Upping the ante on staff well being in the hospitality sector

BON Hotels, who have made a name for themselves in resuscitating hotels have introduced HR policies that are aimed at getting staff more involved in decision making as well as boosting morale. “We hear your voice, this is our action,” is the tagline behind their approach to staff development, training and recognition of service.  Brenda Diedericks, the Group HR & Training Director, is creating an environment of putting her people first – she says, “After all, our people are our brand and happy staff make for a successful business and ultimately, happy guests.”

Over and above the traditional approach to staff training, induction, motivation, rewards and HR practices, Brenda and her team are challenging the norms and introducing original slants to their approach. One of these recently introduced tools is an online staff survey, created, along with Divtech, that will form part of the group’s performance measurement strategy. Having always been pedantic about guest satisfaction and guest surveys, the team has decided to take this online survey to staff and management at all of the hotels within the BON stable.  

The survey is divided into 7 categories, covering aspects such as staff well being, remuneration and feedback on management. Brenda anticipates that the platform will expose trends and quickly identify problem areas at each property. Although she admits that a lot of initial training will be required on how to manage the process, the long-term view is that the staff surveys will be a reliable measurement tool for each property. “Because our surveys are confidential, we will be able to find out the good, the bad and the ugly from the people on the ground. Staff well-being is very important to the BON group and we hope that this will act as a positive tool for them to air their views and experiences.”

The group is also launching the BON In-house Orientation Program whereby matriculants will be able to experience each division of hotel management as interns for a one-year period. “This gives these school leavers the opportunity to experience the field that they are interested in, earn money and decide if it is in fact what they want to choose as a career”, says Diedericks.  This will then give them the platform to enroll in the three-year BON Management Training Program, to further their knowledge and experience of the industry.  The course that trainees attend is a three year Block Release Programme for which they will receive a certificate in either Hospitality Management or Professional Cookery from a hotel school based in the relevant region.

To top it all off, in recognition of good service, staff receive a Best of BON Award, voted for by their peers, which is given out each month in recognition of hard work performance, positive attitude, helpfulness, for being a true ambassador of the brand and who embrace the companies ethos and vision.  An annual award is also up for grabs with great rewards to enjoy.

So, hard work does pay off and staff input is valued more than ever, creating a great recipe for success on a personal and professional level for staff and management alike.

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