Sid Levy, VP of Talent Management & Associate Engagement at Extended Stay America shares his insights on how Extended Stay America was able to connect to each and every one of their employees from their hotels spread over the United States. They were able to communicate important information to every department with the help of the HubEngage employee communications platform and boost employee morale. In many ways, they are setting the standard in employee communication for the hospitality industry.
Q1. Tell us a bit about Extended Stay America and your role over there.
Hi, I’m Sid Levy, I’m with Extended Stay America, I’m the Vice President of Talent Management and Associate Engagement. We are in the hospitality category, our hotels are what would be categorized as extended stay hotels where the rooms in our properties have a kitchen and full area for people to cook, almost like an apartment. Each hotel has approximately a hundred rooms and then we have a staff of about 15 people working in each hotel taking care of our guests.
Q2. What specific need were you trying to address?
People that work in our hotels, who are non-exempt or maybe hourly, they’re not at a desk all day, they’re working with guests or taking care of the hotel. So there is no direct way for us to reach them unless we have a digital process so that app was a great solution for us because everybody has a smartphone and we were able to communicate you know important information that’s already available in other places but we gave our employees the option of downloading this app that they could use and get to get that information in a more timely basis and to share different things that they’re doing across the company.
Q3. So the employee communications app was used to connect all your employees?
We heard through various surveys prior to launching the app where the feedback we would get is like ‘I don’t feel connected to the company’, ‘I don’t feel like I really know what everyone else is doing’, ‘I know about the hotels in my city because I a may interact with them during local meetings’ but to understand the big breadth of this company and the big reach; the app was able to help us do that.
Q4. How did the app help you with targeting and social engagement, overall communication for the hospitality industry?
We love the idea of having the ability to target different segments and have different content that goes to different segments based on their level or role in the organization, but just the general engagement of people sharing photos, pictures, videos, comments, sharing great teamwork, sharing someone’s birthday, sharing a celebration in the hotel – taking a picture of that. That is the biggest amount of activation that we see on the site and that drives engagement, it drives satisfaction and hopefully, it drives retention.
Q5. How was employee engagement during Hospitality Week?
We did a big initiative this year, we do it every year, it’s called Hospitality Week but we made sure that the app was a big part of that so every day during that week we had a fun survey, a fun quiz, or a fun activity. We encouraged people to take pictures and share stories. We sent everybody a special gift, we encouraged everybody to take pictures of it and share that. And so what people love doing is similar to any other social media site, they love liking different stories, liking different feeds. As employees who just posted that, you get an alert saying someone liked or read your story so we encourage our executive team and our CEO – he’s going through and liking things and even commenting and our employees love it.
Q6. How has your experience been working with HubEngage so far?
The biggest thing that stood out in our mind was the flexibility and the customer service. The programmers from your side were easily able to adapt to the needs of our business. I felt that the development process for the app in the tool was very painless and we really felt that the support and knowledge of the site through your team really made a difference.
Learn more about how to make use of an employee communications platform effectively for employee motivation in the hospitality industry here.