6 Ways to Become a More Valuable Employee
The hospitality industry is competitive, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Searching for a job or seeking a promotion at work can feel like a struggle if you’re in the middle of the pack in terms of qualifications or job performance, and it may seem like employers don’t value you more than anybody else.
Fortunately, there are ways to increase your value as an employee. All of them require an investment of time and effort, but the process pays off when employers realize you have more to offer.
1. Learn a new language
Employees who speak multiple languages are valuable to hotels because they can make guests from non-English-speaking countries feel at home. They can also step up and help translate if a colleague is having trouble communicating with a non-native English speaker. And they can be more effective in international business because they’re able to switch between languages when the situation warrants it. To maximize the value of this skill, learn a language that’s frequently spoken by visitors to your city. Or, choose a language that few other employees speak. For example, if you work for a hotel that welcomes many visitors from South America and a few other employees speak Spanish, you can increase your value if you become the only employee who knows Brazilian Portuguese.
2. Earn a degree
Earning an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in hospitality increases your value to employers because it proves you’ve gained significant knowledge of the industry. Alternatively, you might choose to pursue a degree in culinary arts, business, finance, or communications, depending on the career path you’re aiming for. If you’re not sure how to fit school into your schedule, consider enrolling part-time in the evenings or enrolling in an online program.
3. Earn a certificate
Earning a certificate builds your knowledge in a specific area of hotel operations or guest services. It increases your value as a specialist who has gained deeper insight into a subject. Depending on the topics that are most interesting to you and relevant to your job, you may choose to earn a certificate through AHLEI. Other options are to earn a concierge certificate, a sommelier certificate, or a sales certificate.
Have you ever worked with someone who developed a wide professional network? Then you know how valuable an employee’s network can be. That person is always the first one colleagues turn to when they need an introduction to an organization or when they want ideas about whom to contact for a business partnership. Grow your network through professional events, informal meetings over coffee, and social media. Then, put your network to use by helping coworkers or fellow job seekers find new connections.
5. Brainstorm ideas
An employee who actively suggests improvements and new ways of doing things is more valuable to an employer than an employee who follows directions but doesn’t try to contribute their own ideas. Brainstorm things you could do to solve problems at work, ways your department could cut unnecessary costs, or ideas for special events. If you work in sales, think up a list of potential customers you haven’t thought to reach out to. Then, request a meeting with your manager to present your ideas. Be prepared to accept feedback from your employer, and refine your ideas to incorporate that feedback.
6. Follow industry news
Another way to increase your value is to keep up with industry news. Read about trends in hospitality, new hotels opening in your area, and new developments in hotel technology. This can inspire new ideas to suggest to your employer. It also makes you better prepared for changes that may be coming to your hotel and better able to spot new opportunities. And if you’re searching for a position, staying current on industry news allows you to discuss the industry capably in interviews and to present yourself as an informed candidate.