Time for a Core Competencies Checkup: A New Year's Checklist for HR Personnel
As we head toward the end of another year and look forward to a fresh start in 2009, many of us are taking stock of our personal and professional lives, checking progress toward goals, and dreaming up new plans for the future. The transition to a new calendar year has long been a time for evaluations, resolutions, and self-improvement campaigns. But why stop with just personal plans and goals? The New Year is also the perfect time to plan and map out organizational changes, as well.
These days, many hospitality industry firms are getting back to basics and playing up their key strengths as a means of beating back economic woes and boosting their bottom lines. Even in the worst of times, your organization can carve out a niche for itself by knowing what you do best – and doing it better than anyone else can. The impending New Year is the ideal time to remind your team exactly where they excel and help them sharpen up their fundamental skills.
Core Competencies Translate Across the Organization
Whether you’re an HR staff member, a front-of-the-house employee, or an operations manager, there are a set of universal core competencies that help define your ability to excel in your particular role. Although the details of your day-to-day responsibilities are unique, there are a few basic skills that transcend your job title and apply to every member of your organization, whether they’re stationed in the storeroom or the boardroom.
According to management consultant Florence M. Stone, author of The High-Value Manager: Developing the Core Competencies Your Organization Demands, you can significantly improve your performance by reviewing your core competencies periodically and adapting your workflow and daily routine to better align with and reflect your key strengths.
So, what are the core competencies that point the way to success for workers in the hospitality industry? Use this checklist to conduct your own New Year’s audit and refresh your basic skill set.
A focus on excellent customer service.
Top-quality customer care is a must in every service sector, but it’s particularly important in the hospitality industry. Experts say it is crucial to help your staff develop a customer-oriented outlook that pervades everything they do. Even if you don’t deal directly with guests, excellent customer service is crucial – whether your “customers” are fellow employees or the patrons that you rarely encounter face-to-face.
Strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
No matter which area of the hospitality industry you work in, it’s vital that you’re able to set aside your emotional responses to problems and put on your analytical thinking cap. Effective customer service hinges on your ability to get “over and above” the situation at hand, devise multiple solutions, and choose the best one – all in a matter of minutes.
Drive, determination, and a positive attitude.
These valuable assets are much more than mere résumé clichés. In a service-centric field like the hospitality industry, skating by with a minimum level of effort just isn’t enough. Encourage your team members to start each shift with an attitude audit and a conscious decision to dedicate 110% of their focus and effort.
Effective communication and conflict resolution skills.
Experts say that effective communication skills are a must for excellence in the workplace. This year, try to move beyond the basics with techniques like active listening, “I”-based statements, and clear and specific language. If poor communication skills are an ongoing challenge for your team, consider scheduling a few refresher workshops or training sessions in 2009.
Empowerment, responsibility, and accountability.
Many dysfunctional teams get mired down in pointless habits like passing blame and shirking responsibility. Create a culture in which each employee feels empowered to make decisions. Encourage team members to take responsibility for their actions and choices, and implement a system of compassionate but rigorous accountability.
No matter who you are or how much you’ve achieved, there’s always room for improvement! Here’s to on-the-job excellence in 2009.