The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Tag: tips

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.

Stewarding

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.

Carpet Cleaning Processes

Carpet Care and the Guest Experiencecarpetcleaning

The appearance of a property’s carpets can affect a guest’s experience and impression of the hotel or casino. I have seen occasions where carpet appearance has impacted guest satisfaction survey ratings. Carpets throughout the building are exposed daily to high traffic, heavy soils and spills, and chewing gum, and are many times, the first areas of a hotel, resort or casino to show signs of wear and tear. At The Service Companies, we have spent years evaluating different types of carpet care processes for both carpet deep cleaning and interim maintenance to keep our customers’ properties’ carpets in excellent condition. We have furthered that by partnering with Ecolab and Kärcher for our chemical and equipment needs at all of our customer properties.

 

The Importance of Daily Carpet Vacuuming

Customers normally bring soil, dirt and other types of debris into buildings. A daily vacuuming regimen with a strong suction vacuum cleaner is our best tip to maintain the cleanliness of the carpets. This will pick up the debris and soil, leaving the carpets fresh for the next day. It is also the best chemical-free carpet cleaning method for those who want to avoid using chemicals.

If this daily carpet maintenance is done correctly, then, when the time to shampoo the carpets comes, only a mild shampoo and water is required  to clean the fibers. Because of the daily vacuuming, there will be no soil remaining in the carpet fibers to turn to mud. 

 

The Process of Interim MaintenanceED-Carpet-1

Of course, interim maintenance is required on occasion to keep carpets in good condition. The two processes I detail – encapsulation shampoo and dry carpet cleaning (HOST) – are quick and do not use water, which allow the carpets to be open for traffic immediately after the process is complete. They normally clean the top fiber of the carpets and can be applied frequently.

Encapsulation shampoo: Polymers are used to encapsulate and crystalize particles into dry residue, which is then vacuumed from the carpets right after the process is completed.

Dry carpet cleaning (HOST): This involves a dry cleaning compound with mild soap.

The HOST carpet cleaning equipment has brushes which agitate the compound, clean the fibers, and vacuum them.

 

The Carpet Deep Cleaning Process     FullSizeRender (9) (1)

When it comes time to deep clean your carpets, we prefer hot water extraction and steam cleaning.

Hot water extraction: This is the most common method of carpet deep cleaning, and is recommended by many carpet manufacturers.

Steam cleaning:  In the dry carpet cleaning vs. steam cleaning debate, it’s important to clear up the myth that steam is actually used to clean your carpets. While home and commercial machines use hot water, which gives off steam, the steam itself does not clean carpet.

 

To inquire about our carpet cleaning services, visit http://theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

Victor Vargas, Regional Vice President of Operations, launched his career at The Service Companies as a Third Shift Kitchen Cleaner in 2002. With dedication and mastery of his craft, he has advanced through the company into his current role as Regional Vice President. Victor is The Service Companies’ resident expert on all types of floor care and kitchen cleaning.

Driving The Check-In Metric

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When you think of an efficient check-in process, does the Front Desk operation come to mind? As hospitality experts, we all understand that the efficiency of the Front Desk and check-in relies tremendously on what happens behind the scenes within the Housekeeping operation. Without having sufficient inventory of clean rooms, they cannot satisfy early check-ins or unpredictable guest demands.

From my experience as a Front Office Manager and Director of Housekeeping, I developed processes and a guide that would ensure guestroom check-in efficiency. At The Service Companies, we employ these in all our of our Housekeeping departments across the country.

To download a copy of the guide, filled with best practices, fill in your information below.

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Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.

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.