Portman Hotel Co. was a brand new hotel employing a new service strategy. The new strategy was to employ Personal Valets (PVs). However, the hotel experienced a high turnover of almost 50% of the Personal Valet. The morality of PVs has gone down because their standards have not been met. They have been demotivated towards the works and could identify less with the company.
Charles C. Heckscher and Philip Holland
Harvard Business Review (489104-PDF-ENG)
February 03, 1989
Case questions answered:
Case study questions answered in the first solution:
- What are the problems in the design or implementation by Portman Hotel Co. of the Personal Valets (PV) system?
- Critically analyze the 5-star plan.
Case study questions answered in the second solution:
- What are the business and people-related challenges that Portman confronts?
- What are the characteristic features of the original HR system (prior to the 5-star system)
- What should be the future plan of action for the Portman Hotel?
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Portman Hotel Co. Case Answers
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Problem Statement – Portman Hotel Co.
The issue found in the case is that the Portman Hotel Co. is faced with a high turnover of almost 50% of the Personal Valet. The morality of PVs has gone down because their standards have not been met. They have been demotivated towards the works and could identify less with the company.
Also, increasing complaints from the guests have been a significant concern for the management. Increased costs were also a concern that threatened to raise the company’s expenses significantly.
The 7 Ps of Portman Hotel Co.
1. What are the problems in the design or implementation of the PV system?
- There was disagreement among people, and the Portman Hotel Co.’s PVs lacked the determination to work and had low morale and motivation.
- There was a lack of trust between the management and the workers. Individual and company goals were not aligned. They were treated as cogs in the wheel and an outsider to the organization. The company failed to create a strong relationship with employees worthy of trust.
- The valance expectancy theory faltered in this scenario because there was low confidence among people to do work. The time spent by them was more in cleaning activities than in serving the guests when the expected was 50-50 of both. This activity reduced the interaction with guests. Thus, this reduced their tips. The tips received were much lesser than expected. The same goes for the profits of Portman Hotel Co. by lowering occupancy.
- The span of control wasn’t appropriate. Eighty young and inexperienced PVs were to be handled by five supervisors, which made the management difficult. The lack of supervision caused shirking behavior among some employees. As one of the Personal Valet stated, “The supervisors are very less in number, and we have to make decisions ourselves in chaos and hurry. We keep trying to find a supervisor who is not available to solve our problems.” There has been a high turnover of staff or the Personal Valet in Portman Hotel Co. They find the layout of the hotel to be too decentralized.
- Collaborating with other departments was also a concern. We had numerous conflicts with different classes of staff daily. PVs felt that the porters were too slow to respond to their requests to hold the guests’ bags, who had to make them wait a long time. The PVs felt that the slow response of the porters made them lose their tips. PVs thought that all other groups viewed them as maids rather than as a critical community in the growth of the Portman Hotel Co.
- HRS policies were inconsistent with its strategies.
- PV’s disliked their assignment.
2. Critically analyze the 5-star plan.
The 5-star team plan was developed as a solution to deal with chaos happening in the company’s HR systems. It was developed by Patrick Mene, VP and MD, and Spencer Scott. Under normal circumstances, in the morning shift, 2 PVs would cover a floor if 14 rooms were occupied and…
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