by Egi Gaisie

The first hotel I worked in was big, at least by Ghanaian standards; 166 rooms. It housed not only the guestrooms but eating places, formal and informal; a  bar, entertainment and leisure facilities, two retail shops, a bank, hairdressing salon & barber shop, a desk each for car rentals and a travel agency. There were banqueting and conference facilities as well. As far as I was concerned then, it was a world within a world, because everything a guest wanted was within reach. I was a front desk clerk/ a hotel receptionist.

It was not long before I entered into the world of the Hiltons, Sheratons, Marriott’s, and many others. I was ‘wowed’ by their sheer size, the number of rooms; the varied facilities under one roof, the glamour on display and the details!

What I imagined to be a world within a world in Ghana became like a drop in a bucket. Today the largest hotels in the world have between 4,219 rooms (Ambassador City Jomtien (Thailand), and 7,351 rooms Genting Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia. Can you imagine the size of their workforce? And how they are managed?

Without personnel, hotels are simply huge structures of mere brick and mortar. Like any organization however, their success or failure depend upon their employees.

As a prelude to hosting a colleague professional whose area of specialization is human resources, I thought I should provide my readers some basic information by which we could all base our judgments when we begin objective assessments of ourselves. Nothing is more dangerous than being faced with a problem or difficulty and ignoring it. So let us take the bull by the horn!

People holding positions in the hotel industry may broadly be divided into categories; unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled and managerial. Men dominate managerial positions (not that this really matters but it may serve as crucial information later). Shift work and long hours seem to be a norm. In Ghana, there also seems to be a wide disparity in working conditions (including pay) between employees of privately owned and operated Ghanaian hotels and those owned and managed by international groups. It must be noted also that by GTA(Ghana Tourism Authority) statistics about a whooping 70% of licensed formal accommodation establishments are budget hotels and only approximately 24% are star-rated while the remaining 6% are operating as guest houses.

It is obvious that employees are hired to carry out specific tasks culminating as ‘jobs’. The personnel’s continuous stay on the job depends on performance, all things being equal.

Employee performance generally has to do with the application of effective effort. In the first place employees must be putting the right amount of effort into their work. This effort will be ineffective if the employee does not have the skills and abilities to carry out the tasks assigned to the standard required; the right personnelHaving right personnel is JUST part of the whole equation to performance!

If the job has not been correctly designed to be efficient or the standards expected have not been communicated, time, energy and consumables are wasted. There is need to determine tasks with their standards; the right job.

right atmosphere is required to support personnel and to avoid conflict. Employees must be scheduled to cope with the peaks and lows of demand; the right place at the right time.

Performance then, is the right person applying the right effort to the right job in the right atmosphere in the right place at the right time.

In discussing personnel issues among hotel owners and managers, ‘performance’ seems to be a concern however words I hear seem to be in discord with actions observed.

You can be the difference!

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