Hospitality is about making unforgettable connections
Sareena Kochar, VP-Housekeeping, Lemon Tree Hotels Limited, believes that the humble job of housekeeping can create leaders of the future with proper training.
For any experience to have a profound impact, there has to be a ‘connection’. As I am passionate about my job, I consider that a ‘connection’ to myself. Being inspired myself, I'm able to easily inspire my team using motivation and compassion in the execution of tasks. Thus, it becomes a network where everyone is interconnected, and it works wonders.
This connection especially comes in useful in stressful situations, helping one remain calm, courteous to all the guests, listening to their complaints, making eye contact and giving them the assurance to serve them again with impeccable service – all of which definitely brings them back in the shape of customer loyalty.
Of course, other skills like having an eye for detail, multitasking, policy building, making SOPs, designing, using creative methods, and implementation of strategies, give a great outcome. GSTS (Guest Satisfaction Tracking System) is key to our business, and we derive TNA (Training Need Analysis) from guests' feedback to retrain our employees, accordingly.
I generally follow a democratic, participative, methodical and systematic management style. I tend to lead via examples by giving empowerment to my team to bring out best for them as well as the guests. Giving a logical analysis is best for objectivity, decision-making and pro-active thinking to weigh the pros and cons. I always plan for professional exigencies with a Plan A, B or C.
THE LARGER GOOD
At Lemon Tree Hotels, we like to contribute to society by recruiting 'opportunity-deprived people like the speech-and-hearing-impaired, people with Down's Syndrome or autism, acid-attack-survivors and orphans. This is part of our Business Model and has become an intrinsic part of our culture. Today, we have over 800 such employees as part of our motivated workforce.
Lemon Tree is also very environment-conscious and strives to design green buildings, from planning to design, construction, operation and maintenance. We also remain committed to reduce plastic waste, so use dispensers since year 2006 after doing a lot of R&D. We are also committed to keeping the environment around our hotels clean. We have adopted and maintain nearby public spaces, keeping them clean to do our bit to make Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan a success.
My idol is Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. He's not only an inspiring spiritual leader, with a creative sense of humour, he also has great insight into different management styles. I admire his ability to inspire people in such a way that they realise their potential to be leaders and become better human beings every day. He uses the lens of practicality to inspire others to accept the ‘now’ to find success in life.
FROM HOUSEKEEPING TO LEADERS OF THE FUTURE
I am fortunate to be working in Lemon Tree Hotels, which is an equal-opportunity organisation that practices gender equality. Therefore, I have not faced any discrimination on the basis of gender. I am also lucky to have cooperative and understanding colleagues who provide any assistance whenever and wherever required.
Nevertheless, a professional woman is also a mother, a wife and a daughter who has to fulfil all family obligations, therefore achieving a Work-Life balance becomes challenging. The only answer is to go with the flow and accept the situation with a smile on your face, even as you look for solutions to problems.
After working for the past 33 years in the Hospitality sector, my dream is to develop Housekeeping Professionals of the future by giving them the insight about how trained housekeeping can make successful business leaders out of them. After all, housekeeping has now transformed with better utilisation of manpower, budgets, renovation, cost control, designing and innovative trends.
My message to aspiring women housekeepers is: Develop an eye for detail; have the passion to learn and perform; expand your knowledge base consistently; develop an ability to do multi-tasking; be flexible about the demands of the job; and organise yourself to achieve work-life balance.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER THE WOMEN SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 6, ISSUE 2'
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