How to recruit and motivate staff with a high "HQ"

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We're looking to employ people with a high HQ (Hospitality Quotient). In order to achieve our business goals of exceeding our guests expectations and providing warm hospitality we look for strong emotional and technical skills.

Theoretically, an ideal candidate would score 100 if tested for their suitability, his or her potential for technical excellence would be 49 per cent and innate emotional skills for hospitality would account for 51 per cent. Training technical skills can be done, training for emotional skills is almost impossible.

The more hi-tech we become, the more high-touch people we need working in our industry, so that we can create a feeling (ambience, warmth) that people crave.

Characteristics of people with a high HQ:

• Kind
• Curious
• Extraordinary work ethic
• Empathy
• Emotional self-awareness
• Integrity

Having employed staff with a high HQ, we then work hard to ensure they feel motivated and give of their very best at all times. Among the many initiatives that we have in place are:

• Extensive training programme of 70 courses covering foundation, technical and developmental skills, all run by our training department. In addition to our internal training programme, financial support can be provided for team members interested in following an external course of study, that has relevance either to their current role or future aspirations.

• Regular one-to-ones and appraisals, allowing staff to discuss the direction they want their career to take and enabling us to help them plan how to achieve their goals.

• Annual staff appreciation party - for the last five years this has been held at The Hilton on Park Lane, since none of our hotels are large enough to accommodate the 700 or so staff who attend this dinner and awards ceremony.  This year 140 staff from outside mainland UK were flown in to London to attend. A 26-piece band from France provide the entertainment for the evening.

• Christmas lunches - each hotel hosts a Christmas lunch for all employees, this usually takes place a week or so before Christmas and is held in a function room, senior managers and heads of department serve the staff.

• Catch a star - an instant form of recognition, together with a gesture of thanks, for a job well done.  These are awarded by Heads of Department and are normally given for 'going the extra mile', compliments made by guests, shining examples of practising our Top 12 Service Standards and guest service values in action.  Once a staff member has received two catch a star awards these can be exchanged for a £10 retail voucher.

• Monthly tea parties - all the hotels hold an employee recognition party each month.  This normally takes the form of an afternoon tea party to which every member of staff is invited.  At this event the winners of employee of the month and manager of the quarter are announced, training certificates and long service awards are handed out and the General Managers share important pieces of news with the team

• Charity work - staff are entitled to up to two days paid leave a year to undertake work for a charity, in addition to this staff are encouraged to participate in charitable sporting events such as Hotelympia 10K, Beat the Banana 5K, and the Three Peaks Challenge. These events are great for encouraging a feeling of team spirit.

• Support with external awards - team members are provided with help and support if they want to be nominated for industry recognition such as the Olive Barnet, Acorn or Caterer and Hotelkeeper Awards.

• Recommend a Friend - staff are encouraged to recommend friends for any vacancies that we have.  If their friend is employed by the company and completes three months service, the employee who made the recommendation receives £100, after the friend has completed six months service, a further £150 is paid to the employee who made the recommendation.

• Birthday cards - every member of staff receives a birthday card that is signed by me and the RCH Executive Team.

• New baby congratulations card and babygro - all staff who have a baby receive a congratulations card and RCH babygro.

• Mentor programme - all participants on our management programme, together with some of our younger members of the management team have a mentor from among the RCH Executive Team.

• Library - we have an extensive library of business publications available for staff to borrow through our HR department.

• Access to computer facilities - every staff canteen has a PC available for staff to use when they are on a break or off duty.

• Chiropodist - once a year arrangements are made for a chiropodist to visit each hotel to provide staff with a 20-minute treatment.  This is provided free of charge to lower paid members of staff.

• Long service awards - on completion of one year's service all staff receive a certificate and red carnation pin (bronze), for five years service they receive a silver red carnation pin plus a monetary award and for ten years service, a gold pin and monetary award.  Thereafter long service is recognised every five years.

• Family days out - an annual summer outing intended for staff with children, in the past this has included visits to Bird World, London Zoo and picnics with games in the park.

• Children's Christmas Party - tea party with entertainment and visit by Father Christmas, an event that is open to all staff with children under the age of 12.

• Christmas gifts - our Founder and President, Mrs Beatrice Tollman, personally selects a gift for each and every employee in the company and wherever possible she hands these at a special tea party before Christmas.  We currently employ more than 1,600 staff.

• Annual summer boat party - an opportunity for staff from all the RCH hotels in London to socialise on a boat travelling down the Thames on a summer evening.  Disco, food and drinks are provided and for many of our staff who are not born and bred Londoners this is also a great opportunity for some sight seeing!

For more information about Red Carnation Hotels visit


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