The overall approach and treatment of trainees in our industry keeps amazing me. How come we only want to offer positions that helps us as a hotel and preferably pay nothing or absolute as little as possible to keep our costs down, with little or no reflection on what long term damage we are doing.
Over the past 22 years that I have been in the hotel industry I have been hearing senior managers saying:
"We are giving young people an opportunity to put our logo on their CV"
"Well they are not really doing anything, we are just showing them everything and then they leave".
The amount of comments like the two above are endless and the reasoning behind them are so lame that it is unbelievable if people actually believe it themselves or if they are just constructing arguments to fit their needs.
Regardless what the reasonings are for not paying the trainee, the long term damage should not be ignored.
A very plausible example could be a Food & Beverage trainee coming from a hotel school. He is only 17 and is in school 3 days a week. He gets to do what? Mostly likely a hotel will put him in the breakfast waiter team cleaning tables and refill cutlery and coffee cups. This task can be trained fairly quickly and since he is fairly switched on, he masters the task in less than a week. So we keep the trainee for 6-8 weeks or even more working as part of the team on the breakfast, becoming as useful as one of the regular team members.
The trainee is then moved on to lunch and evening service, if in a better hotel there might be several outlets to work in and several positions to learn and master together with the POS (point of sale) system. Our trainee is quick and has within 2-4 weeks understood the idea of a waiter’s job, and is then moved from shadowing an experienced waiter to going on the schedule like all the other waiters. He is now working for another 8 weeks as a waiter when he is not attending school. If he is lucky he has been paid minimum trainee salary, while doing the same job as the rest of the team.
You might argue that he has been useful to the hotel during the time he has been working as part of the team and not during training. You might also argue that he has been a burden and therefor the working part is “payback” and he is still gaining experience.
I argue that he has actually been productive his entire trainee time:
What affect does this treatment have on our young people who are about to decide if they want a career in our industry?
By paying bare minimum and using the trainees to their maximum, we are teaching them that this is the right way to treat people in our industry.
We are teaching our future managers that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to abuse people and let people work extensively for minimum reward.
Last week I did a farewell conversation with a very clever young lady who left our hotel after a 3 months’ internship. During the talk I asked her, what made her choose PARKHOTEL over the other hotels, that I knew, she had interviewed with 4 months earlier. She told me that there were many reasons, however there were 3 main reasons:
I am grateful and thankful that Bara decided to work with us, as everyone in the hotel truly enjoyed working, teaching and learning with her during her 3 months with us.
I wish Bara all the luck in the world with her future studies and Ireland and maybe she decided to join our industry after all, as she had in her own words “an amazing experience in our hotel”.
Have a great evening everyone,
If you believe in better treatment of people, join us on 10th of November for Prague’s second Happiness at work conference. I will talk about “Happy Hotel Employees”. www.happinessatwork.cz
My passions are managing and improving the results of hotels through employee centered processes. My motto: "Put your employees first and the rest will follow. Don't just say it - show it through the actions that you take".