AAHOA Chairwoman (2019-2020)
Comprehensive hotel safety must include security precautions for hotel staff. Employee safety devices (ESDs) are one method that several brands have found to be uniquely successful in both protecting employees and increasing their feeling of security when going to work each day. These devices, also called panic buttons, are usually specific to hotel employees who frequently go into guest rooms, such as housekeepers, and other employees who work by themselves. They are a small, easily accessible, and subtle way for hotel staff to call for help in the event of an emergency.
ESDs are a great tool because they create a direct line of communication between staff no matter where they are. If a crisis arises and the button is pressed, an alert will immediately be sent to other employees in the hotel who will know there is an emergency and can respond quickly. This can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes for help to arrive, whether it is other hotel staff or first responders. Any situation, regardless of the type of problem, can and should be diffused as quickly as possible and ESDs are a dependable way to give employees the ability to report issues as soon as they happen.
Certain states are even looking to pass legislation that would require hotels to provide ESDs for hotel employees. In New Jersey, for example, a new regulation stipulates that all hotels with more than 100 rooms must give housekeeping staff and other employees who go into guest rooms ESDs to carry at all times beginning in January 2020. Similar regulations are gaining support in various states throughout the country, so it is important to take note of any ESD initiatives that might be gaining support in your state to prepare for new requirements.
If you think ESDs could be a good fit for your property and your staff, there is no need to wait for your state or locality to pass a regulation before implementing them. ESDs should not be seen as an added expense, the potential ROI and long-term benefits greatly outweigh the cost. Providing these devices to employees can directly impact employee retention and make your hotel more appealing to job seekers. This added security measure will set your property apart from others that do not have it. Going to work each day knowing that help is on the way with one quick push of a button allows employees to feel safer and more secure. It is a simple but impactful benefit that you can highlight to all potential hires. I encourage all AAHOA Members to research this new tool and consider introducing it to their properties. Your current and future staff will thank you for it!