Human Resource Management in Saudi Tourism Sector

Training and education

The aspect of staff training is very imperative in yield management as it affects productivity. The focus of this discussion is on the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia and specifically the hotel industry. Almost one-third of the Saudi Arabia population is an expatriate population wherein 27.4 million people, 8.7 are expatriates from foreign countries. Three million expatriates work in the hotel and tourism industry (Sambidge, 2010). The expatriates need training and orientation on Saudi culture to work productively. For these workers to be productive they need to master the Saudi culture and the language of the country. Most of the hotels have orientation programs for the expatriate workers where they assist the new workers to understand the way of life in Saudi, the values and cultural norms that exist in the society. Luckily, most of the expatriates especially those from Yemen, Egypt, and Bangladesh have a basic understanding of the Arabic language, which makes it easy for them to interact with the local people. Those from western countries usually find it hard to learn Arabic and they use English that is acceptable especially in the hotel where most of the guests communicate in the English language. The expatriate training is more of an orientation whose aim is to assist the workers to adjust to the new location (Donaghy, 2007)

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Training and education on the other hand focus more on increasing the worker’s skills in hotel and tourism management (Domeier & Selmi, 2011). However, this orientation is an important part of training and yield management as those workers who are conversant with the culture have a positive attitude towards their work, are more accommodative, and do not suffer from cultural shock (O’Bryan, 2012).

There are several reasons, which make training in the hospitality industry of utmost importance. There is an increased need for labor in the hospitality industry mainly because Saudi Arabia is a tourist destination due to religious visits to Mecca and Medina in the Ramadan season (Sambidge, 2010). On the other hand, most of the Saudi nationals do not have high regard for the ordinary jobs in the industry such as housekeeping, attending the visitors, cleaning because they work in either senior management or keep out of the industry. The hospitality industry, therefore, employs a huge number of expatriate workers in low-class jobs. These workers need training on how to handle visitors and sensitization of their immense contribution to the hotel’s revenue (Domeier & Selmi, 2011). Training these workers goes a long way in building and increasing the organization’s revenues (Mayo, 2001). Training of workers is an integral part of human resource management that plays a vital role in yield management. Yield management ensures that the management practices exercised by an organization result in increased profitability of the business entity. Well-trained and efficient human resources result in increased efficiency and production (Donaghy, 2007).

The following are some of the steps of establishing an effective in-house training program. House, training is cost-effective mainly because it is an ongoing process and the workers have opportunities of implementing the ideas they have learned from the training. The first step is assessing and establishing the training needs (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007). This evaluation is imperative in formulating and effective employee training, which will equip the workers with the needed skills to increase production (Emekiz, Gursoy, & Icoz, 2006). This evaluation can be done by conducting an internal survey of employees’ competency where employees express how they feel about their competency and whether they would perform better if they had such training. It also may involve engaging a consultancy firm to assess the training needs of the employees that are working within the organization. After evaluation and identification of the training needs, the next step involves identifying the objectives of the training (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007). Designing the objectives ensures that the training will meet the knowledge and skills gap existing in the organization. In the hospitality industry, the objectives may include increased hotel revenues as well as increased employee competency (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007).

Once the goals and the objectives of the training are in place, what follows is planning about the training. This involves making decisions whether the training will be departmental or general (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007). Departmental training is more specific and its objectives may involve ensuring that the training offered in the departments’ results to the set objectives. After creating a training plan, the next step is deciding on how the training will be carried out. It is a decision on the place to hold the training, the materials, and the resources used for training. It also involves allocating time for the training. After the selection of how training will be done, the next step involves conducting the actual training. The actual training may be departmental or general (Mayo, 2001).

Departmental training will impart skills that are relevant to the people working in that particular department of the hotel such that if it is the waiters their training will be different from that of accountants and technicians working in the hotel (Emekiz, Gursoy & Icoz, 2006). Concerning the departmental training, there is a shortage of hotel managers who have specialization in hotel revenues management, which is becoming a core skill in the management of the hospitality industry (Mayo, 2001). Most of the hotels have preferred to outsource financial managers from the finance management industry. However, in-house training on senior management in yield management will increase the revenues generated by the business. After conducting the training, the other part involves ensuring that there is an evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the training (Domeier & Selmi, 2011). For this evaluation to be authentic, it must measure the effect of the training quantitatively in terms of return on investment. The evaluation should also assess whether there is increased competency among the employees (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007).

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The other aspect of the training is external training. Though external training is costly, it is also an important aspect of training, which involves taking the staff to conferences and seminars (O’Bryan, 2012). This training exposes the employees to new ideas through the discussions, presentations, and workshops held during the training (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007). They provide exposure and networking opportunities for the staff. These training are particularly necessary because they assist in developing a positive attitude among the employees concerning their work. The other aspect of training is developing ongoing training programs. For the training to be effective, it has to have ingredients of continuity and repetition. This is for instilling the best practices in the employees (O’Bryan, 2012).

Employee motivation and satisfaction

This is another aspect vital in human resource management, especially when discussing the contribution of human resources to yield management. Employee motivation and satisfaction is imperative as it determines the productivity of the employees (Bulgarella, 2005). Satisfied and well-motivated employees have higher performance than dissatisfied employees do. In the hospitality industry, this is applicable mainly because employees interact with the customers and customer satisfaction will come because of positive interaction with the employees (Novikova, 2007). Therefore, when the employees are less motivated it results in low-quality service, which results in customer dissatisfaction. The hospitality industry is a people-based business that is dependent on workers’ enthusiasm to incite positive feelings in the customers (Bulgarella, 2005).

When the employees are dissatisfied they are unable to create a good experience for the customers resulting in low sales and low return on investment. The other effect of low sales is on labor turnover (O’Bryan, 2012). When the level of dissatisfaction among the employees within an organization is high, it results in high employee turnover where the employees leave their workstations to seek better employment opportunities. This is costly to the organization because the management has to keep on hiring and training employees to stay in business. These training and hiring costs can be used elsewhere when there is little or no employee turnover. The human resource department must look for authentic ways of making the employees motivated and satisfied. The following are some of the ways of motivating employees (Kurt, 2007).

The first one is that the company must create incentives to motivate the employees. Such incentives include meeting the basic needs of the employees by providing them with appropriate salaries and making them feel like important members of society. The company should have a good remuneration plan for the employees. For the hotels to reduce the increased employee turnover, they can formulate a loyalty program where they reimburse employees who have worked in the company for one year consecutively with a certain amount of money (Novikova, 2007).

Money is not the only factor that creates employee satisfaction. Some of the employees indicate that they are more satisfied with job security and work more or better if they have a guarantee that they will still be working there for the next ten years. The human resource department must have reimbursements or employment on permanent terms for those in need of security (Hamilton, 2002).

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Other motivational aspects about incentives involve giving the employees holidays, holding dinners, and team building activities that help in developing cohesion and reducing conflicts among the employees. Conflicts among employees serve as a cause of dissatisfaction and low morale among the involved parties (Steven, 2008). Having bonding sessions and team building will be a major step in creating an appropriate mechanism of motivating the employees (Mayo, 2001).

The leadership style adopted by the organization also has a bearing on determining employee motivation. In an authoritarian style of leadership where the leader dictates instruction without taking the opinion of others, the motivation is usually very low (Novikova, 2007). On the other hand, in an organization where the leadership takes a participatory approach where decisions are collective and the leaders only serve as the facilitators, the employee performance is usually very high (Schein, 1992). This is because they feel that they are a part of the decision and that the management considers their contribution and opinions important (Kurt, 2007).

The other motivational aspect is the organization’s emphasis on goals or means (Mount, 2000). In an organization where the emphasis is on achieving particular targets with minimal supervision, the employees are likely to work harder to achieve the targets unlike in situations where there is close supervision and the emphasis is not on goals but on the procedures and the means of achieving those goals (Mount, 2000). The employee will be less motivated and satisfied in such instances. To ensure that workers in the hospitality industry are motivated and they perform well, the human resource managers must have a well-defined set of objectives for the employees. They must also be emphatic on the goals rather than the procedures and means. Having a well-formulated job description and expectations is imperative in employee motivation (Steven, 2008).

Training is an aspect of employee satisfaction and motivation. This is because training makes the employees feel competent and capable of the tasks assigned to them (Mayo, 2001). The competency availed through training creates employees’ loyalty and satisfaction as the employees are eager to implement and experiment with the concepts learned during training (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007).

The other motivating factor is job rotation where doing one type of work creates boredom and dissatisfaction among employees. To avoid this dissatisfaction, which results in low morale and low performance, creating a job rotation schedule, where employees rotate after six months is important. It trains the employee on different aspects of the hospitality services, reduces boredom, and creates increased enthusiasm (Rachel, 2008).

The revenues earned from the hospitality industry are highly dependent on the employees in the hospitality industry. Without employee satisfaction, the quality of the services offered will be compromised resulting in customer dissatisfaction. To increase motivation it may be imperative to link the job with the results achieved. This is by providing commission-based remuneration, especially to hotel revenue managers to motivate them to ensure that the hotel occupancy rates are high (Mount, 2000).

References

Bulgarella, C. (2005). Employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction: Is there a relationship? Guide star research, 2, 1-3.

Donaghy K. (2007). Implementing yield management: Lessons from the hotel sector. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 9, 50-54

Domeier, R. & Selmi, N. (2011). Yield management in the French hotel business: An assessment of human factor. International Business Research, 4(2), 58-66.

Emekiz, M., Gursoy, D., Icoz, O. (2006). A yield management model for five star hotels, computerized and non-computerized implementation. Hospitality management, 25, 536- 551.

Hamilton, D. (1992). Yield management: putting people in the big picture. The Cornell Human Resource Administration Quarterly, 1, 89-95.

Hayes, D. & Ninemeier, J. (2007). Hotel operations management. New York: Prentice Hall.

Kurt, M. (2007). Assessing asymmetric effects in the formation of employee satisfaction. Tourism Management, 8, 1093-1103.

Mayo, A. (2001). Human value of the enterprise, valuing people as assets, monitoring, measuring, and managing. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishers.

Mount, D. (2000). The impact of hotel size and service type on employee job satisfaction. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 4, 60-68.

Novikova, K. (2007). A study of customer satisfaction factors and employee satisfaction in the hospitality industry: A thesis presented on 28th January 2009. Carbondale: South Illinois University.

O’Bryan, P. (2012). A well trained staff leads to greater ROI. Hotel News.com, 3, 1.

Rachel, W. (2008). The impact of employee satisfaction on quality and profitability in high-contact service industries. Journal of Operations Management, 6, 651-668.

Sambidge, A. (2010). Saudi population stands at 27.1 million, expatriates at 8.4 million. Web.

Schein, E. (1992). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Steven, P. (2008). A meta-analysis of relationships linking employee satisfaction to customer responses. Journal of Retailing, 3, 243-255.

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