Lesson #1: “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”

Lesson #1: “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”

Marriott got to where he did in the business world by relying on a strong team of colleagues and employees around him. He rose through the ranks by focusing on honing his managerial skills, by ensuring that he was building the best possible team 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 took care to make sure he was building a positive work environment for everyone he employed. The first step he took towards doing that was by making sure that his employees’ needs were met. From providing clean and professional-looking uniforms for his wait staff, to installing hose reels on the sides of his buildings so that workers could easily hang up the hoses they used to clean, no detail was too small for Marriott to consider in trying to make his employees’ lives better. He understood that big picture things like building employee loyalty and pride began with small picture things like clean uniforms and proper equipment.

To that end, Marriott also understand what it meant to lead a balanced life. “Don’t let your work hurt your family relations,” he said. He made the effort and took the time to communicate with his employees, to show them he was sincerely interested in them and in improving their work environment.

“It’s important to listen to employees, ask questions of them, say ‘Good Morning’ to them, ask about their families, and get to know a little bit about their aspirations, ambitions, home life and work motivations,” Marriott said. “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.”

That is why, in his early years, Marriott could call all of his employees by name. “When we had six or seven Hot Shoppes, I'd drive to every one of them every day, sometimes twice a day,” he said.

As the company grew, he could no longer maintain that practice, but the principle behind it remained. To that end, Marriott encouraged property visits and regularly scheduled meetings between management and staff, staying as hands on as he possibly could.

Marriott also understood that workers appreciated incentives, and the opportunity to move forward. “There is great opportunity for advancement in a large company,” he said. “In our business an hourly employee can become a department manager and general manager in a short time.”

Everything that Marriott did was based on the principle of working hard, and finding ways to encourage his employees to do the same, which he quickly discovered, meant treating them as he would want to be treated.

“You can't have a service business with a lot of employees without having people who know how to manage,” said Marriott. “So we have been teaching our management 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 our business.”

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