It should come as no surprise to any hotel/resort staff member, when the news arrives that the management and operations of a certain department will be outsourced.
Other mid-to-large sized for-profit employers have been farming or “outsourcing” for needed services for years. More and more local, county and state governments have been contracting out for the management and operation of entities under their umbrella.
What throws a hard, curve ball is when the outsourcing company is going to move in its own people to staff that department, which is a part of the organization. EXAMPLES: Food and Beverage/Catering, Pools and Gazebos, Housekeeping/Laundry, Security, Sales, Conventions.
With a large department, the outsourcing company may opt to employ certain existing hotel staff members. Persons experienced working in that area, and with its targeted guests and visitors.
Usually, these persons need to complete new, pre-employment forms for the external company. Including for federal and state tax withholdings. Usually, the persons do not need to go through the hotel’s Human Resources’ job application and screening process.
So far, hotel engineering departments have been exempted from the contracted outsourcing system of employment. Some exceptions exist.
- The property owners decide to outsource the management and operations of the entire hotel business. Here, existing staff can sign on with the external company, or a designated staffing company.
- The outsourcing company “out-sources” the hotel’s engineering department services.
Note: Designated staff members may be able to apply to the outside company, to continue to work at the same hotel.
- The outsourcing company decides to switch engineering operations to a temporary and on-call arrangement. For all positions and tasks, or for certain positions and tasks.
Note: Usually, some of the current engineering staff members are offered the opportunity to work in his/her current – or a similar – position, but as a temporary or on-call worker.
In all cases, some positions are eliminated. Some job quotas are reduced. A lot of department re-organization takes place.
In smaller businesses – eg. hotels and inns, clinics, hospitals – the services of a full-time painter may not be needed any longer. They may not be affordable. Within the budget.
Thus, the career hotel/facility painter needs to be ready to adapt. And, to switch “employers,” if and when the time comes.
At the same time, take note!
Not all outsourcing arrangements work. Many get axed at some point. Department management and operations are returned to in-house people. Former staff members may be re-hired. Experienced employees are put back in charge of operating their respective department.
After reasonable tries, more city and county governments are voting against renewing their contracts with outsourcing companies. Businesses are tightening up qualifications and expectations for their outsourcing contractors. They are more closely, and accurately, computing the bottom line.
- “Are we really saving money? “
- “What’s the trade-off been within – and for – our community?”
Hotels and resorts are listening to their experienced staff members, about major organizational and ethical problems dealing with the outsource company’s people. Hospitals report losing once loyal employees and community support. Also they report an increase in serious liability quality-of-service and patient treatment issues.
What can a hotel painter do to influence top management and owners in deciding which way to go?
- Show a greater and more sincere interest in your hotel, and especially in your teammates. What’s really going on with them? What’s great, so-so, not good at all? Share in any on-going dialogue among your coworkers. Your bosses, too. TIP: Hold back a little here. Keep “person,” “personal,” and “personality” out of this.
- Show an interest in the “outsourcing” discussion. Periodically, exchange a few ideas with your chief engineer. Especially, if you’re the lead painter and help him handle a lot of the troubleshooting.
- Discreetly ask questions. Try to find out the reasons management is looking at outsourcing your job. Or, the entire engineering department.
THEN, ZERO IN ON YOUR POSITION…YOUR FUTURE.
- Update the hotel’s job description for your job. Provide a clear, detailed picture of exactly what you do there. Include both standard and special skills and abilities that your hotel’s painter must have. To get the job done! NOTE: Now is not the time to underestimate and undervalue what the real job entails. Now is not the time for humility.
- List the types of tasks, orders, projects, and emergency jobs you have done. Estimate the frequency with which you’ve done each. Indicate the location of each on the property. TIP: Keep your own on-site painter’s photo gallery up to date, and captioned!
- List the customer service functions you perform. That includes for team members, fellow staff members, managers; guests, visitors; suppliers, vendors, contractors; inspectors; and the community.
- Offer your experience and insight as input to the (a) chief engineer and (b) general manager. Limit what you offer in information to details that will positively support your bosses’ true position. Also, their short-range and long-range goals.
Final Note: As the staff painter, you are often in a unique and influential position. You tend to come into regular contact with coworkers and managers in many of the departments and work areas within the hotel’s organization. You tend to “brush shoulders” with certain aspects of the hotel or facility’s actual business.
Bottom Line: You may be able to play a key role in management’s decision to outsource. Or not.
“Press toward the mark that you want to leave behind.” RDH
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Copyright 2012, 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.