Want a job with the feelgood factor?
Working at protel is fun! Here you will find out why, AND, why your company also needs a Feelgood Manager…
First of all: Be happy at work and don´t take yourself too seriously.
Meet Svenja. She is protel’s “Feelgood Manager”. In case you’ve never heard of a Feelgood Manager, worry not. “That is a feedback I often get.”, Svenja says. The main focus of the job is making people happy at work. We asked her to get a glimpse of her motivation and her daily routines, supporting protel employees wherever she can and making the office an even nicer place to be.
Svenja, how did you get to work in the hotel business?
Like many of my colleagues here at protel, I started off working in hotels. I got into the hotel business because I wanted to do a job that includes the human touch and lots of variety. Hotels usually have different departments that each work in a very different way, so that was my main motivation – getting to know the ropes. Plus, I really like to talk a lot (laughs).
You started in a different job at protel. How did you become a Feelgood Manager?
In my old role at protel I kind of missed some of the aspects of work that got me into the hotel business in the first place. Luckily, protel is a company that empowers its employees to take things into their own hands, so this is what I did and started the feelgood project. I like to shake things up a bit. Break through the daily routines and just help with little gestures, such as bringing a new computer mouse when the old one is broken. I like to turn negative feelings into positive ones und try to help everyone with their everyday problems.
Talking about daily routines – what does a feelgood manager do on a daily basis?
Business as usual doesn’t really exist for me at the moment. During my everyday office-tours I talk to colleagues to find out if there’s something not going well and if I can do something to make them feel better. Sometimes I try to make people smile, sometimes it’s missing office supplies or just someone who listens to them.
We just took care of ‘Project: Fruit’. We used to have a drawer full of sweets. Now that’s not the best thing to have in an office job, so we looked at alternatives and found a solution in freshly delivered fruit. A number of companies are already offering fruit, so we did a trial and everybody liked it. Although I never heard of someone complaining about free grapes (laughs). Personally I find that it makes a huge difference knowing that you can get some healthy food at work, so you can skip the morning super market routine. Apart from that I try to make life at protel as convenient as possible. For example currently I’m looking into easy access and discounts to leisure activities, maybe even basic stuff like insurances.
Is there a certain aspect of the job you find more important than others? How do you want to be perceived in the company?
I look at myself as a service provider, the “girl with the information” and commissary for cheerfulness. I give weekend-activity advice and spread all the information I get from different departments on our employee-blog.
As we hire new employees every month I am kind of a mentor for them. I get in contact with my new colleagues weeks before they start working here. I welcome them to the protel family and offer my help. Some of them move to our city or to a an area nearby just to work for protel and need help to find an apartment. I give advice for good neighborhoods and sometimes even accompany them on trips to public authorities etc. In the first days after starting working at protel my new colleagues have a lot of questions – but also the protel “seniors” use my knowledge, or come to me when they need help.
What are your colleagues saying about this? Are they getting on board?
At first people were very curious about what I would be able to do. Now Ideas are flowing and my colleagues provide very good input about what would be good improvements to the overall working daily life situation here. Of course we can’t implement every idea, so I filter them first. Criteria for good suggestions are that they improve life at protel for at least 70% of all employees. Also cost control is a factor. Generally management is open for all ideas and they also take the time to discuss them, so chances to introduce new initiatives are generally high.
Is this Feelgood Manager job something you’re familiar with from the hotel industry? Do you find similar positions there?
Generally hotels, especially the larger ones, already have a concierge, serving as a Feelgood Manager for guests. When it comes to hotel employees, departments they work in usually function differenly. So it’s rather more important that working in a hotel feels like working for your own family, I think that’s one of the biggest sources of motivation within hotel businesses.
Can you share anything about initiatives that you’re planning for the future?
The company just started the feelgood initiative, so everything is still very exciting. My vision for the near future is that every employee is completely satisfied with his or her workplace equipment. In between we’re increasing the number of staff-benefits as well.
Can you give some advice to all the other Feelgood Managers out there?
Be patient, never give up and always try to get past ‘no’. Sometimes ideas seem crazy at first, so you need to get your arguments straight. Choose your pitches wisely. If you can’t implement the ideas people bring you, they will soon stop making you their advocate. Think about it.
You would also like to have a Feelgood Manager to take care of you at work? Become a part of the protel family! At the very latest, you’ll learn why we call ourselves a family at the next staff-party!
VP Marketing & PR at protel hotelsoftware GmbH, Germany.
Jeremy heads protel hotelsoftware’s marketing department.
He regularly demands cool beers and internet access, as well as great ideas for shaping positive user experiences.
He firmly believes in the power of change!