about their workplace, colleagues and guests,” he said. “Our confidential and anonymous platform then provides insight on where the GM and leaders can focus for maximum impact. We also provide the tools to enable effective and engaging communication with the team members.”

According to Wissenbach, the biggest challenge the hospitality industry faces is how to attract and retain productive talent and how to make the industry attractive to the next generations of employees, including millennials.

“An engaged hotel is easier to run, more profitable, and easier to find and keep the right people,” he said. “The best hospitality businesses are all over their numbers, from management accounts through to marketing performance and room occupancy rates. They do a great job of measuring the financial performance. Equally, if not more important, is the human performance element, which is why accurately measuring employee engagement is so critical, and logical, yet often overlooked.”