and the rest will follow - by MONIKA HILM
Happiness starts with the people who work in the organisation.
Everything you will do after reading this book will start with focus on the people you work with.
You will learn why happiness is the best tool to grow your business, hold on to your people and to have happy clients, customers and guests that keeps coming back.
Throughout the book, I am telling the stories of the many hoteliers that I have interviewed in person, via Skype or LinkedIn, as well as stories from my 22 years in the hospitality industry in 9 countries on 3 continents.
Today the hospitality industry is so focused on guests and technology that we do not give adequate time and resources to really improve the environment for the people that matters the most; our crew, team members, associates or whatever you like to call the people that work in the business.
I want to challenge the hotel approach to focus on care for people for real. The heart that it takes to look after your team on a daily basis, as well as when they are at their weakest; insecure, sick, pregnant, maternity & paternity leave or death in family.
I would like to see more companies taking the approach of: Doing what is right, rather than what is right by the book as companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos are doing.
The hotel structure is old and have been the same for centuries, it should be changed and challenged in order to meet the future.
It all starts with adjusting the size and shape of the box in which we operate, rather than asked everyone to think out of the box. I believe new structures, like self- management, could very well work for hotels, but it requires more inspirational leadership, rather than self-centered hierarchical managers.
PUT YOUR PEOPLE FIRST is for people about how to deal with other people at work (example stories are from hotels):
The chapters are:
What made me write this book?
A few years back I wrote a LinkedIn post, that has now circled the world multipiple times; raising debates and emotions whenever it surfaces. The LinkedIn post was about being tired of abusive guests who threatens with social media if they don’t get what they want, but the message was really about senior managers who for decades have overruled employees in order to please the misbehaving “guests” and by doing so reinforced their behavior.
WHAT THE READERS SAY ABOUT THE BOOK
“Monika has captured the true essence of the importance of happy people in your organization and not just in the hospitality industry but across all industries where people interact with customers. A must read for those in the hotel business where the author, Monika, a hotelier, has demonstrated how successful this approach can be…”
- Girish Jhunjhnuwala Founder & CEO Ovolo Hotels, Hong Kong
Monika has captured the true essence of the importance of happy people in your organization and not just in the hospitality industry but across all industries where people interact with customers. A must read for those in the hotel business where the author, Monika, a hotelier, has demonstrated how successful this approach can be…”
Girish Jhunjhnuwala Founder & CEO Ovolo Hotels, Hong Kong
I am really enjoying the book and the hands-on approach to all things related to good leadership. As you say, work from where the fish stinks: the head. I lived the different aspects of the T. Rex and recognized many others who have been part of my career path and the reason I opted out of what sometimes were great jobs. I also love the talk on motivation and rewards. The thrust is happiness... and the very significant role leaders play in making the workplace happier.”
Michelle Baker, Owner of The Barefoot Facilitator and executive coach
No back-breaking number crunching has ever made a company great – but aspiration and inspiration does! The best leaders think, talk and act in the best interest of their people first, not numbers. …if you want to explore more how to do this, sit down somewhere comfortable with a nice view and read Monika´s book… ;)”
Rupert Simoner, CEO Vienna House
Thank you so much for your reply and the connection on LinkedIn.
As I said I want to help and change the industry. I feel every one in the hospitality industry should read your book. If my story would help sell you book then you may definitely use it.
Thank you so much for offering your help. Connecting with you on LinkedIn already helps a lot. If you are ever in the Netherlands I would love to have a coffee and talk about the industry. If I can do anything for you please let me know.
I hope you have a great valentine!
Dear Monika Hilm,
I just finished reading your book, Put your people first. I really enjoined reading it and just wanted to let you know.
We share a similar dream or believe. I too want to help hotel management/ owners implement a happiness structure focused on their team. I have some personal experiences in the matter. I started my career in the hospitality industry. It was my first love. I was so happy at work spending time with guests. I had the opportunity to make promotion but then I encountered as you say an Mr. T. Rex manager and chose to leave. I stared doubting myself. Found another job and got to experience an hotel opening. Which is a great teambuilder. Then I turned 30 and wanted to have a family. The only examples I had of management working in hotels who had a family wasn’t how I pictured it. The men had wife’s at home taking care of the kids and would see them when they could. As they spend 60+ hours a week in the hotel that was not often. I only had two female examples, the first proudly talked about that she returned to work two days after the birth. The other joked about her kids calling the nanny mom. Since I wanted to be the mom this wasn’t an option for me. I resigned from the hotel industry. As I’m writing this, I actually get sad, I loved it some much. I wonder what had happened to me if I had someone like you as a role model.
I had different jobs which still where connected to the hotel industry. I worked for companies who hotels would hire to do the housekeeping. There I saw a lot of well almost abuse of the cleaning staff. The way they treated the staff wasn’t okay. I worked in HR had to execute these unfair policies but had no say in them. Well you as an expert at the topic can imagine what that did with my happiness at work. I got stressed, sick and eventually a burn-out. Again I resigned and found a new job and got better. Now I’m a mom of two beautiful daughters, 34 years old and often find myself wondering is this it? There has been a feeling inside me for a long time that the hospitality industry should take better care of their people. I did some research if there was information about happiness especially in hotels. That is how I found your book.
I would like to thank you for writing it. Your book gave me perspective that things could be different. That change doesn’t have to be complicated. It gave me a new purpose. I started my own company (I’m still it the process) to help hotels create a safe, appreciative and fun place to work. Where you can be you.
I’m sorry for the long and personal message. It must be weird for you to get a message like this. I think it is that you write such personal stories, things that happened to you. It feels like I know you. I just had to let you know you made an impact. Again thank you so much, you gave me hope of happiness at my job.
I have just finished your book put your people first two minutes ago and wanted to share my feelings right away.
I also, like you, am working in Parkhotel but in Pilsen as a housekeeping manager. I don't even know how I did find out about your book but my friend from USA had to send it to me cause I couldn't get it anywhere here in the Czech Republic and I really needed to read this!
I have to tell you that your book really helped me see what is going on in my work life right now.
I have always been a hard working person and always got the best comments on my work and behavior. I worked in services as long as I can remember from stores to language school to hotels and always was so happy.
After starting in Parkhotel - for the first time in my life I felt like the worst employee in the world. I was constantly criticized and put down by my boss. I spent a year feeling absolutely worthless and it also showed on my health. I decided to start doing something with the health issues and it was very clearly said to me by my doctor that I should leave this hotel and start doing something else. But that is not me. I stayed in the hotel and tried to approach my boss differently. We never saw each other in the eye. We both had a completely different approach to people and work. He is as you call it a T REX manager. He works on scaring people and getting what he wants by tormenting his employees.
After my health issues I had to manage to keep my head in a good place and try to create a safe place at work. I started to not being afraid in telling my opinions and looking my boss in the eye. I started to focus rather on my team than my boss. He always hated my approach - fun, happy, honest, friendly... I wanted my team to be happy coming to work not like me with stomach ache.
After 2 years in this hotel I can easily say my team is happy that I am its leader. I know that even if by my boss I am not doing the best job I can tell by my team that I am. Not saying I am perfect...still so much to learn in leading people. I have quite a big team about 20 people and different nationalities. It comes with some language barriers and some misunderstanding and every person reacts to a different approach as you KNOW.
Basically I just wanted to say. That its so nice to be not only person in the world wanting something else for this industry. After reading your book I finally feel like I am doing something right and that being a different manager can be a good manager. and by not listening to all the rules you can be a good leader.
Thank you so so much for your book. I love this industry and I am so happy to read all the stories you had told us.
If you ever find yourself in Pilsen. Please give us a visit in Parkhotel.
My boss needs and intervention :D :D
With love and respect
Greetings from Provence. I hope this email finds you and your family well.
We met in Copenhagen during the conference on Happiness at Work. You kindly treat me with a copy of your book that I just finished to read today.
First of all congratulations for writing this book. Having been in the hospitality industry for sometime, your book resonate very much with me.
I really loved the T.Rex chapter, I can relate very much to the different situation you are describing. I am sure this chapter has raised few eyebrows with some GM but all the credit goes to you for raising it. I was far from being perfect as a leader but the human component has always been essential to me. I did my best with what I learned on the job, the heart was at the right place, I was always aware that the success was due to the team and I was lucky enough to be part of it. There are times I could have done differently or better, I have made mistakes but learned from it. My goal for the last few years has been to make work FUN for all and it has such an incredible impact on the team and the guest experience.
I was sensible to the Purpose chapter as it has become with time a strong point of interest to me. I joined the tourism industry (few years back…) because I did not want to live like everybody else and wanted to travel the world, meet, discover, learn from different cultures. It is through these different experiences that I realise after my first posting as GM in Bora Bora that I wanted to be a responsible GM that measure its results by integrating the human and environmental elements and making a positive impact on them. 7 years ago I decided to change life because I did not feel a sense of purpose with my very materiel/financial/status position, waking up on the morning with no smile. Today the smile is back, I am helping company to design their purpose and as you rightly mentioned it by ending their team in the design and the appropriation so their purpose can live through the organisation on the daily basis. It is a really powerful and meaningful tool for a company.
I enjoyed reading your book. It is easy to read, very straight forward and any hotelier can relate to it. It is a good opportunity for any leader to step back, think about his leadership as well as an opportunity to get some ideas to improve and make a positive impact on his team.
I will write a post on LinkedIn and hope more people will read it. Hopefully it will help some T.Rex to make positive changes. Who knows?
Once again thank you for the gift. If my memory is good you are moving back home. I would like to wish you and your family all the best of FUN coming back home. We are living in a small world and I am sure we will meet again.
Until then, Have a fun week.