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How Taj trains its ordinary heroes
Three years ago, when armed terrorists attacked a dozen locations in Mumbai, they killed as many as people, both Indians and foreigners, and gravely wounded more than During the onslaught on the Taj Mumbai, 31 people died and 28 were hurt, but the hotel received only praise the day after. Restaurant and banquet staff rushed people to safe locations such as kitchens and basements. Telephone operators stayed at their posts, alerting guests to lock doors and not step out. Kitchen staff formed human shields to protect guests during evacuation attempts. We believe that the unusual hiring, training and incentive systems of the Taj Group — which operates hotels in 12 countries — have combined to create an organisational culture in which employees are willing to do almost anything for guests.
This extraordinary customer centricity helped, in a moment of crisis, to turn its employees into a band of ordinary heroes. The Taj Group has a long history of training and mentoring, dating back to the s, which helps to sustain its customer centricity.
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Most hotel chains train frontline employees for 12 months, on an average, but the Taj Group insists on an month programme. Managers, too, go through 18 months of classroom and on-the-job operations training. Training protocols therefore assume, first, that employees will usually have to deal with guests without supervision — that is, employees must know what to do and how to do it, whatever the circumstances, without needing to turn to a supervisor.
One tool the company uses is a two-hour weekly debriefing session with every trainee, who must answer two questions: What did you learn this week? What did you see this week? The process forces trainee managers to absorb essential concepts in the classroom, try out newfound skills in live settings, and learn to negotiate the differences between them. This helps managers develop the ability to sense and respond on the fly. According to senior executives, this shift in perspective changes the way employees respond to situations.
Moreover, it alters the extent to which they act — and believe they can act — in order to please guests. Finally, the Taj Group expects managers to lead by example. For instance, after a day of hard work, the general manager of every hotel is expected to be in the lobby in the evenings, to welcome guests. Then he proceeded to congratulate me on getting married.
I told him I am not married. Great picture and caption! Sounds like a great proof of concept for minimalism. Did you at least bring some country style donuts with you?
Super impressed with the effort here. Which will probably have to wait until you can find somewhere quiet. I wish I had brought some with me. Yes you are absolutely right — finding somewhere quiet in this city is virtually impossible. Thank you for giving us perspective on your daily life in Bombay.
I never thought of you roughing it or camping, and yet here you are making do with ancient furniture and appliances and loving life. Great story. I too am really interested in what anyone could possibly want to ask at AM. Thanks Sally. Good point on the clothes wringing. Your email address will not be published.
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No problem! This is Bombay my dear! Next ??? Related Posts. Sanjay Hinduja on December 19, at am. Lakshmi on December 16, at pm.
Taj hotel: How Taj trains its ordinary heroes - The Economic Times
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