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As Grand Hyatt walks the talk, staff are walking tall
Liana Cafolla
update on Wednesday, June 22, 2011
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Vida Chow, area director of human resources at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, was thrilled but not entirely surprised to hear that her hotel had won a Best Employer award.

"We feel very honoured, but at the same time, we are quietly confident about this award because overall we are very privileged to have a great team," says Chow, who has been with the hotel for 22 years.

She is not alone in her long service - 76 per cent of the hotel's 790 employees have been with the company for more than 20 years.

Grand Hyatt's people ethos is based around a basic formula: "happy employees = happy customers". Much effort is spent on communications as a way of resolving problems as early as possible. Chow says one way to achieve this is through "Hyattalk", a twice-weekly informal discussion among team members from different departments, led by Chow and the general manager (GM).

"The rules are very simple - it's got to be constructive [and] positive. If you have comments and feedback, let us know, and we will listen to you and respond accordingly. So far, it has been very powerful," she says.

Hyatt uses its other properties in the region to help provide employees with new opportunities. After being set specific goals and targets, staff are encouraged to spend up to a week at another property to "grow outside of their comfort zone," says Chow.

The hotel also helps its employees find healthy ways to relieve stress. As well as a five-day work week, good teamwork is essential, Chow adds. "We believe that if you want to be a Best Employer, you've got to build that camaraderie, the team spirit. Because we have a five-day week, we do spend to a bit longer hours on the five days that we do work, so you tend to spend a lot of time together. So we want to make sure that we create that very positive energy."

Team-building is encouraged through a host of activities, such as sports. Hyatt was first runner-up at the Hong Kong Hotels Association soccer competition, which the GM attended. The hotel also had dragon boat and Oxfam Trailwalker teams.

"Activities bring people together," says Chow. "Activities make people feel that, hey, it's not just about work, it's not just about hotel occupancy and revenue and rates, it's also about having fun."

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