Malmaison eats, drinks and sleeps staff engagement

Revisiting an interview with Malmaison:

Catherine Slattery, the Regional People and Development Manager at Malmaison presented at Employee Benefits Live this year. The Malmaison Hotel chain won the Employee Benefit Award 2009 for the ‘Most effective benefits strategy for organisations with more than 1,000 employees’, a catchy title!

At the conference Catherine spoke about the initiative at Malmaison to move the HR function from a “drop-in and fix it shop” to a fully integrated and proactive strategic asset. Four key objectives were used to orientate the work of the team and the presentation at Employee Benefits Live outlined an impressive range of activities aimed at strengthening the employee experience at Malmaisson, these included:

  • Northern Star – staff members recognise good work from their colleagues in a personal not automated award system
  •  Ultimate Cook-off and Housekeeping Olympics – hotel teams compete on expertise and winning spirit
  •  Chablis Shunt – staff buy an old banger, fix it up and race to Chablis as quickly as possible

The creative and high-impact cream-on-top activities are underpinned with “emotionally-intelligent” leadership training, solid induction routines that provide an injection of Mal culture and a host of learning and development offers to support growth and contribution. For Mal starting with the basics was important and L&D provision centred on reading and writing skills for those whose first language was not English.

In essence Mal’s employee engagement and training strategy is an important foundation to the ‘Service Quality Chain’. The hotelier acknowledges that deep employee engagement and that extra discretionary mile team members bring to service, relies on:

  1. Attracting the best people
  2. Recruiting the best
  3. Giving people the best start
  4. Developing the best
  5. Retaining the best talent

These are simple ingredients mixed with some daring-do and brought to life day-to-day by everyone at the Mal. Catherine’s talk was a great insight into how a hotelier eats, drinks and sleeps staff engagement with a long-term and carefully thought out strategy.