Take the pulse of your corporate culture

Stephanie Ricca

Stephanie Ricca

Stephanie Ricca


It’s the time of year when we like to consider fresh starts: Fresh starts at work, at home and everywhere in between. We buy calendars and planners (no visit to the App Store will ever compare to the feeling of picking out a shiny new calendar, in my book at least). While business-wise, we should already be prepared for 2014 in terms of setting budgets and making forecasts, I’d like to challenge you to think of something else—culture.

All too often I read about companies or speak with CEOs who talk effusively about their particular corporate culture. Then I visit the company or the hotel and talk to the people working and realize that if in fact the company does have a culture, clearly the employees never got that memo. Far less often, unfortunately, the culture surrounding a company projects loud and clear from its employees, its partners, its managers and its customers. That’s what I love to see. 

This year I’d like to challenge every Hotel Management reader to consider corporate culture and make a vow to work at it. First of all, don’t be turned off by that word “corporate.” Corporate culture really should be called “workplace culture,” in my opinion. It’s not restricted just to top management. Sure, the corporate office has a culture (that should trickle down, especially if a brand is involved), but your hotel has a culture. Your satellite office has a culture. The team of people you work with and sit by every day has a culture. 

Maybe some of you read, as I did, a Forbes article that came out just after New Year’s about Starbucks’ corporate culture. Micah Solomon, the author, writes about customer satisfaction frequently for Forbes and in this column he describes a conversation with a Starbucks employee. Over the course of the conversation the Starbucks employee tells Solomon that he thinks his employer takes equal care of its customers and its employees. 

Doesn’t sound like a huge revelation, but when you stop to think about it, it really is. If you are an employer, do you think your employees would say the same thing about your company, right now, today? And if you work for a company, can you say the same thing about your employer? This example resonated for me because I attend a lot of hotel brand conferences, and more often than not, hotel brands cite Starbucks as an example of the type of culture they aspire to for the brand. The difference, though, is that when brands cite the Starbucks example they’re using it to talk about how they want their guests and consumers to view their brand. My challenge here is to cite Starbucks in the context of how your employees view your brand. 

And it doesn’t have to be Starbucks. You can find great examples of workplace culture everywhere. Maybe another department in your office or hotel has a great plan for motivating and rewarding each other. Maybe you’ve noticed how the marketing department goes out for coffee once a week and seems to come back to their desks a little more motivated (never underestimate the power of caffeine!). Maybe you’ve even seen a manger write a complimentary note or email to a team member about a job well done. Look for these examples and steal them. Plenty of statistics show that positive corporate culture results in better business performance and higher employee retention—but it also makes the day a heck of a lot more fun and personally rewarding when you feel good about what you do and who you work with.

Cruise over to our Facebook page. I posted a link to the Forbes article I mentioned above, along with some other good ones you might enjoy. Here’s to a great 2014!

Correction
Cicero’s Development Corp.’s information was mistakenly left out of the 2013 Hotel Construction Companies survey in the December issue of Hotel Management. The company’s information is below: 

Company name: Cicero’s Development Corp.
Website: www.cicerosdev.com
Contact: Sam J. Cicero Sr.
Contact email: [email protected]
New-build lodging projects completed in 2012: 0
New-build lodging projects completed in 2013: 0
Lodging renovation projects completed in 2012: 16
Lodging renovation projects completed in 2013: 22
Construction types performed: All types; full-service, turnkey renovations, all property refurbishments including historic landmark renovations
Regions: Nationwide