Guest Post

Investing in Your Employees Creates Empowerment

by Anupam Narayan

Even in extremely difficult times where cost containment and reductions in force are necessary evils, there are ways to engage employees to become your best brand ambassadors. Red Lion Hotels launched a couple of programs that have extended the brand's reach far beyond what typical marketing can accomplish and in a much more powerful way: word of mouth. We've experienced the impact of having our employees at all levels and disciplines recommend stays and meeting space at their hotels to friends, families, and the associations and social groups they belong to. We've created a commission structure to reward them financially for these leads. Most of these guests have not stayed with us before, and their bookings created incremental business for us. We also created a program offering a very low promotional room rate for the employees and their friends and family to get them to stay at our hotels. You might think of these as mere promotional programs, but the net result continues to be the empowerment the employees feel because they are having a real tangible affect on the success of the business. I feel, too, that it boosts their own desire to perform well and focus on customer service because they want their friends and family to have a great experience with the hotels.

We didn't stop investing in our employees. We could have pulled back on all training programs but instead chose to continue a focus we had started on frontline training basics for specific departments. As a company that has gone through many changes over the past several years, we recognized the need to standardize our onboarding process and create a culture of learning from the get-go. We were just ready to move forward with this initiative when the economy nose-dived. It would have been very easy to put it off another two years but we didn't.

In this time of uncertainty, our employees have appreciated the investment our company is making in their success. I really feel the long term benefit in investing in our employee base will position us well as we start to climb out of this difficult economic climate. Our employees will know that they had a role to play in the climb.

Anupam Narayan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Lion Hotels Corporation primarily engaged in operating and franchising Red Lion Hotels, a full service hotel brand with locations throughout the western US.

  1. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

    Comment by Polprav — 10/22/2009 @ 8:37 PM

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