Introduction & Problem Statement
It is common in any organization for management to provide feedback to their employees such as through performance appraisals. Regardless of an employee’s career stage, receiving negative feedback may not be the most pleasant feeling. Different employees take feedback differently. Some may view it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whereas some may view it as a personal attack. Everyone will receive at least one negative feedback in their life. The individual who handles it well will stand out compared to the others who may choose to ignore it.
Project’s Thematic Focus
Due to the nature of the hotel business, frontline employees face the challenge of meeting the expectations of both the guests and their superiors. During peak seasons where occupancy is high, these employees are challenged beyond their limits to ensure a smooth operation in the hotel. It is inevitable that frontline employees make mistakes such as a double check-in to the same room. Being the hub or nerve center of a hotel, the front office also serves as a lightning rod for guest complaints. The employees have to deal with negative feedback especially with the frequency and intensity of guest complaints.
Other than the guest, the superior who has to oversee the operations in the hotel would also perform the duty of providing feedback to the employees on areas that requires improvement. The feedback could be provided during official performance reviews or in in-the-moment coaching. In both cases, the employees on the receiving end may get upset, defensive or even demoralised which may ultimately affect their work performance.
The main issue that employees face is having to respond to the negative feedback in the different situations in a hotel. The ability of handling the feedback sets the employees apart in their way of learning and developing in the organisation. Hence, it is important that employees understand how feedback can allow them to better contribute to the hotel.
Nature of project’s professional importance
Highlighting the appropriate responses to negative feedbacks from both inputs – guests and superiors, helps the employees to further progress in their course of job and also allows them to continually enjoy what they do in the frontline.
Especially in the hospitality industry where feedback drives performance, it is equally important to ensure the employee receives the feedback right as much as having the management providing the feedback right. This is supported by a survey conducted by Zenger and Folkman (2014) where 96 percent of the respondents mentioned that when negative feedback is delivered and received appropriately, it is effective at improving performance. As the industry is driven by sales and experience, feedback is valued. Therefore, it is crucial to point out the various responses employees could have when receiving feedback.
Objective and scope of study
The aim of the study is to better understand how employees can respond to feedback positively in the hotel industry.
The hotel may face major challenges such as absenteeism and employee turnover which can become widespread if the hotel do not take action in helping employees deal with negative feedback (Kraft, D. n.d.). The solutions proposed for this problem are long-term rather than short-lived ones so that they can address the root cause of the issue.
In order to do that, the employee have to understand the concept of feedback. A feedback is given so that an individual will know if their behaviour is acceptable. It is allowing the individual to know if he or she should continue or to change the undesirable action. It helps learners to maximise their potential at different stages of training, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve performance (Kennedy, D., & Mcgarthy, D., 2015).
The proposed solution will be in the following ways:
- Listen carefully and do not react first – This is to ensure that the receiver of the feedback understand what the criticism is about before reacting. Do not get defensive and have some time to absorb the feedback.
- Assess the feedback – Being able to differentiate between an opinion and fact will allow receiver to respond effectively and comprehend the situation more clearly. Also, check if the feedback is accurate by evaluating the feedback objectively.
- Request time to think – Thank the commenter for the feedback before confirming that the commenter’s concerns have been understood and that the receiver would like to get back to the commenter at a later time. It defuses the emotional load for the receiver and understand where the commenter is coming from. Furthermore, even if it is hard to understand from the commenter’s point of view, the receiver can seek out friends or family members to get alternate opinions.
- Understand it but don’t dwell on it – After having the opportunity to think and discuss with others, understand the feedback and improve on behavior and attitude. After working through feelings, let the negativity go by remembering that it is just a job and it does not correlate the receiver’s value as a human being in.
- Apologise and clarify – Head back and apologise to the commenter. The receiver should be aware of what has been done wrongly as well as what could have done better. The commenter will appreciate the effort which the receiver took to analyse the problem as well as the next steps to take to get rid of that negative attitude or behaviour.
- Use it to make yourself better – Negative feedback may be positive as it allows people to have opportunities to grow. Even though such feedback might not be pleasant to hear, it provides another perspective to consider. Therefore, whenever a negative feedback is received, process it, think about how to learn from it and move on.
Benefits to the workplace
Every organisation seeks to create a culture where feedback can be shared and received effectively. The benefits of an improved feedback system would bring long-term benefits to the company which includes higher employee engagement, job satisfaction and lower turnover. Multi-source feedback is believed to increase motivation among staff, translating into positive behaviour change, increased productivity and self awareness which are fundamental for the progress of any organisation (Saedon H. et.al., 2012) When employees are able to acknowledge negative feedback and are equipped with the knowledge on handling them, they will be more prepared to accept it.
The team would collect primary sources through observations in the hotel and interviews with frontline employees will be conducted to understand how they address the problems faced.
Our teammate, Riley, has encountered negative feedback given by a guest when she was working in the hotel during her internship. Initially, she found it difficult to accept the negative feedback as she felt that it was not entirely her fault. However, after the incident, she managed to get some advice from her seniors at work. Some of the solutions listed above was the advices given by her seniors which was relatable to her situation at that point in time. On top of that, she added ways to deal with the feedback. Therefore, the solutions suggested was extremely relevant and can be applied to the industry.
Our research has also included relevant academic journals and articles that will be used as references to supplement our primary data.
The hotel industry is a challenging and fast-paced environment where employees will meet guests from all walks of life. It is essential for the employee to be able to adapt and approach feedback in a positive manner. This would allow them to improve and grow in their career ladder.
Kennedy, D., & Mcgarthy, D. (2015, July 28). The importance of feedback and why effective leaders will provide it and seek it. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/07/28/importance-feedback-effective-leaders-provide-seek-it/
Kraft, D. (n.d.). What Problems Can Negative Feedback Cause on the Job? Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://woman.thenest.com/problems-can-negative-feedback-cause-job-15087.html
Saedon, H., Saleh, S., Balakrishnan, A., Imray, C. H., & Saedon, M. (2012, May 2). The role of feedback in improving the effectiveness of workplace based assessments: a systematic review. Retrieved March 17 , 2017, from https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6920-12-25
Zenger, J., & Folkman, J. (2014). Feedback: The Powerful Paradox. ZengerFolkman. Retrieved from http://zengerfolkman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ZF-Feedback-The-Powerful-Paradox.pdf