I just returned from speaking to hospitality executives in Oslo and Amsterdam as part of my work as a communications coach. While preparing for the presentations, I asked the organizers about the biggest challenge facing hospitality managers in their countries. The answer was exactly what I hear from their U.S. counterparts: motivating employees to offer exceptional customer service. The challenge is universal across countries and industries. Fortunately, so is the solution.
Motivation starts with employee engagement, and engagement begins with effective communication skills. In my presentation to hotel and travel executives, I quoted Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE) and current BusinessWeek columnist, who once said: "No company, large or small, can succeed over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it." Three key words in this quotation hold the secret to motivating employees: "energized," "believe," and "understand."