“If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers, and your business will take care of itself.”
John Willard Marriott was an American entrepreneur who founded the Marriott Corporation, one of the world's largest hotel chains and food services companys. The Company rose from a small root beer stand in Washington D.C. in 1927, to a chain of family restaurants by 1932, to his first motel in 1957. By the time of his death the Marriott company operated 1,400 restaurants and 143 hotels and resorts worldwide, employing 154,600 people, with an annual turnover of 4.5 billion dollars.
Marriott believed the key to success in business was building a strong team of employees around him. “Employee loyalty is of great importance,” he once said. “That comes by treating employees the way management would like to be treated.”
Marriott was always keen to make sure that his employees’ needs were met. He understood that ‘big picture’ things like building employee loyalty and corporate pride were the direct result of smaller things like providing clean professional looking uniforms and suitable equipment. He made the effort to constantly communicate with his employees, to show them he was sincerely interested in them and in improving their work environment.
Marriott once explained that: “It’s important to listen to employees, ask questions of them, ask about their families, and get to know a little bit about their aspirations, ambitions, home life and work motivations. We have great morale in our restaurants, hotels, and other operations because our employees know we are interested in them and do all we can for them.”
Marriott also understood that workers appreciated incentives, and the opportunity to move forward: “In our business an hourly employee can become a department manager and general manager in only a short time.”
Everything that Marriott did was based on the principles of hard work and finding ways to encourage his employees to do the same, which he quickly discovered meant treating them as you would want to be treated yourself.
“You can't have a service business with a lot of employees, without having people who know how to manage,” he once said. “So we have been teaching our managers how to manage, as well as our employees how to take care of their jobs. Good management and trained personnel are the most important factors in business.”
Marriott, J.W., and Brown, K.A., 1997, The Spirit to Serve, Snowball Publishing.