The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Category: Associate Success

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.