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Your highest-rated guest services employee serves everyone with a smile — but is she helping herself to a little extra cash? Your bartender earns great tips for his fun-loving demeanor — but is he getting the kudos for his service or for giving out free drinks or extra pours liberally?
Trust can be challenging to establish and maintain in the hospitality industry. Stick around long enough and you’ll hear horror stories about the night auditor who stole jaw-dropping amounts without being caught for way too long, or the assistant manager who got away with theft for months, or even years. Anyone who is in a position where cash handling is a key responsibility can be suspect.
At the same time, you can’t be everywhere at once, and you rarely get the best results from your team by micro-managing or creating an atmosphere where trust is lacking. In fact, treating your employees with tough words, heavy discipline and as if they’re all guilty of theft can backfire by creating a tense working environment. What’s the answer for ensuring honesty and maximizing top performance?
Working with an outside service inspection provider is an important piece of the puzzle. Yes, inspections can often uncover dishonest practices and help you ferret out employees worthy of termination. But even more importantly, comprehensive inspections by a qualified third party can serve as a deterrent to theft. If your employees know that you’ll be conducting regular inspections, they are more motivated to stick to the straight and narrow, rather than risk their jobs and possible criminal prosecution.
By conducting a complete inspection of your facility, you create awareness for all employees of the best practices they should be following — whether those are related to proper cash handling and financial management or to keeping guests comfortable. Following up with additional inspections on a surprise basis helps employees reinforce and maintain those practices.
Let’s consider government-mandated restaurant health inspections for a moment. These health inspections are for the safety of the customer and not necessarily for improvement of the facility, but dining establishments that run as if they could be inspected at any moment will follow guidelines for cleanliness and care that benefit everyone. Employees are properly trained in best practices and know how they are expected to operate; guests can rely on certain standards being enforced.
In a similar way, the “threat” of an in-depth, third-party service inspection at any time can help your employees maintain standards, including those related to integrity and honesty, that benefit the entire company. A well-run hospitality facility will reap benefits to employees by reducing job-related stress and increasing service-based tips. And you, as an owner or manager, will be better able to ensure your employees are staying honest.
Well-run hospitality facilities, including restaurants, hotels, spas and golf courses, will see an improvement in day-to-day operations with the feedback from a comprehensive service inspection, but you’ll also improve trust and reduce theft among employees — and that can be one of the biggest benefits of scheduling regular inspections.