Posted by IWIH on March 20, 2014Comment

A letter to Four Seasons staff members

Flavia Sirioud (hospitality management student) would like to share with you a letter she wrote to Four Seasons staff around the world. It's a letter that portrays a lot of what hotel school graduates go through in their first jobs.

Dear Four Seasons staff members around the world,

I am a Four Seasons employee and I write to you today to pass on a very important message that I hope, will help change the actual status of Four Seasons employees around the world.  Since I began hospitality school at Les Roches, in Switzerland, I began to learn about the company’s philosophy and its prestige around the world.  In our industry it is not only an honour but a lifetime experience to be able to work for such a company.  For this reason, I decided to practice my first internship at the George V in Paris (where I was able to gain a lot of experience from extremely talented but closed minded professionals) and finally become a fulltime employee at the Four Seasons after college.

From all the places I have worked, this company has, in my opinion (and coming from a hospitality perspective) the most organized workplace, whereas working laws and ethics are respected.  Nevertheless once again I am caught in the same situation as I was during my first internship, doubting whether all the honourable aspects of working for such a company compensate for my occasional physical and emotional breakdown.  Do not get me wrong, I am an idealist and I believe in individuals like me, which have passion for the hospitality industry regardless of its hardship.  However, as motivated as I am, I find myself once again in a job where other staff and co-workers constantly stop me from achieving my full potential.

During my college studies I performed a presentation on Isadore Sharp and his leadership philosophy.  I can almost safely say, from what I have learned that, his intention was to create a company where all individuals gave their best to provide a high quality service and satisfy clients by fulfilling their needs.  In order to do this, there would need to be certain “guidelines” and “rules” which are otherwise known as standards (for a particular reason).  This would help each and every employee deliver an outstanding service so that throughout every Four Seasons Hotel, the quality of service would be equal.  However, like any other public manifesto written by charismatic leaders throughout history, Isadore Sharp’s philosophy was open to many interpretations and in my most humble opinion is today very well misinterpreted by most Four Seasons head staff and employees.  Staff members and especially head staff use the famous standards today as rules to be followed whether it is a matter of life or death... literally.  Furthermore, the golden rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated” only applies when dealing with guests (if you have been to Paris this rule sometimes doesn’t even apply to guests).  Even, departments within Hotels are not willing to cooperate with each other if it means jeopardizing their ability to follow all standards at any given moment.   In other words any respect that is supposed to exist among co-workers does not exist at all and is only measured by hierarchy which often becomes nothing but a formality.

In summary, I would like to appeal to all staff members and ask that we change this situation and contribute for the Four Seasons Company to become an even better company to work for.  We have to make this an environment where the benefits do not only stand in the company reputation and our end of the month salary.  A few months ago I thought I was the only lucky individual working in an F&B Department where no one was giving me a hard time or training me through extreme torture and intimidation skills (which are ultimately mastered by the French).  Now, I know they were only buying me time to prepare for the Four Seasons lifetime “training” lessons a.k.a how to suck it up while you endure the most painful aggressions and insults.
I think that if we learn to respect our co-workers and create tolerance for their mistakes we will give them the opportunity to grow and become better professionals.  Everyone is capable of learning new things and become experts; we only need to give them a chance and the opportunity.  By giving proper training and motivating today’s employees we will have talented workers in the future who are willing to pass on their experiences.  On the contrary, we will be stuck with the same sore individuals who can only teach in the foul way they were once taught.

In my opinion, we can become not only the company with the best hotels in the world but more than that, we can create an environment where everyone takes pride in working for.  As soon as we manage to respect co-workers and help other departments our company will achieve outstanding results.  We will bring out the best in individuals, inspiring them to WOW guests as well as encouraging young people to become part of this great corporate culture.  Our company will not only be one that delivers quality service through use of methods and standards but also one that prepares qualified professionals to explore and bring out the best in them.

Sincerely Yours,
A Four Seasons Employee.