The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Category: Associate Success

The Meaning of Leadership

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 12.03.29 PM When thinking about leadership, I see a leader as the person who’s always quoted and remembered. They’re always the star of old blockbuster movies where the underdog team beats the odds and wins the championship, whether it’s the coach, the star quarterback or even the unsung hero in the stands.

What are the qualities we seek in a leader? There is no specific formula, no specific answer to this question. Of course, we see a leader as someone who reaches for their goals and is victorious.

Some believe that leaders are born and not made, a matter of nature versus nurture. I believe that leaders need to possess a quality of charisma – specifically the ability to influence others positively – which I think you can either be born with or hone as a skill through your experiences. It is accomplished through leading by example, showing associates that even though it may not be easy, doing the right thing will always lead you to success. It will teach them how to handle new situations in the future.

Effective decision-making is another important quality in a leader. If you make decisions thoughtfully but efficiently, and stick with your decision no matter the outcome, your team will be able to understand how each decision has a consequence, good or bad. The important thing is that you all stick together and trust and rely on each other, your teammates. If a coach decides on a certain play during a game, the team needs to trust each other in order to successfully run the play. If unforeseen challenges pop up, the decision might need to change on a dime, and the team as a whole needs to embrace that.

At The Service Companies, we are surrounded by leaders, in all departments and at every level. Our leaders use numerous tactics to ensure our associates continue to grow, learn and become better every day, so that they can one day step into their own leadership role.

Our management teams across the country share mandated service and safety topics daily. They listen to and act upon feedback from both our associates and clients, which is then shared to ensure everyone is on the same page, on both a property and company level. We promScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 12.04.43 PMote our SHINE campaign associate engagement culture by recognizing and sharing the successes and accomplishments of each associate and team. Open communication and being the first to welcome and shake associates’ hands from day one is important.

It is vital that our teams across the country work together with each other and their leaders, whether they be managers or fellow associates. It’s the hard work and dedication of all of them who make it possible for us to deliver on our promise to our clients of Service. Above all.

Tips from the Field: Becky Burrows

The team at one of our luxury casino hotels in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has consistently achieved excellent EcoSure scores, which measure the level of cleanliness of our kitchens. Recently their Stewarding Department, led by Executive Steward Becky Burrows, were able to increase their EcoSure score from 95% to an outstanding 97%. Becky plays an integral role in this property’s success, due to her hard work and dedication to her job and her employees. We interviewed Becky to learn more about the secret to her team’s success.

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What does an EcoSure inspection entail? What do they look for?

EcoSure looks for the cleanliness of the kitchen as a whole. All dish rooms are inspected to ensure the water is at the right temperature and that the sanitizer is up to standard. The inspectors check that no food or debris is left anywhere, and that all equipment is wiped down and dusted.

How was your team able to achieve such excellent scores?

Our team is well trained in what it takes to keep our kitchens and dish rooms clean, and do this every shift, morning, afternoon and overnight. They clean, dust, sweep and mop everything from top to bottom continuously.  We make sure each associate feels valued and a part of the team, so each shift works together to make sure our cleanliness is excellent.

What is the largest event you and your team have supported?

New Year’s Eve is usually our largest – we have done two seating’s of 800 people apiece. The Stewarding Department helps out the cooks in the kitchen often, especially during events. The team helps to plate the food, which is then run to tables by the serving team. During large events like this, we have employees who volunteer to stay over and help with everything. It’s truly all about the teamwork. Huge events can be fun, because there is a thrill in working together and accomplishing something.

How do you motivate your team?

The team is like a big family. We treat each other as individuals and make sure we’re training and then working with associates one-on-one. They truly care about their jobs and work hard to achieve consistently great scores. We also place importance on employee engagement events, and take time to listen to our employees and make sure they know they are valued. We have lots of team members who are far from home, from places including Haiti, so it’s important that they feel like they have a family here and are comfortable and involved.

Me and Ms Dina (1)When did you join The Service Companies?

I started as a Public Area Attendant in 2010 and then moved up to a Public Area Lead, then a Public Area Supervisor, and then a Public Area Night Manager. In 2013, I was asked to become an Assistant Executive Steward. 

How did you gain your expertise in Stewarding?

I gained experience by doing. When I was promoted to Assistant Executive Steward I barely knew anything about kitchens or the department. But, I was able to rise to the challenge and I was able to learn and train as I went. There was always someone there to ask for help or to answer questions.

What would you recommend to a property that might be struggling to achieve high inspection scores in their Stewarding Department?

First, I would recommend that they check their teamwork. 1st, 2nd and 3rd shift all have to work together to ensure consistency in cleanliness. Standards need to be met all the time, not just before an inspection. I would tell the management team to listen to their associates, to see what they can do to help them achieve what’s needed.

What do you love most about your job, and the company?

I love my staff – without them, I could not do my job. I’m a people person, and I like to be there for my team and have an opportunity to make changes in their lives.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Emerging Leaders: Shelly Sauseda

Our Emerging Leaders Program was developed to give individuals within our team the opportunity for growth by providing comprehensive management and leadership training. The Service Companies is dedicated to fostering and investing in our associates’ careers, and as a result, we have a number of tenured associates who have risen through the ranks from Kitchen Cleaners or EVS Attendants to Vice Presidents. Today, we highlight Shelly Sauseda, who recently reached her one year anniversary with us as an EVS Attendant at a casino in Bossier City. During Shelly’s first year, her manager noticed great potential and an eagerness to learn more, and urged Shelly to apply to our Emerging Leaders Program. Currently two months into the six month management training program, which includes learning about the housekeeping and stewarding functions and departments, , including rooms cleaning, office dispatch, room inspections, floor care, kitchens, human resources and project management. We interviewed Shelly about her experience so far.

Shelly Rooms TrainingWhen did you join The Service Companies?

I started at The Service Companies in March 2017 as a Restroom Attendant at a casino property in Bossier City, Louisiana.

How did you learn about our Emerging Leaders Program and what do you hope to take away from it?

I found out about the Program from Dekindra Thomas, the Project Manager at the property where I first started. I want to develop better leadership skills and to be an example so other employees can follow in my steps.

The Emerging Leaders Program involves six months of training. How is your training schedule broken down and where are you currently in your training?

I spend time at different properties learning the ins and outs of each department. I completed my final week  at a casino property in Bossier City, where I learned how to run an efficient and successful housekeeping department. Next I’ll move on to learn about floor care and kitchen cleaning at another casino in the area.

Shelly Dispatch

Can you describe what your typical day-to-day looked like during the housekeeping training portion of the program?

At first, I was cleaning rooms while learning room procedures and how to make beds. After I mastered those tasks, I was placed on dispatch for two weeks to learn about that housekeeping function. Next, I spent one to two weeks learning how to inspect rooms. I was also trained on the responsibilities of a house attendant.

What has been the biggest lesson or thing you’ve learned through the Program?

How to run dispatch was the biggest task I mastered. It requires strong multitasking skills. A Dispatcher has to take phone calls and radio messages while simultaneously managing the computer.  

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment for you since you started the Program?

Being given the opportunity to move forward in my career already feels like an accomplishment. I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about each department’s job functions, including how to be a Dispatcher and the room cleaning inspection process. 

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As you transition to the next stage of your training, what are you looking forward to learning or doing?

I’m really excited to learn how to detail kitchens and polish and wax the floors. My training at the next property will include kitchen deep cleaning, floor care, marble care and stewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the Emerging Leaders Program?

Be strong. Never give up. Push yourself to accomplish the new tasks that come with your position. It’s not always easy, but the outcome will be worth it.

To learn more about our associate programs and career opportunities, visit http://www.theservicecompanies.com/careers/why/.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Leaders in Service: Stephanie Leger

Our next Leaders in Service series feature is Stephanie Leger, Corporate Compliance Auditor and support for our hotel, casino and resort properties across the country.  Prior to joining our team, Stephanie held a number of roles with The Ritz-Carlton brand, including Housekeeping Manager, Front Desk Supervisor, and Group Sales Coordinator, and was a Service Evaluator for Forbes Travel Guide, during which time she was trained and certified in over 550 hotel standards and identified service strengths and opportunities for improvement. We have interviewed Stephanie about her time at The Service Companies, her unique background in inspections and auditing, and what it takes to succeed and grow within our company. Currently, she is providing operational support and expertise to one of The Service Companies’ luxury hotels in South Beach, Miami.

StephanieLeger_1794What roles have you held while with The Service Companies? How long have you been with us? I’ve been with The Service Companies for two years, during which I’ve lead the team in account openings, helped with the expansion of accounts and evaluated how our accounts align with our company and brand standards. At the property I’m with right now in Miami, we’re running about 45 room attendants each day, and I’ve been training new associates every day.

What has kept you on our team, and what do you like most about this company? It’s exciting to be part of a growing company that isn’t just growing in one location, but across the country – over 30 states and counting! We’re also expanding into different calibers of hotels, and I like assisting in creating our company standards as we grow.

What does your job entail? I have a variety of job duties. I travel to our new accounts and assist in setting up the housekeeping department and training newly hired team members. Or, I visit existing accounts and audit the housekeeping department by testing associates’ knowledge and spot checking cleanliness in their rooms.

What do you think makes an Executive Housekeeper successful? Having skills in time management, teamwork and flexibility are important for success.

What do you think is the most important part of your role? Checking in on our current accounts and making sure they performing up to our standards, and if they’re not, assisting them to get them where they need to be.

What would you recommend to someone looking to become an Executive Housekeeper? Learn all the duties of each position of your team. Then as a leader, you’ll be able to understand how each position relies on each other to meet the needs of the guest.

What do you love most about your position? I love visiting our various properties and working with the team to take them to the next level.

How do you stay motivated, and how do you motivate your team? To keep myself motivated, I stay positive. My nickname is giggles; I’m always laughing and in a good mood. Housekeeping can be very challenging, but I use my positive outlook to motivate the team. Also, I work side by side with the team to get the task at hand done.  

Outside of work, how do you spend your time? What are you passionate about and what do you enjoy doing? I enjoy traveling to destinations I’ve never been before and touring the area. When not on the road for work I like to travel to tropical locations and enjoy the outdoors, hiking and fishing.

 

At The Service Companies, we understand that our people are what makes our company great and enables us to provide our customers Service. Above All.

No matter what level, property or department, you will find exceptional associates who live and breathe our brand and have helped create a strong corporate culture. In the spirit of honoring the people and leaders within our company, we feature and interview our outstanding associates in our series, Leaders in Service.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Leaders in Service: Barbara Johnson

 

Our next feature of the Leaders in Service series is Barbara Johnson, Stewarding Supervisor at one of our casino properties in Shreveport, Louisiana. Barbara has been with the Service Companies for over 10 years, and has shown endless dedication and remarkable leadership.

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How long have you been with The Service Companies?

I’ve been with the company for 11 years, working at two properties in the Shreveport area since I was first hired.

What role(s) have you had here and what is your current position?

I started as an EVS Attendant and was promoted to Supervisor. My background includes working on EVS and Stewarding teams and I work closely with The Service Companies’ customer’s Food & Beverage team here in Shreveport.  

What does your job entail?

My job entails making sure my team is able to do their job, from roll call and pre-shift meetings at the beginning of the shift to making sure my team members are where they need to be and has what they need. I provide my team with everything they need to succeed each day.

How do you stay motivated or how do you motivate your team members/coworkers?

I make sure my team knows that the most important part of their job is about respect for themselves, their team and their guests, and I respect them. I motivate them by making sure they have what they need to do well, and also recognize associates with giveaways and announcements to let them know they are appreciated. This past holiday season, we all pitched in for a Christmas celebration, and I made sure everyone felt included and ate well.

What do you like most about your current role?

I love my team and being around people. I enjoy communicating with them about their jobs and training, making sure they have everything they need to succeed.

You have been with The Service Companies for over 10 years. What has kept you on our team and what do you like most about the company?

I love doing my job and I like my bosses. I enjoy the environment of The Service Companies and being a part of the team.

We are thrilled to have such a tenured member on our team. Through the years, we imagine you have experienced and learned a great deal. Is there any advice you’d give to a team member who has joined The Service Companies?

I would tell them to have a positive attitude, by happy and cheerful, and get comfortable with their job.

Outside of work, what are you passionate about? What do you do when you are not working?

I like spending time with my friends and family, and being there for them when I’m needed.

At The Service Companies, we understand that our people are what makes our company great and enables us to provide our customers Service. Above All.

No matter what level, property or department, you will find exceptional associates who live and breathe our brand and have helped create a strong corporate culture. In the spirit of honoring the people and leaders within our company, we feature and interview our outstanding associates in our series, Leaders in Service.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Investing in the careers of our associates

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Occasionally, we are asked “What differentiates The Service Companies from a staffing vendor?” There are many differentiating factors, which we’ve touched on previously on the blog. One very important one is our investment in our associates and their careers.

We invest in each of our team members and their careers. Each associate, no matter their position, has a trajectory of advancement available to them. When possible, we fill open positions with our internal candidates. 250 internal promotions were given in 2017, a number we look to increase as our company grows.

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victor-vargasWe have a number of tenured associates who have risen through our ranks from Kitchen Cleaners or EVS Attendants to Vice Presidents. Victor Vargas, Vice President of Operations – Central Region, joined The Service Companies as Third Shift Kitchen Cleaner in 2002. Within two months, he was promoted to Supervisor, then joined our casino opening team in Lake Tahoe. Shortly thereafter, he became a Project Manager, City Manager and Director of Operations, until being promoted once again to Vice President of Operations – Central Region in 2009.

In addition to the numerous opportunities available within our departmental offices across the country, we also offer career development through our Developing Future Leaders Program. Our Management Training Program, Internship Program and Veteran Management Training Program, all introduce new associates to the tools needed to succeed at The Service Companies and the hospitality Industry. Our Emerging Leaders Program selects high performing individuals within our team and fosters their growth by providing management and leadership training. We also offer scholarship programs for our team members and their children who are enrolled in college or university courses.

For more information about our culture of investing in our associates, visit our website: http://theservicecompanies.com/careers/why/

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

What to consider when hiring newly displaced workers from Puerto Rico

As a result of Hurricane Maria, the United States, particularly Florida, has seen a large influx of Puerto Rican refugees looking for work. This could be great news for the hospitality industry which, with the unemployment rate reported at 4.1% in October and November and the difficulty securing workers through the H2B visa program, has struggled to find labor to fill housekeeping, public area cleaning and stewarding positions.What should the executive teams of hotels and casinos with understaffed departments be taking into consideration as they look to hire from this group of over 200,000 individuals?

First, hiring from this pool of workers is costly. Hotels and casinos must be aware that they will be incurring costs from the recruitment and onboarding processes as well as ongoing fees associated with insurance. Recruitment costs will include background checks, drug tests and e-verification in addition to travel costs to attend job fairs, and relocation and lodging fees for the new hires.

Once hired, these new associates go through the onboarding and training process. While this varies from property to property, at The Service Companies, each of our associates completes a 30-day training program for any of our fully managed services including housekeeping, EVS and Stewarding. The costs that result from training can be high. In 2016, in conjunction with Navigate Corporation, a premier management consulting firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Service Companies took a deep dive to understand the drivers of associate retention and engagement. During this study, we saw that onboarding a new associate could cost thousands of dollars. Depending on how short staffed a hotel or casino is, just the onboarding costs could quickly and easily surpass $10,000 with only a few new hires. On top of this, add the costs for medical and dental benefits, general liability and workers compensation insurance, which will continue throughout the associate’s tenure at the property.

It takes a well-capitalized company or property to be able to successfully recruit this new influx of workers. Located across the country, The Service Companies, the one-stop-shop for managed, staffing and specialty services to the hospitality and gaming industry, is one of the few with the capital and experience (over 30 years) to take on this responsibility. With our turn-key housekeeping, public area/EVS cleaning and stewarding model, we assume full accountability of a hotel or casino’s most challenging departments, handling recruiting, background, drug and e-verification checks, training and insurance. No other company has the same resources, experience or nationwide presence. To learn more, visit www.theservicecompanies.com.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Taking on the War on Talent

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The turnover rate in the hospitality industry is one of the highest of any industry: in 2016, the overall turnover rate in the Accommodations and Restaurants sector was 72.9% (up nearly a percent from 2015 and steadily increasing since 2010.)[1] With such a high turnover rate, hotels, casinos, resorts and other hospitality venues are spending millions of dollars hiring the right number of and providing consistent training to their employees. The obstacle to hire employees is compounded with the current employment climate. With an unemployment rate of 4.4%, the lowest rate seen since 2008, low wage staffing has become increasingly more difficult. Not only do hoteliers, casinos and resorts need to spend more money and time sourcing, hiring and training the right candidates, but high turnover threatens their ability to deliver a high quality of service and guest experience. At The Service Companies, we call this the “War on Talent”.

Our leaders have noticed this War on Talent intensify over the last few years and, in 2016, The Service Companies invested a significant amount of time and capital to understanding the underlying issues that drive turnover of hourly workers and developing solutions to these obstacles. The first step in this process was partnering with Navigate Corporation, a premier human resources management consulting firm in Philadelphia, to dive deep into the drivers of associate engagement and retention. We also created a dedicated team, our Associate Success and Retention team, to work with Navigate, analyze trends, develop solutions and execute them across The Service Companies portfolio.

Our Associate Success and Retention team have taken a data-driven approach, looking at job types, days of tenure, accounts with highest turnover, reasons for termination and regions, and created cohorts to identify trends on why associates depart after a specific amount of time. From there, we have developed customized solutions for each cohort, analyzing the efficacy of each solution as they are implemented across each of our customers’ properties nationwide. The solutions include the launch of new engagement programs, a new training and onboarding experience that creates consistency across all properties and services, and new tools that encourage collaboration and communication among our various teams.

The War on Talent will not solve itself. In fact, it will only become more difficult for hospitality companies to find the right talent. With turnover costs steadily increasing, we see tremendous value to solving these problems and we have taken on the responsibility to fix these issues for our customers. If you’d like to learn how we can solve this problem for you, contact us here and one of our team members will contact you right away.

[1] http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Hospitality-employee-turnover-rate-edged-higher-in

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Stepping into the Shoes of a New Hire

Countless studies have shown that each newly hired associate goes through several emotional phases during the new hire experience, and a few more during the course of the succeeding months following their first 90 days. Results vary but, generally, he or she will go through 3 phases: the Discovery Phase, Learning Phase and Development Phase.

New hires will constantly be rethinking the newly chosen career path within the Discovery Phase, which typically spans the first 2 months on the job. During this period, new associates question their tenure at the company. Their perception of their role and the company is easily swayed, either positively or negatively. During the Learning Phase, within the first three months of being hired, new hires typically feel instability and self-doubt. By the 6th month, the Development Phase, new associates become more comfortable and begin to see their future at the company.

As managers responsible for the onboarding and integration of new team members into our organization, it is critical that we pay attention to how our new associates are feeling, stay constantly engaged and understand generation gaps. The best way to retain your new associates (especially the high performing ones) is to carefully recognize the pulse of your new team member experience. Ask questions, check with their counterparts and observe performance.

Understanding the 3 phases of a new hire

Discovery Phase

  1. Set the right tone with onboarding: When the new team member arrives, he or she will carefully observe and either eagerly work themselves into, or talk themselves out of being part of your team. Newly hired team members tend to be highly sensitive about their new surroundings. The leadership or management team should promote an enticing culture, be accommodating and also provide clear expectations. Don’t forget to give the associate an extra warm welcome. We will only encourage them to doubt their decisions of joining the team if we fail to provide a warm atmosphere right from the beginning.
  2. Put your corporate culture on display: A new hire will carefully study whether the organization is the right fit for them. It is imperative that we create an atmosphere where we encourage an open door policy so that they feel comfortable and safe. Leaders must constantly connect with new team members and make every effort to recognize small milestones they may be achieving on a daily basis. Reassurance is critical during this stage and continues to be a factor for the succeeding months.

Learning Phase

  1. Provide feedback: This is the stage where the leader, the team and the associate are all getting to learn more about each other. There will be differences and camaraderie formed amongst the group, and leaders need to recognize how each part of the puzzle will work, how everyone can contribute and how the team can work together effectively. Leaders need to consistently provide constructive and objective feedback because this will set precedence to a coaching type atmosphere. With this in mind, make sure that the performance is measureable and attainable, the instructions provided are clear and there is room for learning.
  2. Coaching: In this stage, a general understanding of a few mechanics within the team culture is developed. It becomes a source of inspiration when team members receive the proper coaching and they feel that they are set up for success. Make sure to provide one-on-one feedback during this time. Effective dialogue stems from being objective and balancing any failure with deserved recognition.

Development Phase

  1. Promote inclusion: Nurture your team member by making them feel included by letting them sit in on a leadership meeting, highlighting a best practice which they excelled on, or asking them how they would resolve an issue or challenge. When the associate feels that they are a productive contributor, he or she will take more pride in their personal brand and feel valued.
  2. Make them feel safe: Employees need to feel secure about their jobs to perform effectively. They will ultimately be more productive and glide through departmental expectations without feeling the need to worry about job security. Once the associate feels safe, he or she is no longer in the Development Phase. From here, as a leader you can fine tune skills as the employee becomes a tenured member of your team.
Teresa joined The Service Companies in September 2016. As the Director of Training and Strategic Operations, she and her team are responsible for driving associate engagement and retention as The Service Companies becomes the employer of choice for hourly associates.