The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Category: Retention

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.

Distributing Soap in Guadalajara with Clean The World & Caesars Entertainment

Social responsibility is important to us and we drive corporate social responsibility among our clients. In early November, we partnered with Caesars Entertainment and Clean The World for the fifth consecutive year to send two members of our housekeeping teams on a service trip to distribute recycled soap and hygiene kits to underserved youth and communities. This year, Cynthia Isrow (EVS Supervisor in Laughlin) and Yerky Santana (Housekeeping Supervisor at a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip) were selected to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico with Clean The World and Caesars Entertainment’s winners.

Their trip began in Las Vegas, where the group received a tour of Clean The World’s Recycling Operations Center, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, to learn how Clean The World takes, sanitizes and repackages partially used soaps and hotel amenities collected by our associates. In Guadalajara, through Children International, Cynthia, Yerky and the trip participants spent three days distributing soap to impoverished families and taught them how to properly wash their hands to prevent disease.

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Now that they have returned from their trip, we took some time to speak with Cynthia and Yerky about the trip and how it affected them. Read our interview and view the photos from the trip below.

What was your reaction to hearing you were selected to go on the soap distribution trip to Guadalajara?

Cynthia: At first, I was a bit uneasy about traveling to Mexico. But I was very excited to have the opportunity to go.

Yerky: I was excited to go. I lived in Guadalajara for a time, so I know about the city and the living conditions in which many of the people live. I knew that by going with this group, I would be able to make a big impact. 

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What were your expectations of the trip when you were selected? How were they the same as or different than what you experienced?

Cynthia: I expected that we were just there to hand out soap, but it turned out to be so much more than that. We spent time with the families and children we were helping along with Children International. It was a very rewarding experience.

Yerky: The trip ended up being more impactful than I expected it to be. For me, I left Guadalajara thinking more about how other people live and the opportunities available to them. Before, I was more concerned about my life; now not so much.

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What advice or information can you give our associates participating in the Clean The World initiative on property?

Cynthia: Keep doing it. Collecting the soap is so important. To us, it might just be soap, but to others, it’s life. I am vocal about how important this is on property.

Yerky: People may not think about how much they can help others by collecting the partially used soaps left behind by guests. On the trip, I saw that one bar of soap has a big impact on these communities. One bar of soap for us is not a big deal, but for the people in Guadalajara, it’s life changing. I would encourage everyone to collect as much soap as possible.

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It is amazing to hear that one bar of soap, which may be something we take for granted, has such a significant affect on a family or community. Has this trip impacted you in any way?

Cynthia: It has impacted me in so many ways. Other than wanting to be more involved with my team, I am looking at sponsoring a child in Guadalajara through Children International. Hopefully by January, it will be all set up. When I was in Guadalajara, I saw how the programs Children International provides these families are so effective and I want to give one child the opportunity to have his or her education, medical bills and more covered. I left Mexico believing that one person can change one life.

Yerky: When we’re cleaning guest rooms, we don’t think about how the soap or toilet paper we collect is important. I left driven to do more to help people less fortunate. I’m just one person, and even though I can make a difference, this trip made me realize the great potential people with resources have to combat poverty in the world. I made a promise to myself to contribute more, but more people have to get involved.

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What was the most memorable part of the trip?

Cynthia: There was a mother that we met that I will never forget. When we were teaching the kids how to properly wash their hands, each would receive a gold star sticker. She also really wanted to learn and she was so excited to get a gold sticker. She was so thankful and grateful to receive the sticker, which is burned in my mind. This trip put my life into perspective and was a mind opening experience. The people we were helping work from 5am to 11pm each day and only make $150 per month. They make the most out of what they have, which is an important lesson for us all.

Yerky: For me, there were two very memorable parts to the trip. The first was when we visited a family at home. We showed everyone, from the children to the grandmother, how to wash their hands. Visiting them reminded me that my family and I used to live like this in Cuba. I understood how hard they work just to buy some bread and milk. It put my life into perspective. The second memorable experience for me was the visit to the Clean The World Recycling Factory in Las Vegas, where we saw how the soaps we collect are sanitized and repackaged into new soap.

5Are there any other memorable moments from the trip you’d like to share?

Cynthia: There was a moment with Yerky interacting with a child during a home visit that I think was memorable for all of us. Yerky asked the boy how many times he could jump on one foot in a minute. The boy responded with 50 times. Yerky stopped the boy after 30 seconds of jumping and told him that he jumped 78 times in half the time. Yerky told the boy to never underestimate himself and to always realize what he is capable of. Yerky shared that he was poor, just like the boy, growing up in Cuba and being told the limits to what he could do in life. Yerky continued that now he lives in the United Sates working on the Las Vegas strip, has traveled to 48 countries and accomplishing what he sets his heart to.

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What an incredible story. Cynthia, how has your team in Laughlin been so successful in collecting unused amenities that are donated to Clean The World?

Cynthia: Through constant encouragement. I think now that I can share my experience with them, they will begin to realize the value of what we do and we will be even more successful.

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Both of you have mentioned that now that you’ve returned, you want to do more. Can you elaborate on that?

Cynthia: I’ve already started looking at hosting community hygiene kit builds and getting more involved with Clean The World here in Nevada.

Yerky: I’d like to start volunteering, even if it’s just one day a week. I know I can make a difference, no matter how small the task.

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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.