Pressure from new legislation, labor unions, and hotel management alliances like the Five Star Promise have forced a decade’s long problem into the spotlight – staff safety.
Yet, each new law and ordinance is different and no government standard has been set for hoteliers to follow. These challenges have made finding the right safety and security solution highly complex and cumbersome. So how can hoteliers seamlessly implement the right safety solutions, while complying and adhering to new standards and laws? Amadeus spoke to two of our safety partners, Parminder Batra, CEO from TraknProtect, and Steven Norris, VP of Business Development from BluIP, to learn more about how hoteliers can effectively manage the change when they invest in the right technology.
The 5-Step Guide for Implementing Staff Safety Technology
In order to prepare for new investments and the required change management, there are 5 major milestones that hoteliers should consider to reduce unnecessary stress and friction.
1. Audit and future-proof your current network and connectivity set-ups.
Does the hotel have a strong WiFi signal throughout the property? How about cell service? When you audit your existing network and connectivity tools, guaranteeing pervasiveness is key.
Steven clarifies, “Before even thinking about investing in safety tech, you need to audit your entire connectivity network. Isolated workspaces are most prone to emergency events, and also usually have the least connectivity strength. An example of this is when staff WiFi is shared with guest WiFi, and guest network overloads occur causing staff connectivity to suffer. At a high-level, hotel staff panic alerting solutions require a way to communicate alerts to security staff, the ability to obtain location information, and ways to communicate alerts to responders in a transparent way. As a result, each of these areas deserves considerations of what fits the hotel’s current state, and what future technologies and innovation the hotel will be deploying.”
2. Stop thinking reactively and do your research to prepare.
Next, hoteliers should invest some time in researching. Check out new legislation, technologies, and developing standards to support hotel staff safety. Parminder adds, “It is in our industry’s nature to be reactive because everyone is so busy responding to the day’s priorities. Hoteliers need to spend time researching what the legislative trends are, and be confident that their tech investments for safety solve for every use case.” In order to help educate you on the changes in our industry, we’ve provided some links below so you can learn more about the new culture of safety, and what’s going on to improve safety for hotel staff.
3. Look beyond the employee safety device, and improve communication across all teams.
“What happens after a safety device has been engaged?” Parminder asks, “How will you leverage the right tech to ensure communication across teams is fluid during any threatening event? Make sure you plan for the rapid response tasks.” Having the right tech stack is crucial to safeguard staff because it all can integrate together. Integrated technology makes it easier for staff to easily manage the most sensitive events. Parminder adds, “Outline a long term plan. Phase your approach to make the investments more justifiable. Look for technology that can easily integrate with employee safety devices to intelligently automate dispatching and escalations. The less manual work you have to do in an emergency, the better.”
4. Define a long term change management plan.
Solving for true staff safety can’t be done overnight, and hoteliers need to develop a documented plan for change. “The first question any hotelier needs to answer here is what the total end state is going to look like.” Steven outlines, “Do you just want employees to be able to hit a button, and have safety teams hopefully respond? Or, will every staff member know and have confidence a security responder is quickly coming to help. Does a guest 911 call in progress take priority over to a “blind” panic alert on the same floor? Staff “panic” alerting will place additional responsibilities for security teams to quickly vet “unqualified information”, and prioritize true events to act upon. Mitigating problems like this for the long term will unlock the right capabilities for your security teams to do their job efficiently.”
Some key best practices when outlining your change management plan
- Revisit and audit contingency plans, SOPs, and staff training guides. Do you have every use case outlined? Where can you save time, and be faster to respond now?
- Be sure to involve your IT and Engineering departments in early conversations, as they will be responsible for supporting the stability of any safety technology stack.
- Rely on your line level staff for vital feedback. They can quickly help identify dead zones, inaccuracies in manual processes, and help identify important areas for improvement because they live it day to day.
5. Before you buy, understand your tech providers’ roadmaps for the future.
Steven believes, “A lot of tech providers out there are just solving for the loudest squeaky wheel, especially when it comes to staff safety. The best vendors out there are the ones that partner to each other to provide you with an interconnected platform. This is why we choose to partner with companies like Amadeus because their roadmap for the future is perfectly aligned with ours.”
Technology is moving at a rapid pace, especially when it comes to staff safety. If current or prospective vendors do not have a roadmap that naturally supports your long term plans, you may end up spending effort on a solution that won’t last. Amadeus Service Optimization is partnered with various vendors such as TraknProtect, BluIP, React Mobile, and Creating Revolutions to support your safety initiatives through the value of automation! Learn more by contacting us today!