Though written a number of years ago, the message remains the same. Using all of the resources available through our staff can enrich every organization.

Keeping The Human In Human Resources
by Tom Ohling

Hospitality is the ultimate “people business”. With our industry at a record growth pace and unemployment at long time lows there is the greatest need for intelligent human resources assessments. Making decisions about who to hire or who to put on what shift can all to often be simply motivated by the demand to “fill-a-shift”. This can lead to missed opportunities for business and co-worker alike.

Too often positions are filled with the thinking that meeting the job description is the end-all of hiring. Job descriptions are the minimum requirements for anyone to fill a particular position. More importantly job descriptions describe nothing more than the basic tasks that we require of individuals. It is that fact that we are hiring individuals that presents us with our biggest opportunity.

Each of the individuals that are our staff, our co-workers, bring a wealth of human experience to the job. Great employers use the daily minimum tasks that we ask each person to do as the entry way into these vast storehouses of life experience.

In studies referred to in many human resources manuals it is shown that two major interactions affect workers morale the most; appreciation, and the feeling of being in on things. Knowing this can help us get the most out of everyone that is a part of our team.

Appreciation is much more than a thank-you or an employee of the month plaque (thought these a good too). People feel appreciated most when others show interest in them as individuals. It is through this interest that wonderful doors can be opened.

I have had the experience of discovering that a waiter was a wonderful artist and wanted to try her hand at graphic design. I’ve met dishwashers that were great mechanics, bookkeepers who built beautiful furniture, line cooks who were poets. Each of these people had much to offer their businesses that far exceeded their job description.

Each was a resource waiting to be tapped. And the act of discovering who these people were and what they had to offered allowed co-workers to value them more highly. To appreciate the special talents of the individual.

As leaders, while involved in the act of learning to appreciate the very special resources that each staff member brings to the job, it is natural that we reveal who and what we are. To share our goals and aspirations as we discover those of our co-workers. This gives everyone the moral boosting feeling-of-being-in-on-things.

Appreciation and the feeling-of-being-in-on-things are the ultimate team builders. When Don “the Coach” Smith talks of going beyond teams to building families, he is talking about adopting these core values.

When we see our co-workers as special individuals, each having very human needs we are at the door way of creating the bonds that make winning teams. Opportunities abound for great discoveries in each and everyone we meet if we only remember to tap their human-ness. for the health and future of our businesses we need to always remember to keep the human in human resources.


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American Culinary Federation President's Citation to Tom Ohling for education

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Firestone 100 national honor to Tom Ohling for service to others

Firestone 100 National Community Service Recognition

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