It is July 4th – Independence Day for the United States. It just feels right to talk about uniting employees for the greater good of their companies. The sizzle of barbecues is somewhat subdued this year with the number of jobless exceeding 8.5 million in the United States. As thousands more worry about pink slips, stress levels and finger-pointing within companies are on the rise. In tough times, the foundational character and strength of an organization is put to test. As a pricing professional, I can never forget the angst of having to follow lackluster decisions made without the right analysis or due process. I have witnessed major gains lost to complacency and individual interests. I have also watched conscientious employees dive into impossible problems acting like patriots serving the mother country. How can companies empower and enable their employees to think about the good of their company aside from stock options and big salaries?
Several years ago, I heard about the motto of Ritz-Carlton Hotel. “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”, is an age-old credo at the Ritz which has helped them adopt and share best practices across all levels of employees worldwide. While it may sound like a corporate myth, Ritz lives its motto guided by 20 Basics which are truly fundamental ideas. Here are a few:
#7. To create pride and joy in the workplace, all employees have the right to be involved in the planning of the work that affects them.
#8. “Each employee will continuously identify defects throughout the Hotel.”
#20. Never lose a guest. Instant guest pacification is the responsibility of each employee. Whoever receives a complaint will own it, resolve it to the guest’s satisfaction and record it.
The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain has one of the highest employee and guest satisfaction rates in the hospitality industry. They have also won the Malcolm Baldridge award more than once. I will let you guess if this bolsters their luxury image, top-line and bottom-line. Any corporation can choose to be like the Ritz by instilling among employees a sense of pride in continuous improvement and genuine courtesy towards their colleagues and customers.