The first hotel of Ritz Carlton Hotel Company was opened in 1898. A year later, Cesar Rits opened another Carlton hotel in London, paving way to the emergence of a great name in the hospitality industry. The company had gone through many trials and tribulations while spreading its territories in North America and elsewhere. However, the North American rights of the entity’s operation was bought by the Atlanta based Johnson Company in 1983. From then on, the company experienced growth and expansion with in the US as well as overseas. Ritz Carlton started operating as completely owned subsidiary after it had bas been taken over by the Marriot International in 1997. The primary business development strategy of Carlton, somehow, had changed as a hotel managing company by the year 2000 (Sucher and Macmanus 2005).
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The general manager of Ritz-Carlton Washington, James McBride was faced with the challenge of opening a luxurious hotel in Washington. The hotel was owned by Millennium Partners, with whom Ritz-Carlton had agreed to manage five other hotels. Moreover, he also faced the heat of tough competition from another contender who also had dealings with the Millennium Partners (Sucher and Macmanus 2005).
The Background of the Problem
“The new hotel had covered two and a half acres of the $225 million “hospitality complex” in the district of Washington DC. It included a 100,000 sq.f sports club/LA, three restaurants a splash spa, 162 luxurious condominiums and 40,000 sq.f of street level restaurants and retail shops” (Sucher and Macmanus 2005). The last appointment James McBride had was in Kuala Lumpur and he had been appreciated globally for being one of the best managers as he brought the hotel to the first position in the list. In spite of this success in his career, he was under tremendous pressure to perform in order to keep the relation between his company and the property owners intact and fruitful.
Human Resource Process in Ritz-Carlton’s Hotel Opening
A core competency of human resource development is necessary to get the hotel start and function. The firm had set up Performance Quality Indicators (PQI) against which the process of development in the functioning of the hotel could be assessed. An overlapping of company process in general including departmental and functional processes were the main drawbacks in the process of development in the Ritz-Carlton’s management showed by the PQI (Sucher and Macmanus 2005).
Ritz-Carlton had a tradition of letting its employers grow with the company. In other words 25% of its administrative work force has been climbed up the ladder of career within the company starting out as workers in the lower level labour. The new restaurant, at the same time, was going to be much different from a traditional Ritz-Carlton restaurant. Therefore, the recruiting and training section of the human resource was extremely challenging. In the traditional set up the quality in the firm was not assed by PQI.
The Millennium Partners acknowledged the managing prows of James McBride as manger to open the hotel, but they had concern over the distinction between “effectively opening a hotel and continually running it”. It was in fact a human resource challenge of keeping up with the consistency of performance that needs to be initiated and promoted by the new recruits in the managerial circle.
The company had a seven day countdown before the opening for tuning the staff. During which the company had to walk the candidate towards an effective and quality running of the hotel. The training in those days included staff orientation, departmental vision sessions, skill training and so on.
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At the end of seven days when the hotel was opened, Millennium Partners had certain concerns regard the efficiency of the whole program and the team’s performance. Was the process during this seven days was adequate to achieve a higher occupancy rate? What are the pitfalls in the seven days training and how would it affect Ritz-Carlton if this seven days countdown program is changed to extend the duration of the program? It was a world known best practice that standardizes the quality of Ritz-Carlton’s services.
The development of a human resource force needs to be oriented towards ultimate results in successful achievement of organizational goals through behaviourist performance improvement (Kuchinke 1999; Peterson and Cooper 1999; Peterson and Provo 2000; Rowden 1996). It would be the right motivation an employee would be able to improve the behaviourist performance. Just as many workers of the Ritz-Carlton decides to remain loyal to the organization through the highly motivating thoughts of the top level manager Schulze who advanced to be a manager from the post of a dishwasher (Sucher and Macmanus 2005).
Sheikh Umair states that the human resource in a hotel must include at least the following personal HR functioning policies. They are mainly reviewing and considering the leadership style, relationships, responsibilities, philosophy, social orientation and organisational structure. These policies are to be entrusted to significant and reliable blocks in order to give the employees with sufficient back ups and motivation to keep up the consistency in performance. Human Resource researchers have debated for quite a long time to reach at a comprehension on these functional aspects of human resource development (AHRD 2000; Rowden 1996).
The Ritz-Carlton has developed a culture of respecting the employees and that philosophical issue of respect is promoted by the leadership. The aspect of bringing the employees’ attractiveness through the respect is determined by the employees’ perception of firms Corporate Social Responsibility (Greening and Turban 2000). Moreover, this fairness of organisational action towards the employees helps to develop their positive attitude and behavioural pattern (Corpanzano et al 2001).
“Publicly there is general consensus that managers should not violate laws” (Smedley 2008). Therefore most of the ethical issues in workplace might go unnoticed. Though the employees are respected in the firm’s culture, there are other ethical issues that might drive the workers morale down and thereby affecting the business badly. The initial human resource training did not effectively address this problem.
The working culture of the firm insisted on a friendly basis of relation between the employees and managers. Whereas the seven day period would not be ample time to translate this concept because persevering constant quality would lead to a power distance between the employees and the administration. Power distance is where the employees and administration would keep a certain professional distance. The administrators become directors and advisors altogether (Lawrence & Yeh, 1994; Stephens & Greer, 1995: Teagarden & Glinow, 1990; Kras, 1995; De Forest, 1994; Hecht & Morici, 1993). The quality of service is not an occurrence in Ritz-Carlton but the fruit of transparency created from hard work based on a vision, which is why employees are not afraid to report mistake. To the new recruits this idea might remain beyond their grasp for a long time if the training would not be sufficient to make them realise avoidance of uncertainty culture. Uncertainties in the culture can cause devastating consequences in the staffing area of the human resources (Geringer & Frayne, 1990; Stephens & Greer, 1995; Teagarden, Butler, & Von Glinow, 1992).
The job specification with an added responsibility to stick to ones responsibility is a vital aspect of today’s quality concerns. Specialised skill training is also an indispensable part of human resource development. The standardised quality assessment showed number of overlaps in the specific job functional processes. Furthermore, the Ritz’s basics had exhorted to brake away from any regular duty and resolve the issue one is faced with. Lack of adequate training and experience can bring out disastrous conflict if this notion is practiced with out care. Hence, the suggestions of Sheikh Umair on human resource planning and job specification have a telling effect in the consistent quality of an organization.
Sharma and Sharma (2009) concluded that enlightened people and management practices can run successful programs. That enlightenment can be brought by motivating and training to adapt changes and improve according to the changing circumstances. Thus the issue need to be addressed is how can the firm look forward to a change of human resource plan that would help to avoid uncertainties while keeping up with the traditional functional process of a seven day count down.
The above stated facts derived from different studies serve to analyse the pitfalls in the human right development policies of a management firm. When the HRD functioning needs to be planed with in the traditional constraints of the firm with limited investment, it turns out to be an added challenge for the policy makers. However, the updating of the HR department functional processes can bring consistent quality in the service performance of the firm.
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