I’m at IFMA’s World Workplace conference this week (www.worldworkplace.ifma.org) so my headspace is particularly in the future of FM . I noticed the tag of the person who checked me in to my hotel; it belongs to a lovely human being named Bryce, the unwitting subject of this blog post (thank you, Bryce!).
As you can see, Bryce’s title is “Navigator.” I just loved the term and it reminded me of how we brand workplace concierges to support productive workplaces.
I couldn’t help myself, I had to ask Bryce what the title “Navigator” meant to him. I confess that I was secretly testing the congruence behind big corporate visions around customer experience (which also translate really well to employee experience). I’m always curious to see how well these big executive visions are actually delivered by the front line employees – is there a gap or do they get it right?. Typically these people are in an early phase of their careers, who do not earn a large salary. I wanted to know what they say and do when nobody is looking. It’s a good test of training that comes from the top down of an organization. Do the big ideas match the actual lived experience of junior staff members?
Bryce was kind enough to oblige me and gave me a lovely, meaningful explanation of what “Navigator” means to him and his team members. Essentially, he helps guests to find their way to whatever they need for an enjoyable visit. Whether it’s inside or outside the hotel, Bryce said it’s his responsibility to enable the needs of his guests. He explained that the lead Navigator - the “Captain” - is the concierge and a deep navigation expert, but has the same responsibility: to help you find whatever you need as efficiently as possible. Bryce explained that he enables guests with choices. This empowers guests with options to optimize their experience. The distinction is enabling the guests to make choices about where they go and what they do vs. trying to capture them in the property amenities. I can see is that the intent is to help empower guests with a choice of options and allow them to decide on which option would make them the most productive. I couldn’t help but see the connection to how we design our workplaces to accommodate a wide range of personalities and work preferences. Productivity is so highly personal; it’s up to us to provide employees with choices that will make them productive and healthy.
Bryce’s explanation (which I am honestly not doing full justice) illustrates how his role as Navigator isn’t simply a job title; it’s an embedded philosophy on how they work, not just what they do. Navigator isn’t just a job title or role; it’s a mission with an inspired purpose. It’s a philosophy that expresses not just what Bryce does, but how he does it.
The lesson here is very clear: don’t miss the opportunity to tie your brand to your philosophy. The hospitality industry is a model for us; they continue to be at the leading edge, pioneering concepts that cross over and represent good business practices. Those of us in CRE have a lot to learn from the hospitality industry. I think if you’re looking for a model for “guest services,” look to the hotels. We’re actually having great success hiring people from the hospitality industry. It makes sense to do so. We can always teach people technical stuff (which changes constantly, btw, so it’s something we all have to continually learn), but it’s harder to teach people to be positive and take a sense of ownership - qualities that are already instilled in workers from the hospitality industry.
I’ll sign off by saying congratulations on a job well done to Bryce and the Renaissance Hotel in Phoenix! Thank you for helping me find my way to a great experience. This place has wellness standards, a co-working area, wi-fi, outlets everywhere, and helpful people with helpful attitudes. Oh, and I’m especially glad to be in warm, sunny Phoenix; apparently at home frost killed all of my plants last night, so I’m good to stay here and away from the cold for a while!
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