It’s been a week of small tour groups, special family gatherings, botanical art workshops and a million happenings. This Cavern is shared by so many different groups of people, so many with varied interests, from as young as a few weeks to those in their 90’s. We’re a hotel in the mountains, run by a family but for all sorts of families. So, I was quite surprised when a recent guest commented that couples and honeymooners shouldn’t come to a family resort. We are not exclusively for families but we do welcome them and they do visit us in abundance.
In this spot in the mountains we are also working hard with young people from our community and on Wednesday I had the opportunity of spending time with a few new members of our staff. There are 2 who have joined us from the Municipality’s Hospitality Programme and then a couple of others from housekeeping, two from the scullery and some new young waiters. Our induction training was to begin at 10am but I had to wait for everyone to arrive…
I was feeling a bit rushed because I had a million emails to answer and feeling quite irritated, I gave the group a thousand words but as I spent time I allowed myself to just use the time for some proper coaching and mentoring. Fact is, those of us that have grown up in households with much have been exposed to so much more. We have received coaching and a good smack around the ears when we didn’t toe the line. Every time we stepped out and did the wrong thing, we had someone guiding us back. And, many of the youngsters that come into our Cavern have not always had these opportunities.
So, I took time and we chatted and I tried to explain about why we are here and what we are trying to achieve and what our guests are hoping to experience when they visit The Cavern. We chatted about being the customer. How frustrating it is when expectation aren’t met and we looked at everyday examples to see how different situations made each of us feel.
I think the session really made me ponder and think about what we, as a family, are doing. Do we do our businesses a disservice by allowing youngsters that may not always be able to articulate their answers well when guests are questioning or complaining? Should we only be employing those with experience? Should we go out of our way to try and help with these internships?
It’s not an easy answer and perhaps it is about trying to fit the inexperienced into the spaces where they won’t be set up for failure. And, maybe we need to tell our guests that we are also working towards a bigger plan in helping build a community.
Some time back an employee who coaches a young soccer team told me that a young man needed a chance. He wanted to work so that he could go off and study. He arrived for his interview, with trousers that were too short and looking positively terrified. We spoke gently and gave him a chance. He started off serving drinks then worked as a waiter and as the soccer coach had said, he was bright and he learnt fast. In his 9 months with us, he grew in confidence and now he comes back to help during his vacations. When I see him, I am astounded at his growth.
So, the long and the short of it is that perhaps it is about taking a little risk, and giving someone a small springboard. We may have an irate guest now and then but maybe that’s when we have to step in with our big-girl panties and articulate ourselves a little better.
Here’s to growing a community.