It is not often that the Harvard Business Review features an article about a single company – and even rarer for that company to be in the hotel business. But it did when it published ‘The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj’ by Deshpande and Raina. The story was prompted by the extraordinary bravery and self-sacrifice shown by the staff of the Taj hotel in Mumbai, when it was subject to a terrorist attack in 2008. This lead to the authors to look into the company’s approach to employee engagement and its organisational culture – which centred around a very systematic approach to employee recognition.
In summary, this is based around five key features.
- Special Thanks and Recognition System (STARS) – an organisation-wide approach to managing this process.
- Employees awarded points for customer compliments, praise from fellow employees, and the employees’ own suggestions.
- A STARS Committee that meets every day to review employee performance.
- Inculcating in every Supervisor the need to give praise to an employee for a job well done.
- Ensuring praise or recognition is given as soon a possible, after an employee has performed well.
And, of course, what this creates is an organisational cutlure in which employees feel truly valued and seek to perform to the highest standards.