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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Langham, Melbourne Staff Extend their Stay

Information sharing, role flexibility and great linguini are all part of The Langham Melbourne's secret to staff retention.

The upcoming 149th birthday of The Langham London inspired Melbourne's own Langham hotel to take a closer look at its body of employees, examining retention rates and workplace satisfaction and leading to 
gratifying results.

Of the 500 employees interviewed, over to 12 per cent boast decade-long careers with The Langham, Melbourne. Close to 10 per cent have been with the company for 15 years and  over a dozen team members have accrued more than two decades at the hotel.

Ben Sington, the hotel's Managing Director, is thrilled so many employees have elected to develop a career with this single employer.

“Our focus on career planning, training and employee privileges are three key reasons for the strong retention rate,” he explains. “We also encourage employees to work overseas at one of the hotel's sister properties to share their knowledge and then they can subsequently transfer back to The Langham, Melbourne.”
  • 14 employees have been with the award-winning, luxury hotel since it first opened 22 years ago.
  • Sixty-seven – working across housekeeping, front office, sales and administration -  have devoted over a decade of their working life to The Langham, Melbourne.
The benefit to hotel guests and, therefore, the business overall is obvious when one considers the wealth of experience such seasoned, long-serving staff can deliver.
As leading workplace psychologist and author, Meredith Fuller explains, “Key reasons why employees choose to remain with an organisation are clear leadership, transparent communication, and consistently being treated as an individual who matters. The Langham, Melbourne is likely to engender loyalty and respect from employees, given that the hotel is committed to their career development.”
“Staff training; the various activities and innovations that indicate that individuals are listened to; and toleration of idiosyncratic difference and growth needs underpin the values of The Langham, Melbourne. 

A number of colleagues and friends often go there for breakfast – apart from the exceptional food, they 
usually mention the feel good atmosphere, where it is obvious that the talk is walked,” adds Fuller.

Part of the reason the hotel remains attractive to its staff could be the level of innovation inherent in its running.

Sington's Executive Assistant, Marion Kelly, has been with the hotel since it opened yet she says she is never bored.

“Whilst The Langham, Melbourne is a classic, luxurious hotel it is also underpinned by innovation. It constantly evolves with trends and technology, offering guests the best of both worlds. For instance, the use of pink iPods throughout the hotel is an example of where old-school service and modern technology intersect,” says Kelly.

Personal expression and the encouragement of outside interests may also play a role in staff contentment.
Sington, commonly known as an opera buff, rugby and cricket fan, for instance, is also an avid painter and amateur chef. He has regularly painted water-colours of the hotel and its surrounds, including the nearby Victorian Arts Centre as well as the hotel's iconic pink taxi. In the kitchen, his signature dish is an impressive seafood linguini.

“I try and create an environment where everyone is encouraged to come up with ideas. It's fun to see colleagues dream up something new and then give them the space, time and resources to implement their ideas,” says the Managing Director. He also supports information sharing and honest self evaluation.

“Every single day we share a guest scorecard on how we are doing as a team,” he explains.
“This is a daily reminder to celebrate our success and work together to exceed guests' expectations. We don't keep this data for a monthly or an annual review; we're a 24-7 operation and share our findings with every employee, every single day.”
  • Arrange to meet and interview The Langham, Melbourne staff such as Martin Fearn, currently manager of the hotel's acclaimed Melba Restaurant, with 21 years of service under his belt.
  • Arrange to meet and interview Erica McDonagh, Director of Quality, and recent Administration Employee of the Year award-winner at the  2014 Tourism Accommodation Australia Awards for Excellence with 22 years of service.
  • To arrange an interview with Ben Sington, Managing Director, or any of The Langham, Melbourne's long-serving employees please contact Tara Bishop on +61422003549
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