Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,
2013 has been a year of change for us. Some of us have termed it as the year of the ‘Next Generation’. This is not referring to the often talked about ‘Gen Y or Millennials’ demographic segments. Rather, the term ‘Next Generation’ heralds the latest initiatives, systems or training programs that support our critical business goals and represents many key components of GPS.
At the same time, I believe that many of us are starting to better appreciate the changes that are happening in our immediate and the macro environment. We are more aware of the opportunities happening in the Age of Great Change such as the rise of the middle class, the speed of technological changes, new mediums to do business and how people learn. In addition, we should be aware of new expectations, in terms of how customers get and share information, what it takes to keep them loyal to our brands and how they expect a seamless and consistent experience across our entire global network.
With our GPS strategy, all these can be articulated as having this one big audacious goal of making ‘Every guest feel special and recognized every time', ie, helping them to have a better way to experience the world. A simple phrase with huge implications!
Underpinning this audacious goal is the importance of our Associates in making this audacious goal a reality. The quality of our Associates, leaders; their motivation and how well they are trained are instrumental to this goal. Contextually, ‘Technology Enables and People Deliver’.
To enable our Associates, one of the key initiatives is the launch our Starwood Careers in 2011. To date, we have developed close to 7,000 Associates and this achievement would not have been possible without the joint effort of our properties and leaders.
We launched the Starwood Careers Next Generation with a renewed focus of encouraging our Associates to find their “Career Best” and to realize their aspiration. A mindset shift can be seen in many of the recent inspiring Starwood Careers Property Launches by our hotels. Our Associates are excited by the opportunities to grow, to dream as evidenced by many who wanted to be enrolled for our Starwood Careers tracks and even articulating their ultimate career goals.
Another critical piece to support our GPS strategy is the launch of the Service Culture Next Generation . It will provide a renewed focus on enlivening branded experiences and in line with our goal; to touch every guest, every time. We started with the W, Sheraton and Westin Brands and have certified many Service Culture Champions who will spearhead the rollout of the Service Culture Next Generation together with their property leaders. Other Brands will launch theirs in 2014.
The latest approach with the Next Gen version also signals a major shift in the way we train our Associates or the way we learn. We have evolved from the traditional classroom approach to a blended learning format that enables flexible learning, timeliness and organization of learning into meaningful ‘chunks’. There are also different approaches to making sure training sticks such as having experiential activities, creating passion for the brand, assessments, etc. So, who says learning can’t be fun and yet effective?
Again, we hope to inspire everyone so that we will all ‘Make every guest feel special and recognized, every time!’.
Remembering all our heroes who in their day-to-day help move us closer to this goal, we celebrated the Starwood Cares President’s Award 2012 a few months back. They are our benchmarks and exemplary of our Starwood Values, that helps personify what Personalization should be.
Read about what these Caring Moment winners did to create emotional connections with our Associates and guest. Just like Arnold protecting Ajesh's valuables against being snatched by a thief and Sherry providing a personal touch to our guest when she noticed that he was cold. Join me in celebrating their moments as our Starwood heroes.
As you read this note, chances are that you may have a fleeting thought that your story have not been told. Despite this, do take pride in the fact that you can stand shoulder to shoulder with the winners that we have featured. We thank you for helping to make a difference; not only to our guests but also in helping your Associates better experience their world.
While the year is coming to a close, it also beckons a new beginning. Let’s continue to work together to lead and consolidate our position as the number ONE lifestyle hospitality company.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Talent Management & Organization Development
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts