In the hospitality industry, communication and participation of management and employees to consult with relevant stakeholders are crucial to sustaining the organization’s effective performance as instrumental to financial success. As explicitly defined, employee participation is disclosed as the “process of employee involvement designed to provide employees with the opportunity to influence and where appropriate, take part in decision making on matters that affect them” . Likewise, communication is the process by which management and employees send important messages regarding the products and services offered by organizations.
The methods of communication are noted to entail downward and upward flows. Downward communication flows stem from top management to cascade down to the staff. This communication flow was noted to involve “written information (e.g. staff newsletters notice-boards, staff handbooks, house journals) and other formal channels such as team/cascade briefings and staff forums” . On the other hand, upward communication flows were noted to be either formal or informal. Likewise, these comprise tools that include the following: “employee suggestion schemes (paid/unpaid), surveys of staff (general/attitudinal), appraisal schemes (traditional/upward (boss) appraisal, and is sometimes linked to quality management TQM tools such as quality circles, (and) quality improvement teams” .
Concurrently, in terms of participation, the level of involvement consulted as part of the decision-making process, could range from full empowerment, where employees and other relevant stakeholders (customers, suppliers, investors, community members, shareholders, and even state or federal organizations). Otherwise, partial participation could be solicited by the organization’s management and decision-makers in terms of enjoining the participation of limited stakeholders, or those who are only directed involved in the matters that need to be addressed.
The advantages and reasons for promoting diversity amongst staff of a hospitality organization one is familiar with are as follows: (1) the organization would be noted to comply with legislation and regulations governing equal employment opportunities; (2) greater opportunities for sharing diverse experiences that enrich learning in the work setting; (3) enhanced ability to respond and react to situations involving diverse clientele of varied cultural orientations; (4) “the company’s image is enhanced in the wider community – contributing to making it an employer of choice” ; (5) proven low levels of absenteeism, turnover rates, and levels of grievances, as well as disciplinary actions prescribed with a diverse workforce ; (6) greater sources of new ideas, inputs, comments, and creativity from a diverse workforce; and (7) increased productivity .
Policies that are designed to achieve work-life balance are important in every organization. In a hospitality organization, balancing responsibilities at work often conflict with the need to abide by the need to assume roles in the family and personal life. Senior management within a hospitality organization should be made aware that there are relevant issues and concerns, if the organization does not incorporate work-life balance in their policies and procedures.
As emphasized by Cleveland, et al. (2007), hospitality organizations that do not integrate work-life balance were noted to exhibit higher turnover rates, greater incidences of job stress, and burnout. These organizations are, therefore, exposed to lower productivity, low job satisfaction and morale, and overall low level of performance and financial growth.
The benefits of integrating work-life balance in the organization’s policies and
procedures include: (1) provision of opportunities for employees to regain strength through appropriate rest and relaxation with family members; (2) enhancement of personal well-being through time for oneself; (3) lesser absenteeism; (4) lower turnover rates; and (5) greater productivity and job satisfaction. In fact, it was emphasized “that workload reduction was associated with enhanced well-being, including a decrease in perceptions of stress and fatigue, and fewer reports of health problems such as headaches, eye strain, and high blood pressure. There were also reports of enhanced life satisfaction, and increased involvement and improved relationships with children” .
However, there are challenges in the introduction of work-life balance policies that hospitality organizations could encounter. According to Xiao & O’Neill (2010), “because of the lack of rigorous research and a guiding framework, the effectiveness of
hotel companies’ work–family practices, and relationships between their work–
family practices, organizational culture, and strategic management processes
are not well-understood” (p. 416). Some of the challenges include: (1) competencies, leadership styles, and knowledge of managers to designand implement appropriate work-life balance policies that cater to the specific needs of the organization; and (2) the alignment of organizational culture with work-life balance issues.
The study of Xiao & O’Neill (2010) acknowledged “that perceptions of a supportive work–family culture were related to greater use of work–family benefits, lower work–family conflict, and higher commitment to the organization” (p. 421). Therefore, senior management must be apprised of the greater benefits and advantages of incorporating work-life balance initiatives in their organizational policies. The challenges that were noted could be appropriately addressed through proper training of the managers on work-life balance techniques and strategies that would be most useful in their respective work settings. Likewise, their organizational culture should be re-evaluated to discern whether it conforms to the commitment of providing the benefits noted from work-life balance directives so that employees’ commitment and loyalty could be effectively realized.
Cleveland, J. et al., 2007. Work and Family Issues in the Hospitality Industry: Perspectives of Entrants, Managers, and Spouses. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 31(3), pp. 275-298.
Green, K., López, M., Wysocki, A. & Kepner, K., 2012. Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools. [Online] Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/hr/hr02200.pdf[Accessed 21 April 2014].
Irish Hospitality Institute, n.d.. Business Case for Promoting Diversity & Equality in the Hospitality Industry. [Online] Available at: http://www.thediversityawards.com/pdf/Promoting_Equality_Diversity_in_Practice_Case_Studies.pdf[Accessed 21 April 2014].
McGunnigle, P., n.d.. Employee Empowerment, Participation and Involvement. Resource Guide: Employee Empowerment, Participation and Involvement, pp. 1-8.
Nittle, N., 2014. How to Encourage Diversity in the Workplace. [Online] Available at: http://racerelations.about.com/od/theworkplace/a/HowtoCreateaDiversityFriendlyWorkplace.htm[Accessed 21 April 2014].
Xiao, Q. & O’Neill, J., 2010. Work-Family Balance as a Potential Strategic Advantage: A Hotel General Manager Perspective. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 34(4), pp. 415-439.