Whitbread PLC is one of the leading companies in the hospitality industry having its presence in many countries. One of the skills that are required in the efficient management of the company is communications skills. The managers need to possess excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills. The need for such skills is occasioned by the fact that the company has its presence in many different cultures that utilize different languages in communication. In addition, the managers need to understand the different forms of communication in the different cultures and the meanings of different gestures. The managers also need to have a good understanding of interpersonal skills in their engagement with customers and employees from different countries. Good communication skills would help in achieving Whitbread’s goal of satisfying all its customers even those that speak a different language.
Team management skills are also necessary if the goal of creating winning teams is to be achieved at Whitbread. To achieve this goal, the management needs to motivate the human capital at the company’s disposal. Research has shown that employees’ motivation is directly proportional to the output of work they provide. Moreover, the employees need to be trained on a regular basis on skills that are required in the course of their job. Training ensures that the employees continue to meet the needs of the customers and adapt to the dynamic industry of hospitality. The management also needs to involve the employees in the process of decision making. More importantly, the workers should be aware of the plans that the management has in place before they are implemented. The reason for this is because the employees are continually in contact with the customers and may therefore provide better ideas on future plans. Eventually, involvement of the employees gives them a sense of belonging and ownership thereby motivating them even further.
Problem solving skills are also necessary in the company’s desire to remain as a leading brand and a customer’s choice in hospitality. The managers need to be able to identify problems and then look for the most feasible solution to the problems. In the course of their work, managers at Whitbread are bound to experience a myriad of problems that require their attention. The effectiveness of how these problems are solved will depend on the managerial problem solving skills that the managers possess. For instance, the managers should be able to prioritize problem solving depending on the level of urgency and importance that a certain issue is regarded. Early identification of problems ensures that they do not escalate to unmanageable levels and that they are solved when still small. Problem solving skills will ensure that the company’s goal of maintaining customer well being is achieved and surpassed.
Innovative skills are also necessary in the course of the company’s operation. The hospitality industry is dynamic and requires the managers to be up to date with current trends and emerging customers’ requirements. The company must always be able to identify solutions to the customers’ requirement and also in problem solving. The level of innovation within the company is also important in ensuring that the company maintains products that satisfy the customers’ needs. The management must therefore maintain and lure innovative employees and workers to the business. In addition, the management must be in continuous contact with the customers to identify the needs in the market and come up with better products to meet these needs.
Moreover, the management should have supervision skills to ensure that the work is always done at the right time and in the right manner. These skills are important in ensuring that the customers expectations are surpassed thus maintaining the satisfaction levels of the customers as high as possible. Supervisions skills include the ability to delegate the work to the right employees. In this way, the manager must have knowledge of the individual skills and abilities of each employee. Further, delegation improves specialization thereby reducing redundancy levels. By so doing, Whitbread can be guaranteed of excellent performance in terms of customer satisfaction.
The managers should also have excellent planning and scheduling skills if the company is to meet the goal of achieving high profits. The manager’s work at Whitbread involves training, recruiting, and supervising staff. In addition, the management is tasked with the responsibility of listening to the employees either to solve their grievances or to get their ideas on the running of the company. In addition, the management has a duty of maintaining casual laborers such as garden workers and catering staff. All these tasks are overwhelming and require adequate planning and scheduling. In this regard, the concerned managers must be able to have all the jobs done in the right manner and at the right time. Striking the balance between all these tasks require that the managers be alert all the time and that they apply planning and scheduling skills.
Time management skills are also mandatory in achieving the company’s goals. The manager should organize the team of workers to complete the job within the right time to avoid customer frustrations. The fact that the hospitality industry handles hundreds and thousands of customers at any given time means that the managers must have time management skills to cope with the high demand of products in the company. In addition, the managers should be able to multitask and juggle between one function and the other without compromising the quality of the products that the customers are offered.
With plans to start Premier Inn in the Middle East and in India, the Managing Director of Whitbread PLC is bound to face several cultural challenges in the interactions with both employees and customers in the new countries. The challenges may result due to a conflict in the cultural background between the Managing Director’s home country and the countries of work. One of the cultural challenges that may face the manager and indeed other staff in the new locations is language. Most people in India speak in India, the native language of the land. Although most of the people are educated in higher learning, Indians are really conservative with their language and opt to use it as the national language. In the Middle East, the main language of business is Arabic. The managing Director may be faced with communication challenges owing to the fact that he/she has no prior experience of Arabic and Indian languages. This means that they may not be able to communicate with the customers and the staff in the hotels and restaurants.
Another issue is in the differences in non verbal communication between Britain, India and the Middle East. For example, in India, people do not greet each other using the left hand and it is actually considered inferior. This is in contrast to Britain where people use either hand in expressing greetings. Moreover, people do not also pass things to each other using the left hand in India. It is considered disrespectful when one gives valuable stuff to another person using their left hand. In Britain, however, such considerations are not present and there is no concern if it happens. In the Middle East, men do shake hands but not with the women. In fact, touching a woman is punishable sin when one is not from their culture. In addition, men are not allowed to look in the woman’s eye because that is interpreted to mean that they are sexually seducing the women; worse still when the woman is married. This culture is different from the culture in Britain where greeting women is a normal thing just like greeting men. The managing Director may have a hard time trying to greet the women employees in the company or passing reports using the left hand.
The social organization in India and the Middle East is also significantly different from that in Britain. In England, the male and the female are considered equal in society and each contributes equally in the family unit. The people of Britain consider women to be very important in the society and there are no such things as jobs for men and jobs for women. All the jobs and employment opportunities are availed to both the men and women in equal measure without bias for the other. In India, however, women are considered to be the subordinates of men. The same notion is applied in the Middle East, partly due to religion and traditions. In the Middle East countries, the women do not even go to the mosque but remain at home while the men go to the mosque to worship. The women are required to remain at home and look after the children while the men go to work in search of the family’s requirements. The difference in the social organization may come as a shock to the Managing Director who is not used to such settings. They might be surprised to see very little job applications from women.
Another cultural difference that the Managing Director may witness is the number and dates of festivals and ceremonies present. Most of these differences are occasioned by the difference in religion between Britain and India and the Middle East. In Britain, most of the holidays reflect those of Christianity while those in India and the Middle East relate to the Islamic faith. Fro instance, Sunday is not a working day bin Britain because people attend church on that day. However, in India and in the Middle East, Friday is the normal day for religious worship and it is not a working day. The Managing Director may therefore be challenged by the fact that employees cannot work on Fridays. In addition, there are so many festivals in India and in the Middle East due to the fact that society is put at the forefront. Many people will attend the societal festivals and thus forfeit work during those days.
Recommendation for Improvement
Currently, the Premier Inn hotels provide bedrooms and food to the customers in the various countries that the company operates. To increase the customers, the company needs to consider providing a kitchen in some of the rooms for customers who want to cook for themselves. This suggestion is particularly important in India and the Middle East where people have a high value on the family. By so doing, the firm will have captured customers that book as a family and want to maintain their normal way of life. For instance, the men prefer to eat food cooked by their women and this will give the women a chance to cook for their family. Having this provision ensures that families who want to eat self made food continue to book the hotels especially in India and the Middle East. The impact of implementing this recommendation would be seen in the high revenue generation from high customer yields.
Whitbread PLC, 2015. Annual report and accounts 2014/15. pp 1- 153. Retrieved on 30 November, 2015 from https://www.whitbread.co.uk/investors/reports-and-presentations/annual-reports-accounts.html
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