Hire For Smiles And Lead!


In 1960 visionary hotelier Isidore Sharp founded Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and defined the culture by the “Golden Rule”: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

One way to characterise Four Seasons’ service would be to call it an exchange of mutual respect performed with an attitude of kindness. Therefore hiring criteria’s ensured that new employees would fit that culture and would be hired based on personality and attitude; then they could be trained.

Mr. Sharp’s philosophy is timeless. Knowledge can always be enhanced and support provided in that regard, but attitude and personality are key before even starting this process.

The ability to work well with a team and fit the culture is also critical to longevity in any position. Mr Sharp’s philosophy is pertinent to any industries outside hospitality. Steve Jobs shared the same philosophy at Apple later on.

Quality number one to look after when hiring best service professionals is to ensure they have the “hospitality gene”… it must be in their DNA… to serve and genuinely wanting to create experiences for others. Hire people who enjoy helping others and not only looking for a job.

Successful hospitality employees love what they do, exude passion and show care. They are capable with the right training of delivering exceptional service. They love to smile and find it very rewarding to put a smile on the guests face… it is not about the money… While money is a factor to work and people have bills to pay.

Hire people because of who they are and not because they show exceptional skills cleaning rooms. They can be trained to clean a room or make an exceptional cocktail.

While we all value academic education, a natural inclination to serve is critical and hospitality industry school degrees not sufficient in the long run to succeed in the service industry.

I was repositioning a unique Caribbean resort a few years ago in St Lucia where no formal hospitality program existed and strictly hired on personality, people with amazing kindness sharing their culture. We created together a culture of service to last…and that was critical to the success of the resort but also sustaining such level of service over the years.

To sustain that culture of service we also allowed them to grow, which took more time than hiring more experienced expatriates with formal training, but better in the long run for continuity in service levels and guest recognition in the upcoming years.

Personality and natural ability to make internal (colleagues) and external guests (customers) feel great, always showing empathy, helped in forming a culture where all became family.

They were enthusiastic, proud, passionate, often self motivated, happy and caring, looking on the bright day ahead of them!

They were genuinely kind wanting to learn and never stop learning. They demonstrated work ethics and we’re proud to share a rich life.

People we hired may have known little about cocktails upon hire, but were great with people.

The leadership team trained them and supported them. Servant Leadership that shows side by side how to do it and inspires proved successful. Role models who walked the talk inspired.

Great leadership is dynamic. Leaders must be able to teach, be passionate about the product and the team.

To build a strong culture is the first step then we hire for culture fit. Employees should be our primary focus and guests will be taken care of.

A leader who serves his organization is likely to attract and retain employees. A leader’s mission should be to create a culture where people are treated with respect and dignity.

Hire people who smile and treat them the way you would like to be treated. The recipe has not changed. Thank you Mr. Sharp.

It is timeless. ¤

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