Employees Told To Embrace Excellence and Make Company Theirs
SEVERAL individuals and departments came in for high praise for their excellent performances when Bay Gardens Resorts held its Annual Staff Awards recently.
The gala ceremony, held in the Bougainvillea Conference Room at Bay Gardens Hotel on January 20, sought to put the spotlight on those employees whose job performances set them apart from their colleagues during the period under review.
Executive Director of Bay Gardens Resorts, SanovnikDestang, set the tone of the evening with his welcome remarks, noting that the local family-owned hotel chain had experienced a year of many changes, including a change in some crucial management positions.
“We have new general managers, new managers moving between our properties, and a lot of new staff,” he said. “The changes that we’ve put in place have made us stronger, if anything. When I look around the properties and see everybody settling into their new roles, I can’t help but feel proud.”
Destang said staffers at the three resorts (Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Inn and Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa) have embraced the changes which, he said, contributed to last year being a positive one for the hotel chain. However, he said he was proudest about the chain’s dedicated and hardworking staff and managers.
“Last year has really been the year that we really delivered on our promise of promoting from within at Bay Gardens Resorts. We’ve had promotions from within before but this has to be a record, of course,” he said.
Awards were presented in the following categories: Front of House, Heart of House, Most Nominated Employee, Team Member of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, Most Outstanding Employee of the Department, Green Department Award, Department of the Year, Manager of the Year, Best New Manager, Rising Star Award, Unsung Hero Award, General Manager’s Award for Excellence, Special Awards, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
The feature address was delivered by Managing Director for Sandals Saint Lucia Resorts, Winston Anderson, who shared his personal life experiences in the tourism industry, beginning as a night auditor and later moving into the realm of front office, housekeeping, rooms and sales. After getting into accounting and graduating through the ranks to become a management accountant, Anderson said he was presented with a dilemma.
“I then took a very bold decision to step back and took up a position with a much lower salary as management trainee out of a desire to be close to the customers, and what I saw as a path to gain a whole new holistic experience,” Anderson told the gathering of nominees, other staffers and repeat guests. “You see, sometimes realizing that bigger picture requires us to make sacrifices.”
Despite his colleagues at the time deeming his move “an unwise and thoughtless choice”, Anderson said leaving the well-paid management position to become a trainee paid off as “I was convinced, however, that my decision would put me in a strategic position where I could gain a more comprehensive knowledge of guest relations while developing myself further in the operations.”
Anderson congratulated the nominees and winners for being beacons in an industry that faces many challenges, telling them that seeking excellence always is one of the hallmarks that should set them apart from their colleagues. This, he said, comes with its own set of challenges, too.
“Let me warn you nominees about another equally important fact in that the reward for good work is more work,” he said. “You see, continual improvement, commitment, passion, hard work, dedication and innovation are required to stay on top. Always seek to do better than your best.”
Proprietor of Bay Gardens Resorts, Joyce Destang, a former schoolteacher, started the hotel chain by opening the first property, Bay Gardens Hotel, with her husband, Desmond, in 1995. The property quickly gained much regional and international acclaim. Bay Gardens Inn followed in 2002 and then Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa in 2007. She thanked the employees for contributing towards Bay Gardens Resorts becoming a successful story.
“I would like to say to each and every one of you – those who are here and those still out there holding the fort – that you are all very special,” she said. “I don’t always have such an opportunity to meet so many of you under one roof, but I want you to know that my family and I recognize your dedication.”
While the Directors of Bay Gardens Ltd. remain appreciative of the team effort that keeps the daily operations at the resort chain going, she told staff that they are not only employees – but family.
“I say to you again that Bay Gardens Resorts belong to all of us,” she said. “Yes, our names are on the paperwork, on the loans, the cheques and the personal guarantees – but it is yours as well.
“Many of you have been here close to 20 years and I thank you. If at any time, some of you hardworking, dedicated workers find other staff members trying to bring down or pull down your hard work at this property, I implore you, please stop them because they’re not only bringing down my business but they’re also bringing down your business.”