How A Hospitality Mindset Can Transform Your Company Culture

by Elizabeth Dukes on May 13, 2019

When it comes to building a company culture that attracts and retains top talent, sometimes it can feel like an “amenities arms race.” Your organization just added a fondue bar, only to discover one of your competitors now offers on-site spa services.

That’s how Razia Ferdousi-Meyer felt, having worked for Goldman-Sachs and previously, The Ritz-Carlton. Now that she’s the managing director of real estate and business administration at Ankura, a business advisory and consulting services firm based in Washington, D.C., she’s discovered there’s a surprising overlap between the hospitality industry and the corporate world.

To stay competitive today, your workplace needs to adopt a hospitality mindset. In a recent episode of the Workplace Innovator podcast, Ferdousi-Meyer talked about what that means and how to make it happen.

Why Hospitality Matters In Company Culture

With more Millennials and Generation Z employees entering the workforce and the workforce becoming more diverse, your company must cater to a wider variety of people, Ferdousi-Meyer said.

And it’s no secret they’re expecting more—especially with large tech and finance companies showing their “cool factor” all over social media.

“[Coming from Goldman-Sachs], we had cold beer on tap, kombucha on tap, free lunches, a chef,” she said.

Workplace amenities do make a difference. But not every company can have a beer garden—nor does every employee see that as a benefit. It’s important to consider the needs of your workforce and what’s truly valuable to them.

The single 23-year-olds in your office might be thrilled about the beer garden, but an employee with three kids in school is probably more concerned about having the flexibility to leave mid-afternoon to drop someone off to baseball practice.

One of the biggest challenges employees face today is a lack of time, which is why many employers are offering amenities that give them some time back.

A few examples include:

Companies like Genentech, Airbnb, Spotify and Netflix have made headlines with their generous employee benefits, which include on-site childcare and spa service, fertility assistance and ample paid parental leave.

Borrowing Trends From the Hospitality Industry

Many workplace leaders are borrowing trends from the hospitality industry as they rethink their workplace design, Ferdousi-Meyer said.

That means private offices and desk spaces are getting smaller, while common areas designed to foster collaboration are getting larger and more inspiring.

“We’re seeing larger rooms, building more with glass so you can have more collaboration within the office, huddle spaces, soft seating,” she said. “One of the reasons I was attracted to Ankura is they believe in collaboration and the future. And we believe in creating a workplace globally that is inviting, comfortable and has amenities.”

How To Adopt a Hospitality-Focused Company Culture

There are many factors that influence company culture, from the design of your office to the technology you use in the workplace.

But it all starts with the right mindset. The Ritz-Carlton has its Gold Standards, which outline the company’s philosophy, mission and approach to customer service.

“The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission,” the company credo states. “We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience. The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.”

Your workplace may not have a luxury spa or an on-site chef, but your leaders can still commit to a gold standard when it comes to the way you treat employees. Your workplace can still be inspiring, a place that “enlivens the senses.” You can have things that promote employee wellness, like ample natural light, healthy dining options and standing desks. And you can strive to fulfill the needs of your employees, whether those needs are expressed or just observed.

“Have an open mind and really listen to what the employees are asking for,” Ferdousi-Meyer said. “Invite change. Test it out. And if it doesn’t work, try again.”

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Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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