Alternative staff training: The power of motivational speaking

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Subjecting staff to motivational speeches each day can help improve service
Subjecting staff to motivational speeches each day can help improve service
No matter how skilled an employee is, if they don’t feel motivated to do their job, they won’t perform well.

While this can be tackled by setting personal and team goals and recognising and rewarding talent, Marriott hotels is finding an alternative way to boost staff morale.

“We’ve been working with Marcus Childs, a well known motivational speaker, for 14 years now and find that he leaves people feeling very positive and enthusiastic to do their work,” says Sergio Snyder, training director for Marriott Europe.

Childs was first employed as a speaker for the hotel giant’s graduate trainees, when he devised a bespoke, motivational training programme called Spirit to Serve, which aimed to inspire staff to bring their passion and energy into the workplace.

Relaxed learning

Now he is working with the group to create a series of MP3 players loaded with bespoke motivational speeches to potentially roll out to staff members across the company.

“The idea here would be that our staff plug their MP3 players into their ears each morning on the way to work and get a bit of inspiration from Marcus about starting their day,” explains Snyder.

“One of the subjects is about being positive at work, so we’d want to inject that into our staff members every day. The idea is also moving in with the new generation of people that are comfortable using MP3 players rather than sitting in a classroom listening to someone talk.”

Another speech, named Wow Factory, inspires listeners to create “the tingle factor” in their day to day lives, encouraging them to find small ways to change “ordinary experiences into something memorable and energising”.

Tiny Noticeable Things

These TNTs (Tiny Noticeable Things) can be anything from a smile or opening a door for guests, to more imaginative gestures like remembering the names of frequent guests or diners.

The effect, says Snyder, can not only be a marked improvement in employee engagement with their work, plus an increase in profitability too.

“Over the years we’ve seen that a positive attitude increases productivity and drives revenue. Because people enjoy what they do more, they are more motivated and positive, and therefore more likely to sell your product better.”

Childs, who has worked with many companies over the years to motivate staff, said the best example of his speeches taking effect is Anne-Marie Dowling, general manager of Guoman’s The Royal Horseguards Hotel.

“She started off as a housekeeper in Slough Windsor Marriott with only an O-Level qualification in pottery and needlework,” he explained. “She’s a huge devotee of this method of training, and a fantastic example of its effect.

“These speeches are all about setting goals that would stretch people further than they otherwise might,” he added.

Total staff training

Snyder is hoping to trial the MP3 players across the senior management level in a handful of Marriott’s UK hotels in Q2 next year, and if all goes well, will eventually roll-out the concept to lower level staff too.

And while the hotel chain is well-known for its focus on staff training and development, Snyder says nothing comes close to inspiring productivity more than hiring a motivational speaker.

“We run very extensive, periodical core training programmes at Marriott, but motivation is always something you can work on every day.

“I believe the speeches initiate the more productive side of people, so the motivational aspect actually drives the other core training we do with our staff.”

Read more articles in this series here​.

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