Employee Involvement in Hospitality Industry


Employee relation is a comparatively popular discipline which involves the atmosphere inherent between the employer and employee (Taylor, 2002). Employee relations therefore carry a lot of weight bearing in mind that human resource is gradually becoming the focal point in the business arena. Employee relations therefore play a crucial role in organizational success. In fact the relationship between the employees and the employer determine the competitive advantage of the respective organization. More focus is therefore being given to the discipline of employee relations. It is from this background that the participation and involvement of employees in the activities of the organization came from (Taylor, 2002). More and more companies are allowing their employees to take part in the running of the company’s affairs. Employees therefore are no longer restricted to their primary roles of servitude in modern organizations. The participation and scope of involvement of employees in the hospitality industry is the main focus of this paper. Through analysis, interpretation and evaluation the paper seeks to examine the level in which employees in the hospitality industry engage in the affairs of the company.


Through practical experiences and analysis the paper aims to navigate through the barriers of business organizations and examine the participation of employees in the hospitality sector. Invoking the use of cases studies and analytical modules the aim is to bring out the exact status of the environment in the hospitality sector. The impact of the employees’ participation will also be given thorough attention. Whether their participation has anything to with the organizations competitive advantage or not will be fully examined. The role of employees in the modern day business will also be expounded and analyzed fully.

Employee Participation in Hospitality Industry

Players in the hospitality industry experience complexity in their working as compared to those in other sectors (Judge & Gennard, 2005). This is mainly because their filed of product and service offering offers unique parameters. Under normal circumstances the hospitality industry deals in services whose nature is peculiar to the traditional product packages. The peculiarity of the services offered by this sector further complicates the business environment. It is therefore of great importance that the organization s in this industry evolve complementary approaches in response to these challenges. Therefore the application of unique strategies and technologies is highly helpful for the success of any player in this sector (Woolven & Bain, 1979).

Industrial relations as a discipline have its background in many other aspects which influence the concept. According to Poterba (2002) “The aspects include politics, social sciences, history, psychology and philosophy and the concepts have a lot of bearing on the reality and application of the discipline.”

Unions and Their Influence

Employee relations and subsequent involvement in the managerial and decision making in organization can be attributed to the collaboration between the employees and their trade unions. This endeavor has been very successful in the recent past with the trade unions pushing for greater participation of employees in the affairs of the organizations (Pearce & Gerald, 2005). As much as the scope of involvement in the affairs of the businesses is still a matter of debate, it is a common tendency now days to find employees participate in the affairs of the organization. With special focus on the hospitality industry, championing has been high on the companies to allow employees to take up key roles.

A union (labor union) is an organization that is formed through workers coming together in order to achieve common goals, in very key areas such as the conditions of work (Silverman & Yanowitch, 1999). The work of a labor union is to bargain with the employer on behalf of the employees who are the union members. Unions are legally recognized as worker’s representatives in many companies and industries. In most cases unions are found in the public sector for employees such as teachers (Silverman & Yanowitch, 1999). The activities that are done by the labor unions are mostly centered on the collective bargaining over the working conditions, wages, and other fringe benefits that an employee should enjoy while working and also through representing their members in case the management, attempts to go against the contract provisions of the job (Rosenbloom, 2005). The major influence that is created by the labor unions is on; provision of benefits to members- this comes through providing benefits to insure the members of the union against ill health, old age expenses, unemployment and funeral expenses. Most labor unions provide legal advice and represent its members in collective bargaining (Mason & Hyman, 1995).

Collective bargaining- this is a situation where the trade unions operate with the employers in negotiation of employee’s wages and their working conditions.

Political activity- in this case the labor union act in supporting the legislature that is most favorable to the interests of the employees (Pearce & Gerald, 2005). This may even lead them to perform campaigns, lobby, or even support certain candidates in political positions.

Industrial action- at times the labor union may be forced to organize strikes or even resist lockouts with an aim of achieving their goals. The strikes that they organize mostly come along when the employer has failed to meet the agreements that were made collectively (Randon and Long, 2001).

Relation between Labor and Management

There are bodies that are concerned in the activities of labor nation, an example is the idea this is a very independent agency in the United States whose work is to conduct elections for the representation of labor union (Gudert, 2006). It’s also concerned with investigations and remedying of labor practices that are unfair. Therefore when a company does not comply with the agreement that were put forth by the employer and the labor union, this may lead to the union calling for strikes and go slows in the company by the employees (Stephanie et al, 2002). It is the work of the union to ensure that workers are well treated in the work place and that their working conditions are catered for. Honadle & Howitt (2006) asserts that “Apart from participating in collective bargaining, the trade unions also participate in bargaining strategies and distributive bargaining- this can be termed as a win or loose bargaining, it’s a competitive kind of a negotiation strategy which is used to decide on how to distribute a resource that is fixed an example is mine.” In this case the assumption of the parties involved is that there is not enough for everybody, thus the more one of the side gets the less the other side will get (Honadle & Howitt, 2006). Therefore the trade unions engage in distributive bargaining for their members for their wages and their working conditions, where money is the main resource that is been distributed.

There is need for labor and management to work together. The management and the labor unions have a mutual responsibility for achieving the laid down goals and objectives. The co-operation between labor and management enhances efficiency and effectiveness as it helps in reducing the number of disputes that are related to employment. It also helps in improving the working conditions, thus helping in the overall contribution towards the kind of performance and the results that follow. Therefore it is important for the management and the leaders of the union to come together, to be honest and open with one another and through respecting the different interests that each of them holds is able to build on them.

The success of a system of management in terms of achieving its goals depends on the acceptance of both the management and the employees who are using that system. The employees with their union representatives should thus be actively involved in all ways in the development and the performance of management systems

Case study and discussion

The Company

Hyatt is a hospitality company wit a global standing, the company is based in Washington from where it operates hotel business. The company has more than 500 employees spread all over in its global operations (Carby-Hall, 1997). It is much popular and also has several brands spread all over the world. The company has a concrete mission in which it endeavors to offer the best hospitality services all over the world.

Employee Participation

In almost all aspects of the organization the employees have been given all the lee way to perform their tasks so as to encourage successes. The achievements of the company can be attributed to its strategy of allowing the participation of the employees (Stuart & Lucio, 2002).

Even though the managers who are on expatriate assignments abroad are only 1% of the employees in an organization, are the most expensive employees that are next to the executives. These expatriates, who go to other countries to do assignments, do suffer from stressing working conditions and the fact that they are coming into contact with a new culture. As a result they tend to produce poor results as some do not complete the assignments given (Chiplin, 1977).

This failure to complete assignments is very expensive to the company given the amount of money spent on the individual to go abroad. Since expatriates take a lot of risks both in their career and personal lives, they thus take a large percentage of investment at stake for an organization (Aly, 1999.). Therefore to ensure success it requires that these foreign assignees be given supportive assistance (Bennett, 1997). It requires that they are trained, to ensure that they are prepared both psychologically and physically. This will enable them as they go abroad, to be able to accept and respect the culture of other people, and as such be able to finish the assignment that they have gone there to do. This training is very beneficial both to the individual; and the organization. This is clearly stated in the figure below;

A Training of employees for expatriate assignments helps them to orient quickly and adjust well with their new environment in the foreign culture, so that they are able to keenly focus on the strategic business objectives and thus be able to appropriately utilize the business practices that are there across the culture (Kelly, Michael & Gunnigle, 2002). According to Saunders et al (2003), “This enhances confidence in managers as they are getting absorbed in a confusing and very ambiguous work in the foreign environment and the training enables the expatriate mangers to achieve the objectives of the business whether they are placed on either long term or short-term assignments.”

The rise in the employees’ costs of training has meant that many of the employers may well continue to use non-compete clauses in the employment contracts but have also been forced to adopt a more stringent approach to safe-guarding their interests but more so as a way to protect their investments in training (Bower, 2009.). This is because employers continue to find themselves in a rather unpleasant position where by they incur expensive costs on employees recruitments, training and development only to see the employee leave shortly afterwards, at times to join a competitor.

Randon and Long (2001) asserts that, “One of the major bottlenecks has been the fact that historically, courts have disfavored covenants designed solely to protect an employer’s investment in training, and the study curried out which involved 105 non-complete cases, showed that the individuals did not even find the employer’s investment in training significant enough to warrant a hearing.” Indeed, a congregation among researchers is that although some courts have in limited occasions held the opinion that such investments should be protect able in instances where the costs are significant, this has fallen way below the ‘protect able rights’ accorded to other elements such as trade secretes and customer lists (Randon and Long, 2001). As a result, a lot of organizations continue to suffer heavy costs of training that doesn’t benefit them. In an attempt to redress these unfair practices, many organizations have attempted to recover these costs from employees that leave immediately after they have received training, through the employment of repayment clauses included in the pre-employment agreements (Lewin, 1992).

According to Lee (1999), “These training costs are deemed to constitute a loan to the employee which is repayable if the employee leaves employment within a certain period after the course or training ends.” In order to ensure that the validity of the separate loan agreement will not in any way be affected if the employee has deliberately or inadvertently breached the contracts of employment, such agreements have been ingrained in a separate form of agreement to the contract of employment (Dicker, 2004)


Employee relation is an important parameter in modern day business. Every company pays more attention to its relationship with the employees. The concept of employee participation has also increased in importance (Herrick, 1990). The participation of employees in the entire management and working of the organization is increasing with speed (Siegel & Weinberg, 2002). With the bigger role being played by the trade unions most companies are giving in to the demands of increasing the participation of employees.

Employees therefore play a critical role in the modern day activities of organization. Our case study indicates how the company in question has introduced high level employee participation. As a result HYATT Company has reaped tremendous benefits in its business endeavors. The increasing importance of employee participation has also been symbolized by the application of various models which have been instrumental in the analysis (Cooke, 1990).

This paper therefore successfully elaborates of the significance of employee participation citing practical applications. Hence forth the discipline of employee relations is not complete without the proper engagement of the employees in managerial and decision making roles. This has become the defining aspect of competitive advantage. The essences of employee participation therefore go beyond comprehension. However the conclusion of the matter is the wise indulgence of employees in the all round tasks of the organization.


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