Fiscal responsibility, taking care of the bottom line, shareholder returns … all things that owners and leaders need to consider and are responsible for.
The challenge is when the customer experience, from both an internal and external perspective, are looked at only from a cost standpoint, budget lines in those areas are very often the first slashed.
Here in Canada, as anywhere else, we treasure our long weekends, especially in the summer. August long is a civic holiday, which means that legally companies do not have to give salaried employees the day off, but those companies are few and far between. I received a call from a friend. The company she works for sent out a memo saying that this year, anyone wanting that day off had to use a holiday day. Otherwise, they should show up for work. Employees are not happy. It definitely didn’t help that the memo came out the week before the holiday weekend, after campsites had already been booked and plans made. Will the reduction in payroll costs for the month of August offset costs associated with low staff morale, engagement and productivity?
A hotel is in cost-savings mode. Guest towels are used for a few months longer before replacement, the “out of order” sign stays up on the vending machine instead of getting fixed, housekeepers are asked to clean one extra room every shift and a less expensive brand of coffee is put into the guest rooms. The employee benefit plan is changed. Now instead of employees being able to use their drug card for an automatic price reduction at the pharmacy, they have to pay the full amount up front, fill in forms and send in for reimbursement. This creates a financial hardship on front-line, part-time workers. Do they fill the prescription or buy school supplies for their children? How long before negative reviews start popping up on-line, stating that the towels feel like sandpaper, the rooms are dirty, the place is falling apart and the staff are unhappy? Will the housekeepers who take pride in their work want to work for a hotel that doesn’t provide them the time they need to properly clean the room? And can they find work at another hotel that does provide a company drug card?
Yes, it is important to look for ways to improve the bottom line, but be sure to look for the costs associated with those savings. And if times are tough and a company needs to cut back on benefits and perks, then be sure it’s not only the “little” people making the sacrifice.