Housekeeping Human Resource Issues
While the front desk's staff is the guest's first impression of the hotel, housekeeping is essential to providing a consistently good guest experience. The job is strenuous, demanding and low paying. A clean hotel room is one of the most important factors of guest satisfaction, says Hotel Interactive Hotel News. That clean room depends on the efforts of your housekeeping staff.
The number of occupied rooms determines the level of staffing. If the hotel is under-booked, the housekeeping staff loses work hours because they aren't needed. If the hotel has a higher occupancy level than expected, the staff has to clean more rooms. The staff may leave to work at a hotel that has a more consistent level of work. High turnover leads to additional training costs. Background checks of each employee are necessary because the employee cleans the guest's room while the guest is gone --- working around the guest's belongings.
Not all on the housekeeping staff may speak English, which hampers communication between the staff and the management of the property. The language barrier is also an impediment to proper training and supervision, which includes explaining policies and giving performance reviews. Immigration laws must be enforced and proper visas obtained. If the individual doesn't speak English, it's more difficult to make sure he has proper work credentials. Guests may think the staff is rude if they don't respond to questions, when in actuality the staff may not understand the questions.
Cleaning doesn't seem like a dangerous job, but the housekeeping staff is exposed on a daily basis to chemicals and fumes. Additionally, the bathroom may be a source of contamination for the housekeeper as well. More hotels are switching to heavier mattresses, which are more difficult to lift when making the beds. If the housekeeper has to clean 15 rooms every day, that's 15 mattresses that must be lifted on each corner to tuck in the sheets and blankets.
The housekeeping staff has to clean each room to the same standards each time. Management should let the housekeeping staff know how important their job is to the success of the hotel. Training methods may have to be more on the job than by the book for those who don't speak English. Check lists should be in the housekeeper's language as well as English. For those who don't have the necessary reading skills, the check lists could include photos.