Mondays are my Friday here. That is to say my regular “weekend” days are on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s also the day that I have affectionately named Memo Monday, because I’ve had an entire week in which small and large operational issues or updates might have come up that need to be addressed. Generally over the real world weekend Saturdays and Sundays I don’t have the time to write them up and distribute my sage words of wisdom to my….people (I’m not supposed to call them “minions” anymore).
My staff as a whole has a love/hate relationship with my memos. That is to say, some of them love memos, and some of them hate them. When I first got here, I tried a more face-to-face approach. That being the first time I had information that needed to be conveyed to all of them, I went around and talked to them all in small huddles. And it took forever! So I quickly changed over to sending out memos, a practice my predecessor used sparingly. In my first 6 months here I sent out more memos than she sent out in 2 years.
I enjoy writing memos oddly enough. I put a little bit of my personality in them. Sometimes throw in a little joke or word play. I once even put out a memo right before I left on a week long vacation to let them know there would be no memos that week. That one still tickles me a little. Memos are also the easiest way I have to convey a message to all 14ish of my staff rapidly and ensure that the same message is transmitted to all of them (sometimes the same message isn’t always received by all of them though). We don’t have the ability to have daily, weekly or even monthly staff meetings. Usually a departmental meeting happens every 2 or 3 months, but it’s kind of a big deal to schedule and since people come in on their days off or outside of their normal 8 hour shift, it involves a lot of expensive over time.
Sometimes my memos are just updates for everyone, sometimes they’re policy changes or reminders, sometimes they’re scolding (when the entire department needs a scolding) and sometimes they’re encouraging (when the entire department has earned it). And considering that when I got here we didn’t have a consolidated binder of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) my memo binder has become the closest thing we have sometimes. SOPs for the entire department will be my project this winter I believe. Proper procedures and policies are essential for smooth operations, and my goal is that if my entire department dropped dead tomorrow someone could come in, read our SOP binder and be able to run this department and train replacements.
Aside from memos, I love writing and designing new operational procedures and systems. In my first 2 weeks here I created an excel spreadsheet the revolutionized the way they balanced their cash and credit card transactions each evening. Using a 10-key adding machine? Really? In 2010? Have you ever heard of Excel? And despite initial resistance, my people shudder at the thought of doing it the old way again, and my newbies can’t even imagine it. I’m confident that it will be my longest lasting legacy on this property. Today, I got to roll out an entirely new procedure to hopefully revolutionize the way we handle our lost and found, and I’m super excited about it. It’s quite a bit more involved than our old procedure, but I hope it will be far more efficient and effective than the old system (otherwise what’s the point?). I used Google Docs for the first time for this project, but I think it will fit exactly the roll I need it to. I’m not one of those people who thinks every problem can be solved by technology. I try to keep things low-tech whenever appropriate. For example, even if each and every member of my team had a corporate email account, I probably wouldn’t send out my memos via email. I’d probably still print them out and post them. But there’s a reason that we’ve developed all this technology that exists in 2011. It makes our lives easier and solves problems or makes lower tech solutions are less efficient at.
I enjoy this process of streamlining systems and procedures or designing new systems and procedures so much that I’ve often considered the possibility of leaving daily operations and becoming some sort of “hired gun” type consultant for hotels, that comes in and builds effective operational procedures and systems. It would just make my Venn diagram of Nerd and Hospitality overlap that much more I think. And when you think “consultant” you just think money too, and less weekend work.