Chapter 5 - A visit from Marco….
One thing you learn very early on in an HR career is that there are ALWAYS two sides to a story, and if you’re a well respected HR Professional, you’re usually lucky enough to hear both (or unlucky depending on how you view it) Being proactive, I always like to seek out both sides to enable a well-rounded picture of events. Sometimes, I’d get beaten to it!
As if by magic, Marco appeared. What I always enjoyed about designing and delivering induction training in hotels, was being able to position myself as “Available” an open door policy, and a trusted source of advice, help and sometimes just a friendly ear. I built strong relationships with Heads of Departments who liked the fact that I was available for their team members. I was never viewed as a threat, but someone who promoted harmony and helped solve issues from a slightly different perspective, for the good of everyone, and the business. As a Hospitality HR Manager, you need to wear lots of hats and you can change them many, many times a day… sometimes good cop, sometimes bad cop but always a respectful cop and with the best interests of people at heart.
So, in comes Marco. He isn’t happy. I’m not surprised by this. I let him talk as it’s important he can get everything off his chest. I always encourage team members to talk to someone that can help instead of moaning to their colleagues in the hope that they all don’t spiral into doom and gloom. Marco feels let down. He feels that we over-promised and under-delivered in terms of his training. What’s more, he is absolutely right.
Hospitality is an ever changing beast. The best laid plans often fail. All the preparation in the world cannot protect you from a restaurant full of guests and 3 of the team off sick. Invariably the restaurant manager is now running a section, which means she isn’t spending time arranging cover for breakfast and lunch the next day and by midnight when she’s stopped for a breather, it’s far too late to do anything anyway and then it goes on. What is important, is recognising and accepting when things have gone wrong and dealing with it head on, rather than sweeping it under the carpet.
So, Marco, has been caught in the crossfire.
I talk to him and explain all this. I apologise and empathise and remind him of the challenges we will always face in this industry and why. I tell him about the things we put in place to try and avoid this and agree with him that on this occasion, we failed. I tell him about the conversation I had with Sarah and the plans we have to turn this situation around. I let him know that Sarah will be sitting down with him over a coffee to go through his training plan. He is happy with this outcome. I ask Marco to tell me how he is settling into the team and the staff house and he lets me know that Mary, one of the Housekeepers is being a bit difficult and not overly friendly. I make a mental note to catch up with Mary.
I reiterate to Marco that my door is always open, that if he has any other concerns to come and see me and that I will find him and check in with him in a week to see how things are going.
He leaves considerably happier than when he came in.
Next time……. There’s something about Mary….
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