Operations Planner
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Leadership Must-Do's That Produce Great Results! - Week #5

publication date: Apr 20, 2015
author/source: Justin G. Lewis, CHA, COO Timberline Properties LLC

Week 5

#9    Weekly department leader meetings   

Weekly meetings with department leaders is extremely vital to the overall performance of your hotel and to the development of your line-level supervisors and managers.  Unfortunately many GM's fail to see the significance of these meetings or we tend to allow ourselves to become bogged down by the day-to-day operations and put them off or not do them at all.  Another failure at meeting time is when the leaders lose control of the discussions, things become negative or focus is lost.  Whatever the case, whether we fail to do the meetings or we do them poorly, we begin to slowly unravel the communication and accountability that makes our hotels successful. 

Hold a weekly meeting on a day that works for you and your top supervisors.  This day must be consistent, same time, approximately 45 minutes to an hour in length depending on topics to be covered.
Each department should be represented.
Someone should be selected to take minutes. 
Each leader should participate, take notes and come prepared.
The meeting should be positive, focused and guided by an outline.
Like all meetings, the GM must keep the discussion on track.
Ask important questions, ask the tough questions.

Revenue projections and weekly forecast.  10-day forecast and 30-60-90.
Labor cost and expense control. Cost per room, Minutes per room.
Needs, capital issues.
Inventories - Food, Linen, China, Glass, Silver.
Employee issues that need addressed.
Staffing concerns.
VIP's coming in.
Rooms out of service due to maintenance reasons.
Complimentary rooms.
Big events to plan for, functions, groups, high volume check-in and check out times.
Restaurant rushes, high cover times.  Could be restaurant or continental breakfast area.
Guest room quality, Preventative Maintenance schedule.
Service praises/concerns.
Service scores, comment cards. 
Follow-up from last meeting.

Questions to ask during the meeting:
"What are we doing really well as a team?"
"What is it that we do best for our guest?"
"How is your department performing?"
"What are our opportunities?"
"What staffing issues are out there?"
"What does the competition do better than us?"
"What would cause our top employees to consider looking for a different job?"
"Who are our superstar employees?"
"What training needs do we have?"
"Do we have any major safety concerns that need addressed?"
"Are we prepared for our next quality inspection?"
"How can we improve our value?"
"What are some ways that we can reduce turnover?"

These questions are just a few samples. The important role of the GM is to ask the tough questions, get discussions rolling, keep the group on track and accomplish goals.  

#10    Conduct a SWOT Analysis on your hotels Safety, Loss Prevention  and Emergency Procedures

When we think of an old fashion SWOT analysis, Sales & Marketing will probably come to mind first.  Each year as Managers we are used to conducting a SWOT analysis on our hotel and on our top competitors in order to study the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  Then we use this information as the basis for our marketing plan and our approach to the upcoming year.

This year I would take it a step further.  Consider the safety of your guest, team and asset.  How does your team respond when the fire alarms go off or when a guest is injured?  What does your maintenance crew do when the water needs shut off due to a pipe break?  How well does the front desk staff perform handling the switchboard in an emergency situation?  What if cash comes up missing?  Are all keys accounting for on property?  These are all safety and loss prevention examples that can happen at our hotels on any given day. 

Start by conducting an internal SWOT Analysis on the safety of your hotel.    Invite your maintenance team, housekeeping supervisors, food & beverage supervisors and guest service supervisors to contribute to this study.  If you're not familiar with a SWOT Analysis method use this guideline below:

Analyze the following:
Strengths - What are your hotels strengths when it comes to safety and loss prevention.  What does your team do best? 

Weaknesses - What does your team do poorly?  Where is training needed?  What can we improve on? 

Opportunities - What have we never approached when it comes to safety or loss prevention?  What areas of the hotel or operations have not been considered?  Does your hotel have a loss prevention kit or emergency procedures manual? 

Threats - What serious issues need addressed now?  Are there serious safety concerns or training measures that need to be acting upon now?  Check maintenance tickets, service recovery logs and guest comments.  Ask the front desk staff, maintenance crew and housekeeping team.

Safety & Loss Prevention areas to consider when conducting your SWOT analysis:
Fire procedures.
Key Control.
Evacuation procedures, drills.
Natural Disasters such as flood, tornadoes, hurricanes.
Robberies, locks, lighting.
Slips, trips and falls.
ADA rules and standards.
Bedbugs, how to inspect for, cleaning procedures.
Water damage.
Shut-off's - water, gas and electric.
Bloodbourne Pathogens, spills, clean-up.
Hazardous communications.
Lock-out/Tag-out training.
MSDS Logs and safety requirements.
Theft and guest loss.
Foodbourne illness training.
Food safety, local laws and health codes.
Liquor safety, local state laws regarding liquor safety. 

After you've analyzed each area, study your weaknesses, threats and opportunities and develop an action plan that will address each of these issues.  Assign tasks to different managers or possibly a safety committee. The goal is to move everything into the Strengths column and make your hotel more safe and less prone to loss. 

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