In the people-focused hospitality industry, teamwork is absolutely essential to the success of any business. From hotels and restaurants to cruise ships or theme parks, all hospitality operators rely on the effectiveness of their teams across all divisions. To understand how and why it’s so important, we’ll explore the four key reasons why it is particularly crucial in a time-sensitive industry built around creating memorable guest experiences. However, to start with let’s take a look at what good teamwork actually means.
The difference between good teamwork and bad teamwork in hospitality
For anyone who has been working in hospitality, you’ve probably had experience working in a good team environment compared to one that’s perhaps not ideal. Perhaps you’ve worked in a kitchen where there’s hostility between staff or a large organisation where different area divisions don’t communicate with each other clearly.
Working in a good team means not only getting the job done more effectively across the whole organisation, but it also feels better for the employees within teams.
Put simply, good teamwork means:
- Effective communication
- Individual talent
- Sense of belonging to the group
- Good leadership
- Clear structure and planning
- Achievable goals
- Feedback is constructive or positive
- Positive and solutions focused
- Empathetic and effective conflict resolution
On the other hand, bad teamwork looks like:
- Hierarchical dominance
- Communication breakdowns
- Attitude of indifference
- Lack of planning
- Absence of trust
- Clashing personalities and skill sets
- Goal misalignment
- Resistance to change
- Inadequate conflict resolution
Just by looking at this list, it’s clear to see how the hallmarks of good teamwork, such as effective communication and constructive feedback will lead directly to more effective outcomes for a hospitality business.
How teamwork affects hospitality businesses
Let’s take a closer look at the four key ways these factors have a particular impact when it comes to the hospitality industry.
1. Efficient Operations
Businesses in the hospitality industry operate under revenue-management time pressure. There are rooms that must be filled and food that must be eaten in order to generate profit. In this time-sensitive environment, businesses are even more vulnerable than usual to any kind of issues disrupting the efficiency or flow of operations.
In large hotels or hospitality businesses, tasks and responsibilities must be handled seamlessly across different departments. Sometimes, each of these departments may have hundreds of employees under one roof. The kitchen, front of house, operations, rooms division, management, finance and marketing teams must be able to coordinate with each other effectively. Team leaders must be able to delegate and coordinate many tasks simultaneously, as well as communicate with managers from other divisions.
When employees collaborate effectively, they eliminate bottlenecks and avoid duplication of tasks and delays. Effective communication, planning and delegation ensure that kitchen supplies are stocked, guests are served, rooms are cleaned and requests from customers are met. In fact, one study by Stanford University shows that individuals who work in collaborative teams are more than 50% more effective at completing tasks than those who work independently.
Whether it's checking guests in and out, handling room service, or managing reservations, a cohesive team can streamline all the different processes involved in running a hospitality business, leading to improved productivity and customer satisfaction.
2. Better Guest Experiences
Providing exceptional guest experiences is at the heart of every hospitality business, whether you’re offering a romantic evening at your restaurant or a summer family holiday at your resort.
Creating unforgettable guest experiences not only means you’re doing your job, it also means you’re creating loyal customers who recommend your business to friends and family, or who leave positive reviews online. That’s incredibly important in the hospitality industry, because of how much customers rely on peer reviews to make their choices.
According to data from TripAdvisor, 81% of people frequently or always read reviews before booking a hotel. Plus, in Australia, 38% of people discover new brands through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Effective teams are central to creating exceptional guest experiences. When employees work together as a cohesive unit, they can deliver personalised and memorable service that goes above and beyond the standard. Effective communication and delegation of tasks among team members ensures that requests are fulfilled accurately and on time, while collaborative problem-solving enables swift resolution of any issues or conflicts that may arise.
By fostering a culture of teamwork, hospitality establishments also create a warm and welcoming environment where guests feel valued, fostering loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. There is nothing less enjoyable for customers than coming into a hospitality environment where there is clear hostility or underlying tension among teams of staff.
3. Flexibility and Adaptability
Last-minute cancellations, sudden increases in bookings, orders that aren’t fulfilled and even pandemic lockdowns: the hospitality industry is known for its ever-changing nature, with unexpected situations and challenges that can arise at any moment.
Good teamwork equips employees with the flexibility and adaptability necessary to navigate uncertainties. By working well together and having trust in each other, teams can share their expertise, brainstorm innovative solutions, and support one another during high-pressure situations. If team members have the ability to exchange information fast, offer constructive feedback and respond quickly to issues, the whole business benefits during times of crisis.
In fact, consulting firm McKinsey recommended during the pandemic that the best strategy for businesses to navigate the COVID-19 crisis was to create fast-response networks of teams that can respond quickly to issues.
Fostering a collaborative approach to teamwork ensures that businesses can swiftly adapt to changing circumstances. By fostering all the aspects of good teamwork mentioned in the list at the beginning of this article, hospitality organisations can build a resilient workforce capable of weathering uncertain times.
4. Employee Morale and Motivation
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of good teamwork in the hospitality industry is how it affects employee morale. The hospitality industry has a particularly high turnover compared to many industries, and many countries including Australia are still experiencing staff shortages even after the pandemic.
One of the easy ways that hospitality businesses can improve staff hiring and retention rates is by offering employees a really great team environment to work in. Research shows that brands that encourage effective teamwork and collaboration reduce employee turnover rates by 50%, plus employees report being 17% more satisfied with their job when they engage in better collaboration at work.
When individuals work together toward a shared goal in a friendly and respectful environment, they feel a sense of belonging and purpose. Effective teamwork encourages open communication, respect for diverse perspectives, and the opportunity to learn from one another through constructive feedback.
Plus, creating a positive teamwork environment not only enhances employee satisfaction but also boosts productivity. According to one survey, positive workplace satisfaction was found to boost productivity by as much as 31%.
Happy team members working under great leadership are more likely to support and uplift each other, creating an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and appreciated. Celebrating achievements as a team further reinforces a culture of teamwork and serves as a powerful motivator for staff to do their best work. So, don’t forget to organise staff awards, bonuses, celebrations and team-building activities in your hospitality business.