Employees in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry


In order for an organization to be successful, it must have highly motivated employees. The hospitality and tourism industry is a labour intense industry that requires proper management of workforce (Mathis & Jackson 2000). Employees form an important part of the organization since they drive performance (Landy & Farr 1983). For this reason, they should be effectively managed, motivated and rewarded. Appraisals can be conducted to understand the quality of the employees and to make critical decisions. Hardworking employees can be rewarded using both monetary and nonmonetary incentives.

Link between Motivation and Performance

Motivation is considered as one of the most important factors in an individual’s path to success (Afful-Broni 2012). Individual success includes both the professional and individual targets. Motivation guides people and helps them focus on their career path irrespective of the challenges that they might encounter on the way.

Afful-Broni (2012) argues that without motivation, individuals would not be driven to make discoveries or innovations since they would live in the rut of monotony. Motivation may be viewed as the driving force that determines the intensity of a person’s efforts and his endurance in pursuit of a certain goal. This means that the driving force determines how much effort an individual puts in whatever he does. It also determines the direction to which he directs his energies and how long he can maintain it.

Motivation in the hospitality and tourism industry may be either monetary or non-monetary (Guerrier 1999). Non-monetary incentives may be achieved by involving the employees in the decision-making processes in the organization. Monetary incentives, on the other hand, may include cash bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, salary increments and promotions. Research has shown that an organization with highly motivated employees performs better than one with less motivated workers (Mullins 1992). It is through motivation that employees feel part of the organization and work more efficiently leading to great organizational performance.

Motivation Theories

According to Herzberg’s theory, employees could be either satisfied or dissatisfied by various factors in the workplace. He argued that the factors that lead to satisfaction or dissatisfaction are different and unrelated (Herzberg 1968). For example, the job situation may lead to feelings of satisfaction, self worth and self-actualization. However, in the absence of these factors, the individual does not stop being happy. He argued that dissatisfaction resulted from factors such as the working environment, technical issues, company rules and payments. In this case, management would be able to increase satisfaction by enhancing those factors that promote satisfaction (Herzberg 1966).

Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model. His theory argued that employers needed to ensure that the working environment encouraged the workers and enabled them to fulfil their own potential (Goebel & Brown1981). According to the theory, every individual is motivated by needs. The most basic needs include food and shelter. They are the lower order needs. One must first satisfy these needs in order to be concerned about those in the next level. This means that the higher order needs cannot be satisfied if the lower ones are not satisfied (Maslow 1954). The second level needs include security, law and order. The highest level consists of self-actualization needs.

According to the Expectancy Theory, people choose certain behaviours over others because of what they expect would result from acting in a particular manner (Spector 2008). Therefore, the desired outcome is the motivation behind the choice. However, the result is not the only reason why the individual makes the choice. The choice is made after careful consideration that involves a cognitive process. An individual processes the various motivational elements before settling for the particular one.

According to the Equity Theory, the employee’s benefits or monetary incentives should be equal to the individual’s inputs (Meudell & Rodham 1998). When this balance is achieved, it leads to a productive relationship. This also ensures that the employee is motivated and satisfied.

Key Tools and Techniques of Motivation and Performance Management

There are several ways of driving employee performance and motivation. However, it is important to note that improving the motivation and performance levels of workers is a process that requires time and dedication. One of the techniques involves making expectations clear (Torrington et al. 2011). Employees need to know the objectives of the organization so as not to be aimless. The goals should be achievable and their performance should be measurable.

Providing immediate and continuous feedback may also go a long way in achieving employee motivation and performance. Feedback mainly helps employees know how important their actions are towards the organization’s success. The goal-setting theory shows how employees are motivated. It argues that individuals are motivated when they receive feedback regarding their current performance relative to their goals.

Performance appraisals are important for organizations. They help the management understand the employees and help in making decisions regarding their motivation. Employees are also motivated when they are corrected privately rather than publicly. Employees are demotivated when their bosses embarrass them while giving negative feedback. Correction of a worker’s performance should not be punitive. On the contrary, employers should praise publicly. This makes employees feel appreciated and it discourages complacency. Another technique that may be used is making rewards achievable. If only a few employees can achieve the reward, the rest would not see the point of working hard. Leaders should also believe in their employees. Employees should feel that they are important to the organization (Gilman 2009).

Role of Appraisal in Performance Management and Its Effectiveness

Performance appraisal is an important tool in performance management. It helps leaders get valuable information about the quality of their employees. With this information, management personnel can make important decisions that may lead to employee motivation or demotivation (Werther & Keith 1993). The labour intensive nature of the tourism and hospitality industry makes the management of employees a vital exercise.

Employees are vital to the organization’s performance. For this reason, this resource cannot be misused, wasted or underutilized. Performance appraisal is a key tool used by human resource personnel. Information obtained from this exercise forms the basis for the human resource decisions. For example, selection and placement techniques revolve around the results obtained from appraisals. This information also determines if employees would be promoted, demoted, terminated or transferred. Appraisals may also predict the need for training and development.

Performance appraisals in the tourism and hospitality industry are vital since this industry differs from others. This is mainly due to the fact that the output is not tangible. The product or service is usually sold as it is produced. Appraisals are important in this industry since they help management improve the quality of their products and services and help the organization develop and maintain a competitive edge.

Appraisal of All Staff

Appraisals should be conducted on all employees. They are important because they help the leaders plan their activities and give employees an opportunity to discuss issues they are facing at work (Redman 2009). Employees can also give views of their career development process. In order for appraisals to yield results, they should be followed up by the manager.

Regular appraisals should be conducted so that they become part of the development of the unit. Appraisals apply for all employees because all individuals need to prioritise their future duties and development needs irrespective of their position. This enables them to influence the substance of their work situation. Consequently, personal development would lead to the overall achievement of the organization’s goals.

Appraisals are also important for all employees because everyone has training and development requirements. Due to several changes in the market environment, training may be required in order to embrace change. Examples may include changes in the organization’s direction and changes in technology. The organization cannot rely on the skills that the employees had previously. Therefore, training and development would be needed in order to know how to handle the changes.

Appraisals Linked To Financial Rewards

Managers have various ways of linking appraisals to pay plans. However, monetary rewards are not necessarily linked to regular performance appraisals. It is important for organizations to have a process for regular pay and another process for rewarding employees through monetary incentives. Organizations should have a standardized pay system in order to foster equity. Monetary incentives should be separated from the regular wages and salaries in order to ward off unmerited expectations.

In order to effectively link appraisals with financial rewards, leaders should provide a separate set of goals for employees (Robbins & Judge 2007). Employees would have to achieve these goals in order to receive a fixed bonus. Employers can also find ways of rewarding workers who exceed their objectives. For example, the rewards could be calculated from the percentage increase in the employee’s performance. Financial rewards should be given as a measure of the employee’s performance. Therefore, the method used to measure performance should be secure and should be monitored. This would avoid self-reporting of the achievements from the employees.

Difference between Hard and Soft HRM Approaches To Performance Management

The hard and soft human resource management approaches differ in several ways. For example, the hard HRM approach treats employees as any other resource in the organization including machines and equipment. Organizations plan on the number of these resources to employ and consider the costs incurred in obtaining them. The soft HRM approach, on the other hand, treats employees as the most important resource in the organization (Dunford, Snell & Wright 2001).

For this reason, employees are treated as individuals and their needs addressed accordingly. The main focus of hard HR management is to hire, move and fire individuals. The organization identifies the needs of the business, recruits employees and manages them accordingly. Soft HR management mainly focuses on the needs of the workforce. It considers the roles of the employees, motivates them and organizes for rewards.

In the hard HRM approach, communication is minimal as opposed to the soft HRM approach where there is regular two-way communication. Appraisals in the hard HRM approach are used for making judgements while those in the soft HRM approach are for addressing training needs. The premise of best practice assumes that an organization that adopts the best practice strategy attracts competent and very talented employees. The premise of best fit, on the other hand, argues that organizations that employ good strategy become efficient and productive (Weightman, 2008).

Evidence of Good Practice in Hospitality and Tourism Industry

There is evidence of good practice in the hospitality and tourism in several areas including service design, service delivery and planning processes (Harrill 2003). There is also evidence of good practice for regulating employee conduct in the industry. For example, some organizations implement policies that prohibit misconduct both on and off the clock.

Relation of Resource-Based View and SHRM to Motivation, Training and Development

Strategic human resource management has three major objectives. One of the functions is to integrate the human resource practices with the organization’s strategy. It also examines the relationship between the management practices and the company’s performance. Lastly, it examines the relationship of the bundles of human resource practices as a whole. SHRM helps organizations to be more competitive and it promotes managerial efficiency. It also facilitates the development of employees who are competent enough to meet the requirements of business competitive strategy (Greenfield, Maynard & Childs 2000).

The resource-based view argues that the types of resources that may help an organization to develop a competitive edge over its competitors should have four specific characteristics. The resources should be rare, intimate, non-substitutable and valuable. In other words, other companies should not be able to imitate them. High-performance management is usually employed. This strategy usually involves rigorous recruitment and selection. Relevant training is then provided and the development activities managed. Incentive payment and performance management processes are also considered.


Employees in the tourism and hospitality industry require proper management in order to ensure that they perform optimally. Appraisals are conducted so as to understand their current position and to know what is required in order to make them more efficient. Motivation is vital for employees because it helps them focus on their career path. Motivation can be achieved through monetary and nonmonetary incentives.


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