How hospitality keeps workers satisfied

Can this concept help office workers feel fulfilled?

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines hospitality as “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests or hospitable treatment.” Traditionally it’s been applied to the hotel sector, but these days we’re starting to hear a lot more about hospitality in the office sector as well.

This is happening with good reason. As property managers and employers continue to engage in what’s been termed the amenities arms race, the concept of hospitality has emerged as valuable artillery for helping workers enjoy their time in the office.

“The whole point is making their lives easier,” Tyler Kethcart, JLL director of business development, experience management, said. “In an office, there’s a variety of ways to do this.”

A cause for connection

You can’t take advantage of an amenity if you aren’t aware it exists. As applied to the office sector, hospitality means making workers aware of tenant perks to which they have access.

“One’s role in hospitality is to connect people with the things they can benefit from,” Kethcart said, “which means knowing their needs and solving for them.”

That means strong communication between property owners or employers and the workers themselves, not only to keep them abreast of the opportunities that are afoot but to – as Kethcart notes – understand and solve for their needs. This makes sense whether you’re talking about a pre-dawn yoga class or a wine social as the day winds to a close.

Helping workers to be heard

Property owners can bolster this feedback loop not only by listening to employees but forging a relationship with them.

“You can then take ownership of acting on what you know about that person,” Kethcart said. “It starts with a good sense of hospitality and having people who are actively engaged in gathering feedback from the people they’re interacting with.”

From there, tenant feedback can be harnessed to improve matters. For example, a clunky check-in process can be streamlined so that visitors can seamlessly travel from street to lobby to elevator to office. Here hospitality shows up in its purest form: listening, then acting.

“It’s what we do.”

Hospitality is also a continual refinement of the offerings on tap, based on what property owners and employers are seeing and hearing.

“You do your summer ice cream social – does everyone like ice cream? Is there more that you can do? Kethcart asked. “Rather than spending $40,000 to hand out ice cream sandwiches to 2,000 people … does it make more sense to really dig into who our tenants are and then do smaller, more impactful, more frequent programming that’s centered around what they want?”

The answer, those who are implementing hospitality into their tenant approach are finding, is yes.

"It’s community-building,” Kethcart said. “It’s what we do.”

How to integrate hospitality

Property managers seeking to flavor their office approach with a culture of hospitality should keep the following in mind:

  • Understanding current and prospective tenants is key. You can’t paint everyone with the same brush. Instead, get to know individual desires and drives.

  • Get a good sense of the building’s attributes. Know the strengths and understand how best to parlay them. In addition, be realistic about the challenges.

  • Moments of impact matter. Hospitality culture holds that every interaction is an opportunity to make employees feel valued. Consider hiring an expert to make the most out of these critical touchpoints.

Keep in mind that amenities in and of themselves are not what’s meaningful – it’s the interactions they inspire and the relationships they bring to life. Hospitality can help you get there – and your tenants will reap the benefits.

Want to learn more about how JLL’s Experience Management experts can bring added impact to your property? Click here.