Motivation in the service industry

Essay by aston_martin81D+, April 2006

download word file, 15 pages 4.0

Downloaded 202 times

Nearly everyone makes an impression on someone else every

day of his life. At the same time, nearly everyone is

forming an impression of someone else. It happens in

private life, in business, in offices, on farms, in

schools, in government-wherever people are involved with

people. It happens both unconsciously and consciously, and

with a purpose. There is no end to the process.

You, as a manager in the service industries such as the

hotel, resort, restaurant, or other travel business, are

judged not only by the good meal, the restful night's

sleep, or the weekend of fun that your guests enjoyed.

You are judged also by the friendliness of your staff,

their alertness, their attitude, how they look, and the

way they do their job. What did your staff do to send a

satisfied guest or customer on his way or bring him back?

Your success in business will depend on how well you-the

manager-build these impressions.

How well you do this job

depends on how well you can manage people-your employees.

The most important asset of any business is its human

family of workers -managers and employees. Increasing the

capabilities and productivity of your staff is simply

smart business management. From the purely humanitarian

standpoint, it is also a moral obligation.

Getting people to work for you and with you as a team-and

keeping them working is never simple. However, these

skills pay handsomely in many fields. They are an

especially important key to your success in the service



How to Motivate and Inspire

How do you increase the business value of the people who

work for you? Above all, remember that they are people,

each one an important part of your business family-not

just a cog in a human machine that goes through certain

muscular motions every day with time out for refueling and

maintenance. Remember that your staff has heart and

brains, feelings and ideas-and is made of the same raw

materials as you. Their energies are there to be used for

their own good and for yours.

Some ways of harnessing these energies:

1. Seeking and using your employee's own ideas.

2. Keeping employees informed.

3. Expressing personal interest in employees.

4. Instilling pride in work well done.

5. Providing effective supervision.

These techniques are discussed in detail below. They

concern various methods of directing your employees toward

your main objective-building a profitable business by

satisfying guests and customers.

As you put these techniques to use, you will find the job

only half begun. The employee still needs more answers to

this very important personal question: "What is there in

it for me?" This is not a cynical question. It is another

way of asking: "How much am I worth?" As owner or manager,

you ask yourself the same question? So do your workers.

And you must provide answers for them as well as for


What incentives will you give them? Your success depends

on your answer.

Seeking and Using Employee's Ideas

To feel very much a part of the hospitality service

business and to be given an incentive, each employee must

understand that he is free to contribute ideas. Management

must encourage employee ideas and provide the necessary

mechanism for obtaining them. Suggestion boxes and

idea-discussion employee meetings are a couple of

possibilities. Encourage employees to think about problems

of the business. Some excellent ideas for their solution

may be forthcoming. As manager, carefully consider all

ideas, and if adopted, commend or reward the giver. If not

adopted, a word of explanation and appreciation should

always be given.

For example: Suppose new guest room lamps or bedspreads

are needed. Ask the housekeepers to make suggestions. They

may come up with usable ideas, and you have alerted them

to this opportunity to contribute. You have built in their

minds an appreciation of your thoughtfulness in seeking

their ideas about the problem.

Keeping Employees Informed

Successful service industry managers build good attitudes

in their employees by keeping them well informed of

affairs of the business.

Important methods of informing employees include personal

communication, use of a bulletin board, regular employee

newsletter or newspaper, individual written notices and


For example: meetings are one of the best forms of

management-employee communication. They should be kept

short and purposeful. There are two types of meetings, the

regular stop meeting and the problem or opportunity


Staff meetings are usually held for supervisors and

department heads. However, all employees should be invited

to a staff meeting, probably once a month or perhaps once

each quarter. Topics could include coming events, business

trends, notable achievements, and employee recognition.

The problem or opportunity meeting is called when someone

has a problem or an idea worthy of consideration and

assistance by others in the organization. After the first

meeting, the manager usually sets a period of time for

considering the problem or idea. The parties get back

together for a follow-up meeting to resolve the matter,

having had time to think it over and reach some

conclusions. This form of communication and mutual effort

contributes importantly to the organization's spirit of


These procedures make each person feel important to the

success of the business. The employee recognizes his value

and sees how his efforts help create success.

Holding regular meetings for the employees is one of the

best means of motivating your staff and building

self-esteem. The manager can write up the minutes of the

meeting and distribute these to all concerned on the same

day the meeting was held. This practice summarizes the

most important points and makes them readily available for

future referral and use.

Expressing Personal Interest

Another way to create motivation is the personal

conference held in private with each employee.

For example: managers or supervisors should find time at

least once each year to sit down in private with each

employee. In a friendly manner, discuss both business and

personal matters. Such talks smooth out problems and

difficulties which may be blocking the motivation of the

employee. The talks are also helpful to you, the

supervisor or manager, as you may receive information

which would come to you in no other way.

Suppose Mary, a waitress, seems to have lost spirit and

goes about her duties with no enthusiasm. If everything

outwardly seems satisfactory, such as health and basic job

conditions, the manager should carefully consider the

action he will take and then invite her to his office for

a private talk.

The first step is to discuss her work. Find out why her

attitude towards the job is poor. She may feel a lack of

acceptance by other staff workers or feel insecure or

discriminated against, or there may be other sources of

dissatisfaction or trouble. Personal or family problems

may be vexing her. If her problems are business-related,

they often stem from feeling "out of things."

In this case, the second step is to get her better

acquainted with her working associates, perhaps by

involving her in making plans for some special social

activity of the workers, appointing her to some committee

or asking her to assist the manager in some particular

project. This procedure will give Mary a feeling of being

someone special, of receiving special privileges which

have considerable motivational value. If the problems are

of a home or personal nature, perhaps some assistance from

a friend of hers or relative could be suggested or

arranged to help solve the problem.

Instilling Pride in Work

One definite advantage of employment in the service

industries is that much of it is still of a "craft"

nature. Craft work with the hands produces a complete

finished product that can be admired (with accompanying


Examples: When the salad girl completes a beautiful and

tempting salad, she can take justifiable pride in her

accomplishment. The same can be said for the waitress

serving a delicious meal and the housekeeper who turns out

a clean and attractive room. These are tangible products

of work and thus the old-fashioned pride of skilled

accomplishment can still flourish in this industry.

Management should show public satisfaction with

accomplishment by occasionally complimenting and

expressing appreciation to the employee for work well


Furthermore, increased automation in manufacturing will

force a growing number of persons to look for jobs, as the

labor supply exceeds the demand. Many will find their way

into the service industries.

A job in tourism is often seen as a privilege, since most

jobs in this industry have a measure of glamour and

excitement. Managers can build pride, and this should be

done to keep good workers and attract new ones. Employee

status can be elevated by following the suggestions in

this bulletin. Respect and pride for all employees is the

foundation for increasing status.

Pride in work well done also builds morale. Morale can be

defined as an emotional attachment to the business itself.

It is the end product of skilled management and is

reflected in each individual and in the general tone of

all employees toward their employer and towards each

guest. When employee satisfactions and needs are being

met, excellent morale is the certain result. Morale thus

becomes an important indicator of the quality of employee

management and should be carefully watched and measured as

an integral part of the total management process. Any

weaknesses which may appear should promptly receive

attention and correction by the manager.

Providing Effective Supervision

The supervisor is the basic managerial element in the

business organization. He forms the essential link between

the general manager and the workers. The entire

organization is dependent on him. He must follow the

fundamentals of good management- planning, organizing,

motivating, and controlling. Actually, his functions in

the latter two are more important than the former, but

nevertheless, he does operate within all of the management


Usually, the supervisor is responsible for the training

needed within his department. He owes each person under

him the opportunity for training and self improvement and

should be entitled to similar opportunities himself.

The worker must have good and effective supervision to

perform to the best of his ability. Poor supervision

brings about the opposite results. According to an

authoritative source, one-third of all employee job

changes can be attributed to poor supervision. Thus,

quality of supervision will largely determine the level of

employee performance. Since much personal motivation is

derived from a competent supervisor, your efforts as

manager to improve the quality of supervision will reflect

directly in higher employee motivation, achievement, and


Supervisors should be given the opportunity to

occasionally "brush up" on improved techniques of

leadership. Special courses in supervision and technical

aspects of the public hospitality business are offered by

the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel

Association, Stephen S. Nisbet Building. Michigan State

University, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824. Write for free

catalog of courses. Review Extension Bulletin E-484,

Recruiting and Training Employees in the Service


available from your County Extension Office.

Here are some check points for testing supervisor


What is to be done?

Do you state clearly what is to be done?

Are materials, tools, and supplies ready or ordered?

Do you indicate what equipment and tools are to be used?

Does employee understand what to do?

How is it to be done?

Do you explain clearly how job is to be done?

Does employee understand the method to be used?

Do you consider if there is a better way to do it?

Do you provide for the employee to use his own judgment?

Why is it to be done?

Do you explain why the job is important?

Does employee understand why you chose this method?

Who is going to do it?

Do you state clearly who is to do it? Is employee capable

of doing it?

How is he likely to react to your instructions?

Does he have enough authority to do it?

Has he time to do it along with other work assignments ?

Is there a loophole to permit "buck passing?".

Where is it to be done?

Do you indicate where job is to be done?

If materials or equipment are needed, do you indicate

where and how to get them?

When is it to be done?

Do you state clearly when the job is to start?

Is it clear when the work is to be completed?

If urgent, do you indicate urgency or priority over other


What are your own feelings and attitude toward the


Are you friendly but firm?

Do you confidently expect the instructions to be carried


Did you follow up to see if instructions were carried out?

Faithfully following these guidelines will be of great

value to your organization-and to yourself.


To effectively motivate, a definite system of incentives

or rewards is necessary. Such a system requires a

combination of several groups of incentives, the most

important of which are:

1. Recognition-both monetary and nonmonetary.

2. Social prestige.

3. Achievement.

4. Self-esteem


The first thought concerning recognition is usually money.

Good pay is vital. However, there are others of major

importance-steady work, comfortable working conditions,

good working companions, good supervision, the actual

nature of the job itself, and opportunities for

advancement. Good pay is essential to employee

satisfaction and must be carefully considered in all

personnel matters. The employee should not feel that he is

underpaid. Pay is the best and most tangible form of

recognition of the employee's worth to the company.

Besides actual pay increases, other forms of monetary

recognition commonly used are a bonus plan, profit-sharing

and extra pay for reducing costs (cost reduction


Bonus Plan

When considering a bonus plan, first think about its


-To produce extra efforts from participants.

-To favorably direct their efforts.

-To provide extra compensation according to the

financial success of the company and department. To

raise morale and enthusiasm of all the staff.

-To increase the profitability of the company.

Any extra reward system should have the following


-Clearly understood and meaningful to all.

-Judged to be equitable.

-Be results-oriented and reflect employee performance.

High producers should get the big bonus and low

producers a low bonus or none.

-Be closely linked in time to the performance upon

which the bonus is based. A quarterly or semi-annual

period is suggested, but annual is often used.

-Evaluation should be as objective as possible.

Good communication is an essential element in the bonus

plan. When formulating the plan, seek free exchange of

ideas. The manager must be willing to listen to employees

and make constructive changes in the plan when needed.

Suggestions concerning a bonus system:

-All employees should be eligible.

-If employed in a profit-making department, the bonus

should be directly related to the profit of that

department. If not in such a department, the bonus

formula is determined by the supervisor.

-Overhead expenses, over which the employee has no

control, should be considered separately when

determining departmental profit. Appropriate

statements of revenues and expenses chargeable to the

department must be prepared according to an

accounting method clearly understood and recognized

as fair by all.

-All persons involved in the bonus should be able to

periodically measure themselves during the year. (A

financial report of some type should be made


Some suggested rules:

-Must be an employee for 1 year before being eligible

for a bonus.

-Performance should be objectively rated by supervisor

as being unsatisfactory, satisfactory, or superior,

etc. If unsatisfactory, he would not be eligible for

a bonus and the supervisor would explain why to the

employee. If satisfactory, the employee would receive

the regular bonus, as determined by formula. If

superior, he might receive more, perhaps twice as


To determine a bonus for managers and supervisors, use a

variation of the bonus plan. A group of major factors

needed for success in a given department is

outlined-cleanliness, training ability, service, volume,

profit, quality, or cost factors. Assign a point value to

these, such as "0" for unsatisfactory "1 " for

satisfactory and "2" for superior. At the end of each 6

months, the general manager objectively rates the

supervisor on each of the agreed upon factors. For

example, if five factors were being evaluated, a score of

"10" would be the best possible. This total is equated to

a percentage for the bonus, such as 20 percent of the base

salary. If total point score were " 9" the bonus would be

15 percent, etc. Annual salary increases could also be

equated to average bonus percentage for the year.

The supervisor or department head might also be awarded a

bonus based upon increases in total sales volume. His

extra reward could be a percentage of any sales gain plus

a percentage of the profit, providing that gross profit

amounted to a certain percentage of gross sales. These

percentages would be agreed upon by the manager and his

supervisors or department heads through mutual discussion

and consideration. Thus, subordinates and the manager

work out the details of the bonus plan together.

Another possible arrangement is a sliding scale of bonus

payments in which increments in sales and profits yield

step increases in the percentages of bonus paid.

Profit Sharing

Details of any proposed plan should be approved in advance

by the Interal Revenue Service. There are two types of

profit-sharing plans-the cash plan and the deferred plan.

Some companies have both. This is called "combination"

profit sharing.

There are several important considerations in formulating

a profit sharing plan.

-The employee must be with the company for 1 year

before being eligible to participate.

-The amount received by each participant should be

related as closely as possible to performance. Some

may receive more and others less. (See applicable

concepts and principles under Bonus Plan.)

Under the cash plan, profits to be distributed are paid in

cash currently-usually quarterly, semiannually, or

annually. Total profit to be distributed to the employees

is usually an amount fixed by a formula. For example, one

company's employees receive 33 1/3 percent of net profits

before taxes, but not over 15 percent of the payroll.

Under the deferred plan, a trust fund is set up to provide

employees with future benefits. The fund is created by

contributions from participating employees and from the

company, according to a formula. The deferred plan

provides retirement, death, supplemental unemployment,

health insurance, and disability payments. Also, some

plans provide for loan and withdrawal privileges which

make possible immediate financial assistance in time of

unusual need.

These plans have a certain advantages: (1) profit sharing

tends to become a unifying force drawing management and

employees together, (2) such plans are definitely work

incentives, since every employee can see that the

profitability of the business and his own personal welfare

are necessarily related, and (3) each worker has an

incentive to be more creative and think of ways to

increase sales and reduce or eliminate expenses.

An alternative to profit sharing which might be more

understandable and appealing to certain groups of

employees is cost reduction. Every employee knows that

when he breaks a dish, for example, there is a cost to the

company. If he knew that he would share in the amount

saved by the company by being more careful and efficient,

he would have much more interest in helping reduce costs.

Here's how the program works. A certain base period for

comparing subsequent periods, is established. All

expenses in future periods are compared with the base

period. Any savings in costs are shared with the

employees, usually a certain percentage. The formula used

by a steel corporation is a payment of 37 1/2 percent of

the savings to the employees. In the service industries,

expenses have to be adjusted to the volume of business and

inflationary cost increases which occurred during the

periods being compared. The relationships can be readily

figured and savings determined.


Nonmonetary recognition can be tangible or intangible.

Examples of tangible recognition: pins or plaques for

length of service or special accomplishments; announcing a

promotion with a story and employee's picture in the local

newspaper, or advertisement in the local newspaper

featuring pictures of key personnel, highlighting their

training, experience, and outstanding services.

Intangible means of recognition are less formal. A kind

word of praise: "Joe, the gardens and lawn look just

great. We've really got a good grounds' man" builds good

will and is recognized by both parties as respect and

recognition. Or, take employees out to lunch at regular

intervals, arrange a party for them, such as at Christmas,

or send each one a card on his birthday, or when sick.

Social Prestige

Present-day management theory says it is no longer

sufficient to satisfy only subsistence needs. Such a

policy is too limited to motivate employees enough for

today's competitive business conditions. Superior employee

performance will be obtained only when his social and

self-esteem needs are supplied on the job. "More money"

often becomes an insistent demand when management is

concerned only with satisfying minimum cost-of-living

needs. When the "whole person" is involved within an

enterprise, the employee is often content with less money

than he might make elsewhere, simply because he enjoys his

work and experiences self-esteem and accomplishment

through his work.

Prestige is built in the relationships between people.

Employees, like everyone else, feel a strong need to

belong and feel accepted. These are important factors in

good employee management. The intelligent and efficient

manager carefully considers them when he formulates policy

governing work incentives for his business family.

Let's consider the social and relaxation needs of your

staff. Suppose you encourage a 10-minute rest break for

the housekeepers. If you provide an attractive room where

they can sit down and enjoy a few minutes of each other's

company and a little refreshment, important social needs

have been fulfilled. Employees become better acquainted

and develop friendships. Such a management policy

encourages employee cooperation and provides incentive to

work toward the best interests of all of the employees and

the business.

Or, encourage social events or special dinners for:

achieving some goal, an employee's retirement, a special

event in the life of the business such as the anniversary

of the founding date, or similar occasion. You might plan

recreation programs,-bowling and softball leagues,

swimming, golf, or other grouporiented sport.


Ambition falls off when employees do not have enough to

do. The only way to solve this problem is to establish

reasonable work production standards for each job. Study

and evaluation of standards and worker production should

result in a reasonable level of output for each position.

Living up to these standards brings a sense of


Better Placement

Workers will be more productive and interested if they

feel they are in the right job, best suited for the

occupation in which they are employed, and being used to

the fullest capacity. Periodic checks of employee's

production and talks with his supervisor will establish

his level of performance. Appropriate adjustments in his

job assignment help to keep his work up to his

capabilities and are of long-term benefit to both worker

and employer.

Better Environment

Some places of business look fine from the outside, and to

the customer, but much less attractive behind doors in

the work areas. This is detrimental to morale. Also, there

are indirect, bad effects on habits and sanitation

standards. Working areas should be made light, airy,

comfortable, orderly, quiet, and clean. Actual tests have

proven that morale and productivity are much higher when

employees work in pleasant and clean areas than when

the work environment is unattractive and depressing.

Self-Achievement, Advancement, Growth

Self-achievement (also called self-fulfillment or

self-actualization) tops all other considerations as an

additional incentive especially for the more ambitious and

resourceful employee.

Simply stated, a person knows he can climb the business

ladder as far as his ability can take him.

This incentive is especially powerful for younger members

of an organization. To motivate and keep the services of

the most intelligent and capable of your younger

employees, you must offer opportunity for advancement.

Openings for positions of greater authority and

responsibility occur from time to time, and each business

can offer its own particular inducements.


This group of needs differs from others in that it is

concerned with the employee's view of himself. Examples

are the opportunity for recognition, status in the

community, respect, distinction, attention, importance,

and appreciation. These are the most difficult needs to


Recognition of achievement as previously described, is a

good example of improving an employee's view of himself.

Pins, plaques or recognition in the newspaper are

excellent ways to denote worth to the company. Self-

improvement, hence self-esteem, can be improved by sending

your people to special schools or short courses, or

paying for home study courses or similar improvement


Enhancing self-esteem improves feelings of selfconfidence,

strength, worth, and usefulness to the business

organization. Denying this need leads to a feeling of

inferiority which brings about discouragement.


These are practical employee management suggestions which

will bring about more productive and better satisfied

employees. The team approach and provisions for high

quality supervision are essential elements in motivation.

Use of specific incentives (rewards) in monetary and

nonmonetary forms constitute tangible results for the

employee. Employee who are recognized for their worth to

the company and rewarded accordingly will multiply this

value in guest satisfaction and profits.

Implementing these suggestions in no way implies lack of

leadership. In fact, such procedures actually increase

leadership ability. Each employee is invited to assist

management and is expected to participate in plans and

discussions. Thus, management and employees have similar

responsibility in maintaining good leadership. By

following these recommendations, the manager can build a

better management team and strengthen his position as