Susan and I just had the wonderful pleasure of spending a day interviewing 11 people at Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center to try to uncover their secret – because they have gotten the formula right on employee motivation. Anyone who has ever stepped into their facility outside of Minneapolis can attest to the customer service mentality that every employee exhibits – from the front desk, to housekeeping, to the chefs, groundskeepers, and even in accounting. There is a definite difference in how the majority of these employees “show up” at their job everyday and how they view and take care of their “guests”. They are truly a company that is doing something right. While we haven’t had time to fully analyze the interviews (we will in the upcoming weeks), there are a few things that I can say definitively:
1. Leadership counts – the one overriding conclusion that hit us in the face was how important leadership is in this process – they need to be present, genuine, and focused on the right things.
2. Its not about the money – I was a little surprise to hear (actually to NOT hear) about bonus plans or contests or other recognition that had a big dollar value. It wasn’t important. It didn’t drive their day-to-day activities or play an integral part in their motivation.
3. It is about the team – teamwork was an overriding theme in all of the interviews that we did. It wasn’t ever about “my job” but instead about serving the customer. If that means that top managers have to change sheets, then that is what happens.
4. Genuine recognition rejuvenates – real, honest recognition that is done on a regular basis, in public, helps reinvigorate and help drive the culture. Knowing that their work is important and recognized keeps people engaged.
5. Its about people – employees were seen as people first. Management spent time getting to know them, getting to understand who they were, spending time finding out about their families and interests. They care and it shows.
Over the next few weeks we will let you know more about our findings and get in depth with some analysis. Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center has been kind enough to give us access to their people and allow us to share our insights with you. There is something to learn here if you are interested in creating a workforce that is motivated and engaged. Stay tuned!