AFEEF HUSSAIN

Speaker in Focus Interview – Afeef Hussain

With the Employee Engagement Summit less than a month away, we want to give you a sneak preview of just some of the content you will expect to hear from our Topic Streams and Case Studies. Today, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director of Training for Lux Resorts joins us to discuss emotional engagement, customer loyalty and where he feels the Employee Engagement industry is heading…

Please tell us more about the Employee Engagement approach that LUX* South Ari Atoll – Maldives adopt:

LUX* Resorts and Hotels believe in the philosophy of people and the difference they can make. Across our group, we use a four-pronged approach. This approach combines four different elements namely Culture DNA, Continuous Learning, Innovation and Measurement. At all our properties and LUX* South Ari Atoll; on a daily basis we do several things and are repeated daily, weekly and monthly which adds value to our Employee and Guest Engagement level. At LUX* we believe in the idea of “if you want your people to deliver world-class service to guests; it has to start from the internal service culture”. This is always communicated and actively shared with existing and new Team Members. The four-pronged approach helps us to align the action of all our team members with the Culture DNA of LUX* which is known as VPV – Vision, Purpose and Values.

How do you maintain that culture throughout the whole organisation?

We maintain the culture through continuous learning, education and training. The key to preserving and strive for excellence in any service culture is doing things repeatedly and consistently. As explained above the four-pronged approach: under the Culture DNA; we have five values; on a daily basis with all our team members across LUX* Resorts and Hotel, this value gets shared “as a value of the day”. This is shared in meetings verbally, electronically and through social media platforms as appropriate per hotel. This reminds and keep our team members on the go and understands how important the values of LUX* Resorts and Hotels when it comes to striving for service culture. Under the pillar of Continuous Education; we have daily sessions which not only provide the training which is “how to do a task” but rather we focus on service education (Why we do what we do and awareness on the growth mindset). 60% of teaching during a three half-day Orientation program for all New Team Members is all about Service and Quality. Under the scope of Innovation; every year we have a competition purely focused on new ideas; a competition open for all Team Members categorised under sub-themes such as Innovate to Increase Guest Loyalty, Team Member Loyalty, Revenue, Reduce Cost and Waste and Productivity.  From 2013-2017 we have conducted This consistently, and for 2018, our topic is “innovate to reduce waste”.

So in a nutshell, it is the consistency of what we do and the commitment from the top leadership that drives our service culture.

At LUX* we believe that In the Race of Excellence there is no finish line… so we must keep going, and we must take new actions daily to enhance and enrich our service culture.

What are you most looking forward to about the Employee Engagement Summit this year?

In 2018, Culture Summit, I am looking forward to understanding how organisations are adapting and becoming agile to the needs and demands of the millennial workforce. As we all know millennial are looking into meaningful working environments or useful tasks, how to make an impact and most importantly they want to be valued not financially but from an employ engagement point of view. Best practices of how organisations are adapting to their expectations and needs and how this will change over the years at least for the next ten years.

What do you think the key trends are in employee engagement and where do you think the industry is heading?

As far as I see in various industries is all about providing a meaningful working environment and valuing employees. It is not just about money or financial rewards. Providing significant workplace could be around having the employees encounter complex work-related challenges, have them come out with it from confidence, deliver the results;’ when they look back they can feel proud of what they have achieved. Such moments will always increase their engagement. Not every hard working employee lives with a high engagement level. But all the organisations can think of getting the best of their people by providing constant challenges, productive tasks and making them feel they are a part of something bigger than coming to work daily. This is where the engagement starts, and as long as they feel and are proud of what they’re doing, the level of engagement will keep going up.

One more important factor is creating a culture where employees feel they want to come to work not that they have to come to work. There is a big difference between these two. Employees who think and believe and come to work because they want will make a big difference in creating and enhancing the value of engagement across the organisation. They bring a certain level of energy which is infectious.

How has Employee Engagement changed since Lux Maldives Resorts inputted the four-pronged approach?

Yes, we have used the four-pronged approach since 2011, and now it has become a daily practice. All the four pillars of four-pronged approach are active in all our properties; team members understand and know that the things that we repeatedly do add value to our overall employee engagement and resort culture. We have initiatives and activities that run on a daily basis supporting the four pillars, Culture DNA, Continuous Learning, Innovation and Measurement. Daily the actions and achievements resulting from these four elements are shared with all Team Members. This keeps them on alert for various culture clues and understands what their role is in maintaining the Four-pronged approach. All New Team Members are trained and educated on this approach. For us, internal service culture is critical and paramount to our evolving success. This will and always be the primary focus with LUX* Resorts and Hotels.