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2 Employee Engagement Secrets We Learned From Viejas Casino & Resort And Conrad Hotels

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viejas team employee engagement

Employee engagement, or the relationship between an employee and the organization they work for, impacts productivity, customer satisfaction, and retention rates. It’s no secret that companies want to maintain high levels of engagement in their workforce.

Watch the full webinar with Viejas Here

At Beekeeper, we’ve worked with many hospitality organizations and know just how difficult it is to improve employee engagement. The hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic and we’re still seeing the aftereffects of its impact today.

Hospitality organizations have to deal with challenges like:

  • Labor shortage
  • Rising costs due to inflation
  • A younger/more diverse workforce with shifting needs

All of these factors make it more difficult to retain and engage hospitality workers. The labor shortage fuels one of the main stressors for frontline workers and managers: staffing. Rising costs pressure workers to search for second jobs or jobs that pay enough.

Underlying all of this, frontline workers continue to worry about the health and safety of their families.

Sounds hard for hospitality workers to stay engaged? It is. But it’s not impossible. A big part of improving employee engagement is removing or alleviating stressors and finding communication tools that make frontline work more efficient.

We talked to two hospitality organizations about the specific strategies they used to do just that.

Let’s look at the two main strategies that stood out from the discussion.

Strategy #1: Embrace Mobile-First Communication

Like many hospitality organizations, Viejas Casino & Resort used traditional communication methods like email to reach their employees. Yet only 35% of their frontline workforce had email, and those that did were mostly part of the administrative and leadership side of the company.

Frequent, consistent, and relevant communication is key to an engaged workforce.

Email simply does not deliver that for frontline teams. Most hospitality workers spend their days on their feet and need a way to communicate with managers and colleagues while on the go and in real-time. When Viejas made the switch to Beekeeper, they gave their frontline workers a communication platform that was suited to the reality of frontline work.

With Beekeeper, Viejas employees are now able to connect with colleagues and access relevant information during their shifts.

Now we can reach our entire population. As of this morning, 86% of our population are active on Beekeeper.”

– Freddie Harmon, Viejas Casino & Resort

For Conrad Hotels, delivering a luxury guest experience was one of their main objectives. For their employees, that meant keeping track of a lot of information, from operational details, daily service standards, and VIP names.

Conrad’s employees were used to receiving that information before their shifts in one document. Since adopting Beekeeper, all that information is now on the app and accessible at any moment. Without the added stress of remembering every operational detail, workers can put more focus into delivering a better guest experience.

“We have seen our communication and engagement metric scores in our team member surveys increase anywhere between two and five points.”

– Melissa Lombardo, Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Embracing mobile communication has created more efficiency, ease, and transparency for both Conrad and Viejas, allowing employees to stay engaged more frequently and effectively.

Strategy #2: Digitize Information

At Beekeeper, we believe that giving frontline workers full access to as much information as possible at their fingertips creates an empowered, productive, and engaged workforce. When employees can look up what they need at any moment, they become faster problem solvers, better experts in their roles, and more willing collaborators.

For Conrad Hotels, digitizing pre-shift information became the foundation for creating their highest levels of employee engagement. As their staff began to use Beekeeper as a necessary part of daily operations, the company found other ways to keep employees engaged. Two of those include:

  • Holding contests where team members can show how they’re meeting the daily service standard
  • Developing an employee recognition program to recognize those who deliver exceptional guest experiences

Melissa says that giving opportunities to share successes and recognize others has increased engagement because employees are genuinely proud of doing a good job.

“It really has sparked internal camaraderie because there’s such a unified pride for what people are able to do.” 

– Melissa Lombardo, Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Digitization has also allowed Melissa to track how these initiatives affect both engagement and the guest experience. Conrad found that increasing employee engagement by holding contests and developing the peer-to-peer recognition program has positively impacted the overall quality of service that guests receive

Less Stress = More Engagement

When we surveyed over 6,000 frontline managers and workers, we found that a big part of what creates and sustains an engaged workforce is the conscious effort to alleviate stressors. If workers are able to get precise information about shift timing and expectations, as well as predictable and reliable shift schedules, they can worry less about staffing logistics and more about performing at their best.

With mobile communication, both Viejas and Conrad Hotels have been able to reach more of their frontline workers and empower their staff, creating a more engaged, productive workforce.

Watch the webinar to learn how Conrad Hotels and Viejas Casino & Resort navigate the challenges of frontline communication.