Ron Emler on Hospitality Staffing Quality and Orlando Four Seasons Jobs
Orlando Four Seasons Jobs Are Sought After; Not For Everyone
A Q&A with Ron Emler, Director of Human Resources, the Four Seasons Orlando
For Ron Emler, one word sums up everything that he pours into his work: passion. Emler is the Human Resources Director for the Four Season Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. He says that passion is the major driver behind the consistently high quality of service provided to its customers. Hospitality staffing quality greatly affects the environment of the employees and guests.
“When you have passion at all levels of an organization that has a huge positive impact on the level of quality you can deliver,” says Emler. “We are incredibly passionate about the service that we deliver to our guests, and we convey that down through our vendor relationships. When they take on that same level of commitment, there is a true partnership. ”
We spoke with Emler about his work at the Four Seasons, and about the staffing partnership that he has with Hospitality Staffing Solutions. HSS has provided housekeeping staff to the Four Seasons since it opened in August 2014.
What Are the Hospitality Staffing Quality Standards Essential at the Four Seasons?
The standards really come from our founder, Isadore Sharpe, who laid out the four key pillars of what the Four Seasons brand would be. They are quality, service, culture, and brand; each of those pillars is defined very specifically. We ensure high hospitality staffing quality by only operating medium-sized hotels and by defining true luxury not by architecture or decor, but through service. We base our culture around the Golden Rule and our brand is defined through quality.
These four pillars really set the tone for who we are because everyone who works at a Four Seasons property knows that there is a very high standard. But, they also know the parameters under which we set that standard. For example, we only run small to mid-size properties. We know that scaling up would require some compromise on quality, which is why we haven’t done that. The pillar of culture really sets the tone for how we are going to achieve hospitality staffing quality. Everyone who works here knows what we are striving for, but they also know that they will be treated fairly and supported enthusiastically.
The Four Seasons has consistently been rated in Fortune Magazine‘s list of Top 100 places to work. That doesn’t mean that this is an easy place to work. We have incredibly high standard, as set by our hotel staffing model. But when you treat people as you would want to be treated, give them tools to succeed, and live what you speak, you get a high performance level.
How do you ensure that the quality standards are reflected when you’re working with a staffing partner like HSS?
You have to approach it from a partnership perspective. One of the reasons that we’ve had a successful relationship with HSS has been through their willingness to work with us as a partner. Even though we are separate companies, they share our vision. Housekeeping staffing agencies are a great tool in making it possible to achieve such high standards.
That’s always a two-way street. We’ve articulated what we expect from employees and they work with us to achieve that level of hospitality staffing quality. Some of that is in determining wages, but there is so much that goes beyond that. Their management team is able to adopt our own passion for quality and convey that to employees. Once you have a staffing partnership like that, you can go a long way in extending the hospitality staffing quality of service you can deliver.
What are some of the ways that you convey the qualities of your brand to HSS employees?
First, we work with HSS to convey the level of quality that we expect. We have a three-level system of hospitality staffing quality: Get It Right, Get Me Right, and Wow Me If You Can. There’s a consistent level of service that we look for, but we also look for opportunities to personalize our service and train people to look for opportunities to add that wow factor. But training is only going to get you so far. It takes a certain kind of person who can not only meet and exceed expectations, but also provide a factor beyond that. Sure, there are training levels that HSS provides and we provide, but you have to identify the right kind of person for the job. HSS is our partner in recognizing those properties in individuals that will be a fit here.
There’s also a need for recognition in employees. We participate in all of the recognition programs that HSS provides so that HSS employees feel that they are part of our story as well. We adhere to all of the co-employment protocols and whenever there are challenges and questions we let the HSS onsite manager take care of those issues. But when it comes to participating in the recognition and celebration of the hard work that HSS housekeepers perform, we enthusiastically participate.
Are there factors at you property that are different from other Four Seasons properties when it comes to staffing?
Being located within Walt Disney World® Resort and in Orlando in general, you have a different experience and customer base. Families with small children who are our guests are going to require more care and attention. But we haven’t lowered our standards in order to cater to this audience. So the time to clean a room may be longer for us and the levels of staffing might be higher, but we don’t compromise on our core principles. That’s been a successful formula for us and will continue to be in the future.
Do you think that your partnership approach translates beyond the Four Seasons brand?
Absolutely. Everyone has standards in terms of what they need out of a partnership. For some, that standard may include speed and efficiency. Like our property, compliance may be a high standard you set. Articulating that with a partner will help put that standard up front and make it a shared goal. Every property has standards. A partner in staffing should help you reach those standards, not be a reason why you compromise those standards.
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