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S T U D Y
The Ritz-Carlton Mystique:
Professionalism, High Expectations
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s
excellent reputation for customer service and its low employee turnover rate compared with other organizations in
the hospitality industry is renowned.
Its phenomenal success can be
summed up in three phrases: a comprehensive employee screening process, significant employee orientation and ongoing training, and a high level of respect and trust in staff that
leads to employee empowerment.
These three phrases also embody the
Ritz-Carlton credo: creating a memorable experience for customers. After a bad stay at another hotel in
San Francisco, Joseph A. Michelli,
Ph.D., author of The Starbucks Experience, was so taken with his own Ritz-Carlton experience that he decided to write The New Gold Standard, a book about the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He explains that the
motto of the Ritz-Carlton, “ladies and
gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” may seem dated, but connotes that there is a status that goes with
service professionalism at these hotel
properties. Ritz-Carlton’s 30,000employee workforce has mastered the professionalism expected by this
organization, he adds.
The Ritz-Carlton difference starts
with employee recruitment and hiring. Every job applicant goes through a long interview process based on
the Quality Selection Process
(QSP), through Talent Plus (www
.talentplus.com). This Process includes a series of interviews that help to establish a behavioral profile. For
example, Dr. Michelli says, “The
profile shows whether you’re [a job
applicant] high on empathy, inquisitive, and [with] the right take on customer service. This profile can be
compared to the profiles of the highest functioning people in different areas of the Ritz-Carlton, allowing
HR to match applicants with existing
employee profiles. When a person is
hired, he or she is already held up as
someone special from the outset.”
© 2008 Business & Legal Reports, Inc. #31503010 (#867)
That’s just the beginning. At RitzCarlton, no one begins working until after completing new employee
orientation, and every employee
undergoes 250 hours of training in
the first year of employment, explains
Dr. Michelli. Senior level management participates in orientation, stressing the importance of supporting employees in their new roles right from the beginning. Managers
and supervisors receive a second
level of orientation that helps managers understand their roles, which are largely based on mentoring and
coaching, in the organization.
At the end of his or her first 21 days
of employment, a new staffer is invited to participate in a small group discussion with an individual outside
the line of command for that employee, possibly the director of Learning or someone in Quality,
according to Dr. Michelli.
The discussion focuses on how the
Ritz-Carlton is doing as an employer.
“Are we giving you the tools that you
need to do your job, and are we meeting your expectations?” says Dr. Michelli.
“The input is anonymous, but the
results are sent back in aggregate to
those areas [that are discussed].”
The resolutions are fed back to the
people that brought up problems
or need for improvement so the employees know that management is taking their opinions, wants, and
needs seriously, he explains.
For example, an employee at Day 21
expressed frustration about the unavailability of equipment that he needed to do his job, notes Dr.
Michelli. It turned out that two departments shared the equipment, but there was no process in place to make
the equipment accessible to both departments. After the employee uncovered the problem, a procedure was put into place to make the sharing
more formal and efficient.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Uses careful employment
orientation and empowerment
to create a sense of professionalism and...
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