Strategies to Empower Employees in Service Industries to Improve Profits

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1. Many companies in the service sector, large hotels and resorts for example, is implementing empowerment strategies to improve the quality of service provided to residents and guests. Search the internet for an example of such a company with particular emphasis on strategies used to empower front line staff.

The basic source of providing competitive advantage and the customer satisfaction in the hotel enterprises is the employee. Empowerment applications play a significant role in increasing the employee’s productivity providing organizational efficiency. Interest in employee empowerment within the hospitality industry helps in gaining competitive advantage through improved service quality. Particularly, it has been determined in recent studies that service deliverers (frontline staff) play a crucial role in determining the extent and quality of customer experience and satisfaction. Because of consumer conscious and competitiveness, an employee in the hotel establishments must make decisions simultaneously with the time of event, and must practice this decision. If s/he makes a mistake, a solution can be found and a feedback can be done. This approach requires empowerment of employees of the hotels. One such hotel who uses this strategy is Platinum Suites, a new 4 star hotel in Bangladesh.

There are many benefits of empowerment in hospitality operations. A more responsive service, since the immediate person must fulfill all needs of the guest. The complaints are dealt with quickly and greatly increase customer satisfaction. A well motivated staff will also put more effort into their work. Improved labor stability because of better job satisfaction caused by power to make bigger decisions and lower labor costs caused by dispersion of more responsibilities among less people. All these factors contribute to high quality service and therefore higher profits for the hotel.

Ideally, a hotel should have an employee empowerment scheme allowing for structured empowerment – i.e. a scheme that will give structured guidelines to making decisions. For example – a guest announces during checkout that he experienced room related problem. An authorized action that can be carried out by the frontline staff would be to offer a discount or an upgrade for the next visit. Another example, if the guest is charged an incorrect rate. The staff could check all correspondence and calculate and check the rate himself. In both cases, the involvement of the supervisor is not required. However the decision made by the staff must be given equal importance just as it had been made by a supervisor.

Empowerment is based on a theory that all employees of the firm have an underlying desire, if appropriately tapped, to produce good quality work and take pride in that service delivery to customers. Empowerment strategies thus seek to motivate employees by appropriately authorizing them with the autonomy to accomplish important organizational tasks. This is essentially a decentralization strategy, which frees managers by relying heavily on the skills and decision making abilities of subordinates to get essential work done, without a lot of monitoring by management.

It has become an increasingly favorite strategy of most service sector organizations as well as certain banks, restaurants, etc to empower front line staff to help improve quality of service. Even though it is not a sure fire method of achieving that target, it is definitely one way to get closer to achieving that goal.

2. Internet activity: Find an organization online that identifies as a ' learning organization'. What features does this organization emphasize? In what ways does it benefit from being a learning organization?

In the modern business world, companies have understood the importance of being a learning organization. A Learning Organization is one in which people at all levels, individually and collectively, are continually increasing their...
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