I am lucky enough to have stayed in hotels all over the world for both holidays and business trips. I was in Sheffield recently during the storms of early 2014 and my little sojourn got me thinking about the similarities there are between great hotels and great HR.
I need to explain the context to my trip; it was for business. It was also at the tail of some very long weeks and late nights as a range of projects needed delivery at the same time. In short, I was shattered and still had a lot of work to do.
I arrived at the hotel which, let's be clear, is not a top end venue. It’s a reasonably priced hotel with unusual taste in décor. The rooms are a little faded and could do with a spruce up. But was I disappointed? Not in the slightest. Here are the things that made my stay perfect:
Greeted by smiley, happy staff who explained everything that I needed to know quickly and simply, including the free Wi-Fi with the code on my key card.
I could work the heating in my room without a PhD in engineering.
Ditto the TV.
Ditto the shower.
The room was clean and presentable.
The room service menu was short, to the point and I got what I asked for when I asked for it and the meal exceeded my expectations in terms of quality.
In the morning a delicious (but not fancy) breakfast was made even better by the lovely chatty and efficient waitress.
Costs were reasonable with no hidden extras.
There are some lessons that are replicated in the way the best HR departments treat their customers:
They see customers as humans first, understanding that a smile and pleasant approach makes everything feel better.
They get that we are simple souls and may only use the recruitment system once a year, so they make it easy for those without a fascination in systems development.
They don’t use 35 words to describe something if three will do, and they don’t mind that we won’t read the people strategy, or be able to quote the vision thing; they communicate simply in ways that relate to us where they business is going and how we can use our skills to best effect.
They know to be there when we need them in person or at the end of a phone when that’s necessary, and understand that we get tired and grumpy sometimes.
They get interested in our stuff, spend time with us and talk in our language and get excited by our success.
They under-promise and over-deliver consistently.
They really understand what we need because they asked us and then took notice of what we said.
There are times when only a stunning sunset with a glass of champagne and a 10-course tasting menu are enough.
But for most times a good enough experience that gives us the basics delivered by interested friendly and efficient folk will do the trick.
Let’s keep HR simple down to earth and fit-for-purpose, and watch your customers melt with delight!