Friday, June 15, 2007

Give Credit When Credit Is Due

A couple weeks back I went on a rant about Hyatt and their outrageous charges for computer use in the business center in downtown St. Louis. They responded and all turned out well.

I just saw something I liked at my stay at another Hyatt property. Walking past the breakfast area in the afternoon, I saw a class going on. A woman was standing in front of a flip chart going over names for days of the week and months. It was an English as Second Language class being run for the (mostly Spanish speaking) housekeeping staff. I later asked a staff member, in Spanish, about working there (it used to be an Amerisuites property - they converted late last year). She said they had tried ESL classes before, using some on the staff to teach it, but it didn't work out. This year the hotel hired a professional ESL instructor and it's going much better. I also found out that Hyatt (or maybe just this location) gives these employees who stay with the company over one year a $500 bonus if they're attending school - GED, local college.

This is good on several different levels - but let me clarify a few I like. I like a company that really invests in its employees. While almost all give that phrase lip service, hiring an ESL intructor for your housekeeping staff is real. I like the annual bonus. It may not be much, but it shows that the company values both education and longevity. By implication, an employee who stays with the company, learns to speak a second langauge, and gets some formal education is valued. Those are also the type of people who will advance in large organizations. Even though the big HR consultants tell us that loyalty and longevity is yesterday's corporate model, I wouldn't be surprised to see one of those young drivers or housekeepers managing her own hotel one day.

That's immigration at the ground level. People working hard, creating value, to make things better for themselves and their families. Sounds like the American dream to me.

Oh yeah. Hyatt doesn't suck.

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