This week we are exploring “the system behind the smiles”: three key “people processes” Ritz-Carlton uses to create world-class guest experiences.  These best practices were shared by Ritz-Carlton as part of a six-hour virtual training I had the privilege of attending earlier this year. 

1: Happy clients are the foundation of all successful companies.  Happy clients buy more and tell their friends.  

Happy clients = Happy company.

But Ritz-Carlton understands memorable customer experiences which lead to “happy clients” will not happen without highly engaged, empowered Ritz-Carlton staffers.  

Their philosophy?  

“Employee engagement ties to client engagement.”  If we want happy engaged clients, it begins with happy, engaged associates. 

[Aside: “Happy associates = Happy clients” is the PCI business strategy.]

2: Today, we look at Ritz-Carlton’s robust talent selection process.  

Their goal?  

To select “the top 2% of people in the service industry.”  Ritz-Carlton believes there is simply no substitute for talent.  The best of the best.  No compromises.  The firm subscribes to the old adage: “Hire slow.  Fire fast.”

Their selection process is based on finding associates who possess the key competencies the hotel has identified that lead to success.  Many of the capabilities they look for are “soft skills,” including passion, perseverance, fire, and drive.  

Candidates begin by taking a timed, online assessment which seeks to identify people who possess a deep sense of service.  Ritz-Carlton believes someone can’t be taught to care.  

“You can teach someone the technical skills for a position or a role, but you can’t train them to have a sincere, caring attitude for others.  Particularly for customer-facing roles and front-line positions, we’re looking for someone with a service mentality.  If you don’t have that genuine desire to serve, it’s not going to come across as authentic, and our guests will know it,” says Jamey Lutz, author and former Ritz-Carlton Performance Improvement Leader.

Next, they conduct multiple rounds of interviews with potential candidates, including situational interviews where applicants are asked how they would respond in different scenarios. 

3: Selecting the right people is a key component of how Ritz-Carlton evaluates leaders.  Leaders understand they are accountable for the performance of the people they hire.

The final step in the process is to spend five minutes with the General Manager of the property.  No offer letter is given without this key step.

More tomorrow.


Reflection:  How would I rate my firm’s selection process?  Are we identifying and selecting the right talent?

Action:  Seek out a colleague and discuss.

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