Expecting an employee to stay with you forever is a myth, according to Pamini Hemaprabha, executive housekeeper, Emirates Palace.
In the second panel discussion, of the Hotel News ME Executive Housekeepers Summit, entitled ‘Recruitment and training in a transient market’, Hemaprabha said: “If you keep a fish in a pond he will end up thinking the pond is the ocean.
“I groom according to skills as not everyone can become executive housekeeper, so if a person doesn’t grow within two years then there is something wrong with the person or the system. There has to be a reward in cash or recognition as nobody will enjoy staying in a job indefinitely without change. Unfortunately, in the UAE we don’t have the luxury of annual pay rises so we have only one choice – promote them or let them go.”
Nadaf Allabaksh, executive housekeeper, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, added: “I look for people to fit the company culture not just the job; they must know our culture. In this market people jump from one to another looking for a better opportunity and this is our biggest challenge. When you lose someone it costs you one year salary from revenue.
Despite the transient market in the UAE, Lakmal Mawella, executive housekeeper, The Palace Downtown Dubai, believes we should all look to keep people longer. “We should recruit based on behaviour and not work as they can be trained, and don’t promise promotion but give them a long term vision.
Vagelyn Federico, director of human resources, Dusit Thani Dubai said that it was crucial to address staff requests in terms of their achievement or they will start looking for a new job. “No matter how emotional or intelligent you are as a leader you must spend more time understanding staff needs. People leave or stay because of people not salaries.”
For Javed Imran, executive housekeeper, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, Jumeirah Beach, retaining staff comes down to offering market value salaries. He said: “Every year we do a survey and compare salaries from other hotels, hiking our salaries were required.”
Imran also believes that it is crucial to have a personal development plan for each employee and to promote internally. “We choose a candidate that is progressing very well and we sit together and do quarterly appraisals and set personal development goals. Rewards are also an important part of our strategy.