Employees first at Residence Inn Vancouver

From left, Rudy Pillay, HR manager, Residence Inn, Suzanne Allemeier, GM and Arlene Keis of go2HR.

From left, Rudy Pillay, HR manager, Residence Inn, Suzanne Allemeier, GM and Arlene Keis of go2HR.

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VANCOUVER — Suzanne Allemeier, general manager of the Residence Inn by Marriott Vancouver Downtown identifies with the title of the hotel's most recent award.

“It’s
appropriate that this award is called ‘Employees First’ because that’s
very much our philosophy,” she says. “We believe in putting employees
first and treating them with the same courtesy and consideration with
which we expect them to treat our guests.”

Managed by SilverBirch
Hotels and Resorts, the hotel has won the coveted 2014 Employees First Award, sponsored by go2HR, BC’s tourism and hospitality human resource
association.

The Residence Inn’s HR strategy is built on four pillars:

· 
Building empowerment by giving employees decision-making discretion;

· 
Sharing
information and encouraging collaboration and engagement through daily
meetings (called huddles), communication boards and a Facebook page;

· 
Minimizing incivility through the mantra of “kindness, courtesy and respect”; and

· 
Providing feedback through observations and quarterly performance reviews.

These pillars are then translated into a diverse set of practical approaches to engage and develop employees, including:

· 
Immersing
employees, called associates, in the cooperative culture from day one,
with an extensive orientation program, a buddy system that pairs them
with an experienced colleague
for ongoing coaching, and formal 30, 60 and 90 day reviews;

· 
Treating
service standards as paramount and breaking them down into 20 key
steps, or basics, and covered, one per day, during the team huddles;

· 
Asking associates twice a year to rate their employer and provide feedback in anonymous surveys; and

· 
Conducting quarterly open houses with the general manager.

And
it’s all paying off: in 2013, staff turnover at the Residence Inn was,
at 14 per cent, less than half the industry average. In 2014, the hotel
was on track to cut turnover to just 10 per
cent. Associate
engagement scores were also up, workplace injuries and time lost was
down, and guests were happy too. In 2013, the Residence Inn scored among
the top 10 per cent of Marriott hotels
on guest surveys, and placed in the top 10 per cent of Vancouver hotels
on Trip Advisor.

To learn more about the Employees First Award and to see past winners, visit go2HR.ca/EmployeesFirst.