Mentoring Matters: What’s The Best Way to “Fast-Track” a Promotion in My Hospitality Career?

by Steve DiGioia, MASTERMINDS Panel Member

Dear MasterMinds:

What’s The Best Way to “Fast-Track” a Promotion in My Hospitality Career?

An excellent question, particularly in today’s employment market, and indeed within the hospitality industry. Companies and businesses all over this country are littered with the remnants of employees that do a “good job”. But what about those employees that will go above PAY it FORWARDand beyond?  There is nothing that impresses a boss more than an employee that takes the initiative. The initiative to do more than he or she is asked for. The initiative to plan ahead, look at the “big picture”, and take the steps needed to make things better and improve on the existing way things are done.  These are the employees that get noticed and will be next in line for recognition and advancement.

Here is a road map towards your career advancement.

Don’t Get Involved In Office Politics

  • Do not be part of office gossip
  • Do not be concerned about being “part of the crowd”
  • Never use foul language
  • Leaders don’t need to tell anyone that they are a leader, their actions speak for themselves
  • Set yourself up for success

Learn All You Can About Your Position.

  • Study the job descriptions of your staff and your own position as well
    • Make sure that you are doing what is expected of you
  • Review past captain reports or event critiques
    • Learn what has worked in the past and what has not.  Use this information in preparation for similar events in the future.
  • Review staff scheduling procedures
    • Can you adjust the staff schedule times and/or volume to better maximize productivity and reduce payroll costs?
  • Monitor budgeted line items relating to your department
    • See where you are over spending or under spending.  Adjust your costs accordingly.

Develop a Standard Operating Procedures Manual For Your Department

  • Make this the “bible” for your department
  • Include all pertinent photos, reports, guidelines as appropriate
  • Include minutes from all monthly meetings and training sessions
  • Update regularly

Volunteer to Spend Time With Senior Managers From Other Departments That Interact With Yours.  Find Out What Works And What Doesn’t.

Many times we don’t realize that the actions of our department are negatively affecting the operation of another.  Are we storing our equipment in an area that belongs to another?  If we are late at completing a task, does this hurt other departments?  In most hotels, each department is closely dependant on another in order to satisfy the customer.  Can you foster better cooperation between the departments that rely on you?

  • Sales with Operations
  • Front Desk with Housekeeping
  • Banquets with Kitchen
  • Reservations with Front Desk
  • Housekeeping with Engineering

Contact Local Fire Marshal

  • Set a meeting with the local Fire Marshal
  • Explain that you desire to ensure your department adheres to all codes & regulations
  • If possible, get a printed copy of expected codes/regulations in regards to your business or property.  Make this part of your departmental guide

Invite Outside Vendors To Hold Product Seminars

  • Liquor/wine vendors can teach your staff about their products
    • Many also offer TIPS or other alcohol awareness training
  • Cleaning chemical vendor can usually provide safety training
    • Teach your staff safe chemical handling practices
    • Make sure appropriate chemicals are being used for the right situation
    • Review OSHA guidelines, make sure you are in compliance
  • Meat vendor can provide display charts of the different cuts of meat and proper ways to prepare the meat for cooking
    • Many also offer “Serve-Safe” or other safe food handling training
  • Keep accurate records of all training offered or taken

***Now it is appropriate to inform your General Manager/Senior manager of what you have been doing and why you are doing it.  Let him/her know that you want to be an integral part of the business and have much more to offer to the company.  Clearly write all steps taken so far and what is planned next.  Provide your manager with an outline of upcoming tasks planned.  Let your manager know that you will keep him/her aware of your progress and ask for possible assistance for future items.

Become a Member of Trade Associations & Groups

  • Network with others in your industry to learn more
  • Subscribe to appropriate trade journals
  • Read customer service books
  • Follow industry specific blogs, websites

Clearly Identify Equipment and Service Items That Must Be Addressed/Improved

  • Complete a list of service items that must be improved upon and the steps you will take to do so
  • Toward the end of each year, most companies will ask department heads to identify a “wish list” of big ticket items that are needed or desired order to better serve the customer
    • Write your “wish list” of equipment
    • Include photos, competitive prices, equipment specifications, and the vendors available to purchase from
    • This will make items on your wish list easier to be approved because you have already done the research and due diligence ahead of time

Hold a “Back-to-Basics” Training Class For Your Staff

  • Identify challenges within your department
  • Reaffirm all standards and expectations
  • Develop future job specific training classes for your team
  • Develop future customer service training classes for your team
    • Note: this training must be in addition to the regular training given to all newly hired staff immediately upon starting.
  • Invite other department-heads to join your classes.  They may have valuable insight on how to foster additional cooperation between departments
    • They will also see how you are quickly becoming a leader and will respect your efforts

·Write a Monthly/Quarterly Newsletter For Your Department.  Include The Following:

  • Guest feedback letters
  • Customer service stories focusing on your staff
  • Employee of the month winners
  • New procedures
  • Upcoming events
  • Additional books, training information available
  • Post this newsletter in your department and in an area visible to others
  • Send this newsletter to all department heads and General Manager
  • Give a separate copy to your Human Resources Department along with all monthly meeting minutes

In conclusion:

Be someone that is willing to help all others as needed.  Before your know it, you will be recognized as the person that is not only willing to go above and beyond but as the employee that is a leader within your company; first by your direct reporting staff, then by others within your company.  The “boss” won’t be far behind.

If, during a meetings with your supervisor(s), he or she mentions a future task that is needed, volunteer to be the one to do it.  And do it well.  Complete the task before the time allotted.  Be prepared to shine.

I realize that all the above tasks will take considerable time away from your “normal” work duties and may be very difficult to complete.  But remember, you are the one that wanted to advance, you are the one that wants a promotion, and to be on the fast track for advancement.  It’s the employees that go above and beyond who are chosen for that honor.  You can be the next one selected in your company for advancement.  I know you can do it!

“Mentoring Matters” is an exclusive ongoing series of Articles featuring select questions received from our readers via our @MENTORING Channel, with responses provided by our @Masterminds Panel. If you’d like your business or career challenge considered for publication, please visit our @Need A Mentor? Page today! And please don’t forget to join our new mentoring community on Linkedin, committed to giving back by paying it forward: BIZMENTORING 360°.

Steve DiGioia
WITH 20+ years in the hospitality industry and a lifetime of customer service experience, Steve DiGioia uses storytelling to share real-world tips and tactics to improve your customer service, increase employee morale and provide the experience your customers’ desire. As a customer service trainer, coach, author & speaker, Steve was recently voted one of the “World’s Top 30 Customer Service Professionals” by Global, a “Top 50 Customer Thought Leader” by ICMI and is a featured contributor to many hospitality and customer service websites. Steve continues his pursuit of excellence on his award-winning blog sharing his best tips on customer service, management, and leadership. Follow Steve on all of his social media channels below.








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