From Employee Experience to Human Experience: Creating a great Workplace Culture

By KRaynes

From Employee Experience to Human Experience: Creating a great Workplace Culture

Creating a great Workplace Culture

“FIVE STAR Cultures”
HR in Hospitality event Blog: Esther O’Halloran, Chair HR in Hospitality and Matthew Rowledge, Committee Member: 25 February 2021

Zoom Event Hosted by Adam Rowledge, Managing Director of Rowledge Associates

Adam is a keynote speaker and organisational culture expert with 20 years proven track record in business. Previously a multi award-winning 5* hotelier, he now shares his 8 powerful lessons on how to build world class teams and create competitive advantage through people

‘We now have the unique opportunity to treat the crises of 2020 as pivotal moments to make positive changes and invest in the lives of our employees. Even small improvements can strengthen work cultures and help us be more resilient and adaptable in the future’..

ADAM – we all have employees who are Ambitious and Determined when you look after them but turn into an Arsey Megalomaniacs when you don't, so who are these in your organisation?

In a world where so many organisations in our industry focus on enhancing the guest experience, it is time to apply the same degree of investment in our people. We have transitioned away from the traditional hard key to access hotel bedrooms through key cards and into smart watch check-ins. Howe can we do this for our people?

If we get the employee experience right then the guest experience will follow. So how do we get the employee experience right? As with our guests we need to provide our employees with a FIVE STAR experience:


When we are looking for the people we want in our organisation we need to think of VRIN to drive our competitive advantage.

Valuable – we need to offer something the candidate deems valuable

Rare – what do we have to that no one else does?

Inimitable – we need to think about what we offer that others cannot copy

Non substitutable – or competitors don’t offer anything of equal value

Think marketing, not recruitment. Understand the market, develop your brand, tailor your message to different segments. Focus on what we are good at and keep doing it, work harder, be more ‘Daft Punk’ and think about what we specifically need when we go to market to attract people to our company.


How do we get the best from our business. We are often so preoccupied with our outputs and meeting targets like EBITDA, RevPAR etc that we forget about the inputs that drive these numbers, our people. If you want the right outputs you need to make sure that you are getting the right inputs in your business. It is critically when you are fighting for your budgets that everything is people centric. Without investing in your people you won get the outputs you desire by investing in your people you can ensure you learn faster and adapt quicker than the competition. Where your people can work smarter and quicker, you make your business more sustainable.


Your Values matter. ‘Communication, Respect, Integrity, Excellence’ are often common positive values, these were the stated values of Enron and look at what happened to them! We all need values that really reflect our business, ones we can live by on a day to day basis especially with the challenges ahead. 28% of executives don’t understand their organisation’s culture; 22% of employees don’t know 60% of their company’s values and only 50% of leaders believe their employees know a minimum of 80% of the values. It is important when thinking of how you can maximise your values, what do you want your people believe and live by and will your leaders embed these values and drive them.


When we think of engagement, it isn’t always about the benefits. 81% of employees value oneness and communication as the greatest benefit their employer can offer. However, only 15% of employees think their employer communicates well. When we communicate we don’t always have to talk, listening is integral to communication. “If you are not listening to your employees they’ll start talking to someone else” and you don’t want this to happen!

You need to think about how your people want to be communicated with. You cannot adopt a one size fits all approach. Each person’s employee experience can only be engaged where you communicate through their preferred channels.

When you communicate you can achieve OSINTOT (‘Oh shit I never thought of that’). Even the best leaders don’t always have the best ideas. Many of your best ideas will come from your people, this is the key to success!



Busyness kills business!! If you are too busy you are going to miss out on opportunities. So often we are on auto-pilot and we never take the opportunity to centre ourselves. We need to pause to make sure we don’t burnout the 40% percent of people who are highly engaged but have high demands. When our doors reopen we need to make sure we don’t put people in overdrive. We need a balance between managing demands and support. Where this is imbalanced your people will burnout.


C+W=T – Competence + Warmth = Trust.

Be the Lisa Simpson in your business. Hospitality is often guilty of micro-management. If you cannot trust other, others cannot trust you. Where you work 40 hours a week in a 24hour business you are only working 21% of your business’ operational hours. Your team is capable of running the business. They know your product and how to delight your guests. Empowering your staff will engage them in driving your profits by going above and beyond.


OPPORTUNITYISNOWHEREis opportunity nowhere or now here

We need to make sure we maintain a positive attitude. There are many hard months to come. Looking for opportunities instead of challenges can engage your people to drive for success. Negativity doesn’t solve anything. Harry Truman said “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, an optimist is someone who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”


Sir Alex Ferguson said the two most important words in leadership are ‘Well Done!’ People are 5 times more likely to stay if they are told well done. No one ever left a job because they were told well done too much!! It costs nothing, but keep it keep it varied. Just think what it will be like on April 12th or May 17th if you gave them that wonderful round of applause when they came in, how special would that make them feel?

Final words:

Avoid slipping back into old habits when we get back to work and continue supporting your team, be part of the 10% looking after those ADAMs in your business. Biggest win would be starting with the building blocks of your values make sure you have these right, if you have this nailed then it’s down to communication and trust which are next.

Email Adam for slides:

HR in Hospitality Members can access the recording of this webinar by visiting the Resources page on our website.