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1. Many companies in the service sector, large hotels and resorts for example, is implementing empowerment strategies to improve the quality of service provided to residents and guests. Search the internet for an example of such a company with particular emphasis on strategies used to empower front line staff. The basic source of providing competitive advantage and the customer satisfaction in the hotel enterprises is the employee. Empowerment applications play a significant role in increasing the employee’s productivity providing organizational efficiency.

Interest in employee empowerment within the hospitality industry helps in gaining competitive advantage through improved service quality. Particularly, it has been determined in recent studies that service deliverers (frontline staff) play a crucial role in determining the extent and quality of customer experience and satisfaction. Because of consumer conscious and competitiveness, an employee in the hotel establishments must make decisions simultaneously with the time of event, and must practice this decision. If s/he makes a mistake, a solution can be found and a feedback can be done.

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This approach requires empowerment of employees of the hotels. One such hotel who uses this strategy is Platinum Suites, a new 4 star hotel in Bangladesh. There are many benefits of empowerment in hospitality operations. A more responsive service, since the immediate person must fulfill all needs of the guest. The complaints are dealt with quickly and greatly increase customer satisfaction. A well motivated staff will also put more effort into their work. Improved labor stability because of better job satisfaction caused by power to make bigger decisions and lower labor costs caused by dispersion of more responsibilities among less people.

All these factors contribute to high quality service and therefore higher profits for the hotel. Ideally, a hotel should have an employee empowerment scheme allowing for structured empowerment – i. e. a scheme that will give structured guidelines to making decisions. For example – a guest announces during checkout that he experienced room related problem. An authorized action that can be carried out by the frontline staff would be to offer a discount or an upgrade for the next visit. Another example, if the guest is charged an incorrect rate.

The staff could check all correspondence and calculate and check the rate himself. In both cases, the involvement of the supervisor is not required. However the decision made by the staff must be given equal importance just as it had been made by a supervisor. Empowerment is based on a theory that all employees of the firm have an underlying desire, if appropriately tapped, to produce good quality work and take pride in that service delivery to customers. Empowerment strategies thus seek to motivate employees by appropriately authorizing them with the autonomy to accomplish important organizational tasks.

This is essentially a decentralization strategy, which frees managers by relying heavily on the skills and decision making abilities of subordinates to get essential work done, without a lot of monitoring by management. It has become an increasingly favorite strategy of most service sector organizations as well as certain banks, restaurants, etc to empower front line staff to help improve quality of service. Even though it is not a sure fire method of achieving that target, it is definitely one way to get closer to achieving that goal. 2. Internet activity: Find an organization online that identifies as a ‘ learning organization’.

What features does this organization emphasize? In what ways does it benefit from being a learning organization? In the modern business world, companies have understood the importance of being a learning organization. A Learning Organization is one in which people at all levels, individually and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about. A Learning Organization is an ideal state, a vision. One such organization is Virgin. Started by Sir Richard Branson in 1970, the Virgin group of industries success is in part due to being a learning organization.

A learning organization emphasizes or prioritizes certain characteristics that typical organization does not. These can be divided in five broad categories. Personal mastery; Personal mastery is the commitment by an individual to the process of learning. There is a competitive advantage for an organization whose workforce can learn quicker than the workforce of other organizations. Mental models; these are terms given to ingrained assumptions held by individuals and organizations. Their role is to preserve certain behaviors, norms and values applicable to all employees.

Systems thinking; it is a conceptual framework that allows people to study businesses. This method of thinking is employed when assessing a company and will have developed information systems that measure the performance of the organization as a whole and of its various components. Shared vision; it is important in incentivizing the workforce to learn as it creates a common identity that can provide focus and energy for learning. The most successful visions build on the individual visions of the employees at all levels of the organization. Team learning; it is the accumulation of individual learning.

The benefit of sharing individual learning is that employees grow more quickly and the problem solving capacity of the organization is improved through better access to knowledge and expertise. These features are easily recognizable in the activities of Virgin. When they start a new venture, they base it on hard research and analysis. Typically, they review the industry and put ourselves in the customer’s shoes to see what could make it better. They have a motto that all members of the organization believe strongly in. Virgin stands for value for money, quality, innovation, fun and a sense of competitive challenge.

They believe in making difference. Like many companies, they set benchmarks regularly to understand and help achieve performance levels they have not reached before. Sometimes when this is accomplished, press conferences are held to announce it to the public or maybe even celebrated internally, or with all their clients everywhere. All members of the organization share the same vision, which is, to deliver a quality service by empowering employees and facilitate and monitor customer feedback to continually improve the customer’s experience through innovation.

Seeing as the Virgin businesses are all so diverse and independent, they practice a collaborative and supportive style of custodianship. At the centre, Virgin Management Ltd (VML) provides advisory and managerial support to all of the different Virgin companies and their specialist Sector teams around the world. Their people in London, New York and Sydney offer regional support and in this way, virgin companies act as teams in all management processes and when it comes to learning or adopting new strategies as well. There are many benefits to being a learning organization. Rapid Change; change in the workplace occurring rapidly.

Agencies are being forced to quickly adapt work processes. In a Learning Organization, change is seen as an opportunity to learn through problem solving. Shifting Focus; many agencies are changing their focus from a role of ensuring compliance to one of serving customers. A Learning Organization can ensure that there is a strategic alignment between customer needs, organizational goals, individual learning, and resource allocations. Eroding Knowledge Bases; the recent attrition of employees; reductions-in-force, and expected retirements are eroding the organizational knowledge bases.

A Learning Organization fosters information exchange and captures expertise from all levels of personnel. Limited Training Resources; employee training budgets are shrinking while staff members have less time to attend formal training sessions. A Learning Organization can make use of alternative strategies that integrate learning into the workplace. These alternative methods cost less and are effective. Evolving Roles of Supervisors; Supervisors are assuming increasing responsibility for traditional human resource functions.

In a Learning Organization, managers serve as teachers and each individual is empowered to be responsible for his or her own learning. It has become almost imperative to become a learning organization to survive as well as to succeed in the world of business today. There are limitless examples of companies following this behavior successfully, and Virgin group of industries is a prime example of it, thanks mostly to its creator, Sir Richard Branson. Internet Activity 1 References: Assit. Prof. Dr. Tulay Guzel, Assit. Prof. Dr. Sule Aydin Tukelturk, Assit. Prof. Dr.

Emran Ozkul, Importance and Effect of empowerment in Hotel Enterprises eab. ege. edu. tr/pdf/8_2/C8-S2-M2. pdf Platinum Suites, Official Website www. platinumsuites. com. bd Internet Activity 2 References: Richard Karsh, Learning Organisation Overview http://www. humtech. com/opm/grtl/LOO/LOO. cfm [viewed 14/12/2009] Multiple Contributors, Learning Organisation http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Learning_organization [viewed 14/12/2009] Virgin group of companies, Virgin http://www. virgin. com/about-us/ [viewed 14/12/2009] Virgin group of companies, Virgin Managemet http://www. virgin. com/management [viewed 14/12/2009]

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