Cleaning and maintenance is prime to any hotel property, as it not just impacts on the image but the very business foundation of the hotel. On an average, the staff intensive housekeeping department at any time in a hotel has anywhere between 15 to 30 or more staff engaged in professional cleaning of the premises. At an age of outsourcing staff right from the front office to operations, why is it that the Indian hotel industry is more comfortable with in-house housekeeping staff? Is the Facility Services sector ready to service the hospitality industry? Mohana M discusses
Consistency & Focus
“Outsourcing facility services is the future in Indian hospitality industry. Most Indian hotels still prefer to have in-house staff right from the janitor to the room attendant. I am more confident of in-house capabilities rather than that of the facility service provider. I believe that inhouse staff will be more focussed on the housekeeping than a third party which manages several units and has to cater to the needs of multiple hotels. There are many problems associated with outsourcing, the biggest being absenteeism, frequently changing staff and issues related to training, loyalty & ethics, pilferages, and most importantly security.
Laundry, horticulture and pest control are among the areas which are comfortably outsourced completely, because in-house staff is likely to have limited knowledge about these specialised services.
In fact, in the current scenario, during my associations with the outsourced teams I have groomed and trained the selected associates who showed keen interest to be a part of the organisation, have stability in work, gain abilities to work independently sometimes even without supervision.
Taking this forward, I expect facility service provider to reduce payroll cost and provide quick replacements of staff when required. The facility service providers should have some training & development programs to groom their team in sync with time. This will in turn pave a way for the facility services industry to grow in India. Joint efforts from the executive housekeepers and the facility service providers will have positive results.” — Sonia Mital, Executive Housekeeper, Ramada Powai Hotel & Convention Centre
The kind of manpower engaged with, in the outsourcing model, has to be considered. It is true that the manpower can be groomed and get attuned to the hotel expectations, however there has to be quality in order to train or put the outsourced staff in keeping with the standards.
“There are enough service providers in the market currently catering to the hospitality sector. However, the challenge is in finding the right one who can deliver good quality manpower consistently. We require a service provider who can provide quality, well-groomed and trained manpower.” — Shilpi Khanna, Executive Housekeeper, Marriott Hotels
“Facility services are currently not a solution for luxury hospitality segment. They are gradually stepping into hospitality with limited scope. Hospitality segment hires aspiring hotel management graduates who often come from a hospitality background and have far better understanding of hotels and hospitality. Facility management is not the first choice of hotel management graduates and hence, they often have a general background.
So, facility management does stand a good chance of serving hospitality sector if their team comprises hotel management graduates and experienced professionals!
Any Housekeeper’s dream is to communicate with a team which is ambitious and reduces the repetition of instructions to achieve better consistency at work. With FS companies, it becomes a tedious practice to enforce the hiring of better educated team with basic to average English-speaking skills.
FS companies should pay more attention to having proper training in place with regards to grooming, English speaking classes and basic Housekeeping practices. They should also provide supervisors on sight to improve communication with hotel management and its expectations.
It has also been noticed that FS company’s salary structure is not in line with market or hotel which often results in poor productivity of team members who tend to join hotels for better salary or facilities.
Hotels do, in general, outsource maintenance of public areas to housekeeping companies. FS companies get benefitted by having their team in place at best of hotels where they get trained and coached well. They often grow within their division to better posts, post getting exposed to hotel environment.” — Pamini Hemaprabha, Executive Housekeeper, Regional Rooms Specialist, Master Trainer at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi