The executive housekeeper must be able to maintain the housekeeping standards through effective staff management and procedures. The housekeeping department is one of the most important departments in the hotel industry, yet very demanding.
The duty of the executive housekeeper is to direct and control housekeeping operations and staff in the housekeeping department. Regardless of the size ot the hotel or resort, an executive housekeeper, co-ordinates between housekeeping crews to inspect assigned areas to ensure standards are met. As an executive housekeeper it is important to manage many priorities and demands and be able to solve problems and support your team to deliver highest quality of service standards.
Procedures for maintaining an efficient housekeeping service will depend on a number of variables:
The executive housekeeper can achieve set objectives by doing the following effectively:
The executive housekeeper must plan and organise the following: people, time, budgets and expenses, work methods, supplies, materials and equipment
Objectives cannot be met unless the following are effectively implemented and carried out:
As an executive housekeeper, you will need to have the necessary skills to do the following:
Checking of all procedures, systems, controls, standards
The effective housekeeper measures performance against objectives:
Staff performance and productivity
Members of the housekeeping department need to have clear and specific guidelines on what they are expected to perform in their jobs, and how they are expected to do this. Adherence to procedures will ensure consistent standards and controls. Staff performance cannot be measured unless standards are in place and clearly communicated and understood.
Your human resource department may be able to assist you with the writing of job descriptions and task lists.
Procedures can be communicated in the following situations:
Communication methods will vary according to the members of staff and the cultural diversity of the workforce:
Routine daily inspections are carried out for a number of reasons:
What to check for:
Basic areas that will be covered by an inspection will ensure that:
A room inspection report should be completed which notes such items as the condition of furniture, fixtures and equipment, etc.
Housekeeping objectives and standards can only be achieved through teamwork and communication. Effective planning and allocation of people and tasks will ensure that activities are completed competently, and that staff members are motivated and productive.
Different organisations use many different approaches to staff development, training, monitoring and discipline. The following are guidelines:
Staff capabilities and development plans
The Skills Development Act, in brief, requires that training is planned and documented for staff and individuals. Hotels are required to annually submit a workplace skills plan for all intended training for each year, and are required to submit an annual workplace skills report on actual training delivered or implemented. Your skills development facilitator or human resources department will be able to provide comprehensive details of your establishment’s training objectives and achievements. You can also use external providers for housekeeping training.
Procedures or policies for consulting with staff will vary according to the type and size of the organisation or operation. The following are guidelines for consulting with staff on performance issues:
Every person needs to feel involved and worthwhile, and will perform better if consulted on a regular basis. Staff on the floors often observe or experience problems that are not identified by management. Open communication and consultation with staff will encourage them to identify performance or system problems, and to suggest improvements.
Staff who do not comply with work procedures and company requirements will affect the standards and service of the housekeeping operation. Disciplinary procedures should only be implemented in cases where every effort has been made to discuss and correct work performance or other issues with the employee.
Supervisors and Heads of Department must be familiar with the disciplinary procedures and should, ideally, be trained on the processes to be followed. Procedures must be strictly followed to ensure consistence, fairness and objectivity,
Staff must be informed of disciplinary, appeal and grievance procedures when they first join the establishment, and copies of the relevant procedures should be included in induction handouts or employee handbooks. Procedures may vary according to the documentation used by the organisation, but the actual steps followed in the disciplinary process are generally the same.
All aspects of the housekeeping operation must be continuously checked, measured and evaluated to ensure that people, systems, products and processes meet the standards of the organisation of the customers. Establishments that are committed to quality have a competitive edge because they always striving to maintain and improve what they do and how they do it. Customers demand satisfaction, and expect that they receive a quality service for the money they spend in an accommodation establishment.
Quality control or assurance procedures will vary according the organisation. These may be simple or fairly complex. The following are indicators for measuring quality:
Quality and standards of the housekeeping service will depend on the ongoing maintenance or repair in all relevant areas. Poor working relationships with the Maintenance Department and ineffective maintenance reporting procedures will affect the standard of the operation. Prompt handling of faults will ensure that standards are maintained, and will impact on guest satisfaction.
Maintenance reporting procedures will vary according to the type, size and scope of the operation. The following are guidelines for reporting maintenance faults:
The executive housekeeper is responsible for managing a large inventory of supplies, materials and equipment, and for supplying the correct type, quality and quantity to staff on a daily basis. Shortages of any of these will affect the standards of the housekeeping service, will prevent staff form completing work activities, and will impact on guest satisfaction and the operation as a whole.
Par levels are the standard number of stock items needed to support daily or routine housekeeping operations. Par stock levels will differ according to whether they are recycled or non-recycled items. The housekeeper must calculate par stock for each item that is used, and ensure that stock holdings are sufficient to maintain operations on a routine, daily basis.
Linens, uniforms, cleaning equipment and machinery are items that are used over and over for an extended period. The housekeeper is responsible for identifying minimum and maximum stock holdings for these items, and will supply according to these levels.
Orders are placed when items are between minimum and maximum levels.
Some housekeeping supplies or items that are consumed or used up during daily routine operations include: cleaning agents or chemicals, guest supplies, disposable items and amenities. These items will be supplied according to the rate of consumption – how many are used up, or how fast or quickly the supplies, such as chemicals, are used. Supplies such as soaps, shampoos etc. will be issued according to the type and number required in each room each day, and the number of rooms occupied.
Below is an example of how to calculate a par stock level for queen size sheets for a hotel that uses an in-house laundry operation, and supplies two sheets for each of the 162 queen size beds:
The housekeeping operation cannot be controlled unless records are maintained and updated on a daily basis. All activities in the department must be reported and recorded. Poor recording may result in the following:
The types of records will vary according to the size and procedures of the operation. Records that will need to be maintained and updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis may include:
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