A personal insight from our Founder & CEO, Ryan Luke
In an age where we expect vanity metrics and digital tools to babysit our businesses, it’s easy to forget the legs that keep our empires from toppling over.
I’m of course, referring to team members.
The employees who show up to work on our business every day; and work with us – to nurture our dream. Without them, we’re no more than wingless butterflies – yet it baffles me how the majority of business leaders in our industry prioritise building trust with their customers over their own staff.
Perhaps we’re all to blame as a collective. We shout about messages of “trust” from our digital trumpets and very rarely mention our own team members when doing so. The reality is that a failure to build trust within the inner workings of your business is a shortcut to losing that very trust with your guests and customers, too.
But it’s not just about the commerciality either. Sure, we all want to learn how to leverage our brand values for more bookings and sales – but there also comes the concept of being a “nice person” (sadly, an enigma for many).
Surely, a trustworthy, kind and empathetic business leader is far more likely to build a healthy, well-rounded hospitality company – where the employees feel like more than just letters on a Slack Channel?
CEOs and the Trust Paradox
If it was easy to be a company CEO, then everyone would be doing it. Among the number of other challenges business leaders like us face is the pursuit of winning the trust of employees.
According to recent research by Edelman, it’s been found that trust decreases from top positions to the lowest. For instance, 64% of executives trust their organisations, while only 51% of managers and 48% of other staff trust their organisations.
In other words, employees tend to trust their peers more than the CEOs and upper-level executives. So, the higher up the professional ladder you go, the more crucial it becomes to build trust with your team members.
This can be hard to prioritise when there are a million other responsibilities at play in the running of a hospitality business. I know that at Luke Capital Group, I’m constantly reviewing new contracts, overlooking finances, sourcing new suppliers and ensuring that the business is ticking over efficiently.
But a failure to nurture the trust between my staff and me will naturally make them feel unimportant and unvalued. This results in poor performance at work, more sick days – and guests and clients who’d much rather associate themselves with a happier company.
So, I make an effort to have regular in-person catch-ups with the team. While I’m incredibly busy, I’m accessible to all my staff – who know that they can speak to me if something’s really on their mind. Many of you have probably noticed that I spend a lot of time travelling up to Dubai to spend time with our UAE team (who also manage nearly all the operations of Luke Capital Group).
We also celebrate our employees with things like our “Thank God it’s Monday” campaigns – this all contributes towards building that irreplaceable trust with the team.
Trust & the Business of People
If you ask me, most property business leaders look at the concept of trust back-to-front (if at all).
So distracted they become in creating an illusion of trust with their guests and customers that they forget to nurture it properly behind closed doors. Several studies have proved that employees who feel a lack of trust in the workplace – or just a negative working atmosphere in general – are more likely to withhold their talents, creativity, energy and passion.
There’s a great deal of creativity and continuous hard work that’s required of my entire team at Luke Capital Group, and if I don’t help make them feel secure and appreciated at work – then I have no chance of building a successful property empire, that so many of you see and applaud on my social media channels.
It goes without saying that we’re in the business of people – as we continuously find ourselves hosting guests, tenants, and in our case, working with many of our property franchise partners – but the most important people under the LCG umbrella are those who work hard behind-the-scenes to keep it running.
Ultimately, if I don’t earn their trust, then they’ll feel less motivated to earn the trust of our guests and clients.
Make Trust the Starting Point
It goes without saying that trust is a two-way street. A common question I ask myself when recruiting a new staff member or supplier is, “Can I have a healthy working relationship with this person, and can we trust each other to commit to our own responsibilities without us needing to check in on each other all the time?”.
Ask some of my closest confidants, and they’ll even tell you what a fan I am of personality tests and scientific character analysis – because smooth working relationships have been at the backbone of Luke Capital Group’s success. From our marketing team, operations team, and professional cleaning staff, each team member at Luke Capital Group is aligned with our brand ethos and values, which are driven by trust first and foremost.
That’s how we can then continue to leverage the benefits of I-PRAC Accreditation (when building trust with our guests), as well as numerous success stories and positive reviews. The trust we build in-house naturally manifests to our wider audience – and I truly believe this is the secret of our growth.
So, if you’re in the property industry and you’re looking for some kind of “magic pill” that’ll sell your brand apart from competitors, remember that sometimes we overcomplicate things for ourselves.
Make trust your starting point and simply:
- Make an effort to get to know your team: On a personal level, if you can. This is harder to do if you manage a large team, but when you’re around, ask questions beyond “when will XXX be done by?”.
- Acknowledge your team’s hard work: Try something similar to our “Thank God it’s Monday” campaigns – where we spotlight a different employee every week and make them feel appreciated.
- Always do what you’re saying you’re going to do: Don’t flake on your team members. This is a sure-fire way of losing their trust – and no matter how senior or important you are, there’s never a good enough excuse to go back on your word. If you say you’re going to hold an important meeting – be there on time and do it. If you promise a new rewards scheme for employees, don’t back out last minute.
Perhaps we could all do a little more in nurturing trust with our team(s) before anyone else, but I hope today’s piece serves as an important reminder to fellow business leaders, our industry – and even myself to a certain extent.
Please follow Luke Capital Group on our socials (Facebook and Instagram especially), where you can get to know our incredible team members and all their hard work for our company.
In the meantime, keep building and bettering –