Brand and service standards are very important to uphold in the business world. Micah Soloman’s Forbes article How Ritz-Carlton And Four Seasons Empower Employees And Uphold Customer Service Standards discusses an ideal way to develop training and enforcement programs for standards. This ideal system is called PEPI. PEPI is an acronym for purpose, enforce intelligently, peer pressure, and input. Soloman describes these key phrases as:
“Purpose: Employees have a clear sense of purpose—and how the standard fits into it.
Enforce intelligently: Keep things visual, train, and reinforce.
Peer pressure: Positive peer pressure is a must.
Input: Employees are able to have a say in the refinements, changes, and even possible future abolition of the standard.”
Do you think the Four Seasons hotel sufficiently meets the PEPI standards?
What is interesting about the Four Seasons website is that there is no clear mission statement. On the Our Company page they discuss how the hotels are “dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality.” On the About Us page, the service culture is described through descriptions in four main areas. These areas consist of who we are, what we believe, how we succeed, and how we behave. Even though Four Seasons discusses these, the hotel chain does not distinguish what their mission is. In Jeff Higley’s article The Man Behind the Brand, the golden rule and the four pillars developed by Four Seasons Founder Isadore Sharp are mentioned and provide a better understanding as to what the Four Seasons sets out to do. The golden rule is the Four Seasons’ guiding principle and consists of “treating others as one would wish to be treated (Higley, 24).” The Four Pillars are as follows:
Do you think the Four Seasons has a clear sense of purpose? Since they do not identify their mission statement, what would you say their mission is?
In order to ensure employees have a good understanding of the Four Seasons, the hotel chain has developed three training programs to educate employees. These three programs consist of introductory training, non-management training, and supervisory and management training. Their introductory training entails a 90-day program, which provides insight on the work environment and corporate culture. To further reinforce how the company operates and what standards they aim to uphold, the employees are then able to stay at a resort and gain ““the Four Seasons experience” through the eyes of our guests (introductory training).” The non-management training has a standards training program, which teaches skills and safety practices to abide by, and has an ongoing product and departmental training program, which helps employees further their understanding of a specific department or product within the Four Seasons. Lastly, the supervisory and management training program offers a new manager orientation, the STEPS programme, development planning, the management development programme, and ugenius, which is an online database of resources. Overall, the company does well with enforcing employees intelligently.
Peter Redman describes the level of input and peer pressure employees have at the Four Seasons hotel chain in his article Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – “Golden Rule” is Measure of Success. Employees are able to give their feedback and input on company culture through answering surveys distributed to the corporate offices and hotels. Additionally, the employees face annual performance reviews to determine what areas they need to improve on and what areas they are succeeding in. Redman states, “all hotel employees are judged on their embodiment of company values.”
Do you think the Four Seasons sufficiently meets Soloman’s PEPI standards? What do you think the Four Seasons should do to further develop their business? What things do you believe set them apart from other hotel chains?