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Human Resource Management Assignment: Cause of Poor Performance Management at the Cavendish Hall Hotel


Task: Analyse the indicators and possible causes of poor performance levels at the Cavendish Hall Hotel. Advise the HR manager how they can build an effective High Performance Work System to address the performance issues you have identified.

Assignment Case Study

Daphne Jones has recently been appointed as HR manager of the Cavendish Hall Hotel, a 200 bedroom, four-star county house hotel, located in rolling hills a few miles south of a major northern industrial conurbation. The hotel provides a wide range of conference and banqueting facilities and is a popular wedding location. It employs a range of full time, part time and temporary seasonal staff across 5 departments: Events and Banqueting, Rooming and Reception, Housekeeping, Food and Beverages, HR and Administration. The organisations aims to be “The regions number one venue choice for events and conferencing”.

They aim to deliver through a strategy of personalised customer service experience, bespoke events packages, competitive pricing and an outstanding accommodation and restaurant experience.

The hotel operates a formal annual appraisal scheme which, as part of a new performance management system, has been linked to an individual performance related pay scheme. Each member of staff receives a one per cent salary increase irrespective of performance to take account of the increased cost of living. The hotels line managers must then assess each member of staff in their team as either Excellent, Good, Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory based on their individual performance over 12 months and this is used to determine any further pay rises.

An interim appraisal review is also conducted after six months. The purpose of this review is to focus on the career aspirations and learning and development requirements of employees. These are conducted by the same line manager who is responsible for feeding back relevant information to the HR department to help form the hotels talent development strategy. Despite the scheme the hotel manager has discussed ongoing performance problems with Daphne. The hotel has received some poor reviews from guests concerning levels of customer service and room cleanliness on Trip Advisor UK: “The staff try hard but lack the professionalism of a 4/5 hotel to compete. I will stay in the hotel over the road next time as much better value for money in my opinion.”

“Yesterday I forgot my key. After running miles to the reception, they gave me another key which still didn’t work. No fresh orange juice at breakfast.”
“Booked four nights for a very special occasion but checked out after two truly disappointing days. Service was not friendly or prompt. Our room had a flickering bathroom light that was never replaced.”
“I was surprised that standards have slipped so much. Staff are no longer friendly and ’on the ball’. I couldn't relax in my room as I was repeatedly interrupted by staff checking the room. Indifferent service in the bar, very slow checkout caused by only one member of staff being available to serve many customers. When an extra member of staff did appear to help with checkout and I mentioned the long delay she commented that she was busy on the phone.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly given these reviews, the hotel is also suffering from declining room occupancy rates which is now attracting negative attention from head office.

As a starting point to her investigations, Daphne has reviewed the latest employee engagement survey and has noted some apparent problems. In particular, Daphne has noticed that the engagement scores from the hotel rooming and reception department are lower than in the rest of the hotel. The scores for this departmentare also worse than in the previous year’s survey.


Rooming and Reception



% agree

% agree

1.    I know what is expected of me at work



2.    I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right



3.    At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day



4.    In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work



5.    My supervisor, or someone at work seems to care about me as a person



6.    There is someone at work who encourages my development



7.    At work, my opinions seem to count



8.    The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important



9.    My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work



10.  I have a best friend at work



11.  In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress



12.  This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.




The divisional manager tells Daphne he was involved in the appointment of an ambitious new manager to Rooming and Reception approximately 3 months ago. They have good hotel experience, working previously as a receptionist for three years, followed by 2 years as a team leader/supervisor in events and banqueting. He tells Daphne he has been pleased with this new manager’s progress. They are able and energetic and have already improved the efficiency of their work section by quickly re-organising some of the procedures and improving the methods used in the department.
Daphne checks the HR records and sees that paperwork has been returned indicating that this manager has completed the annual appraisals on all of his staff on time and she notices that they have all been set the same objectives around accuracy on paperwork and computer booking processes. While there are entries in the appraisal paperwork in the section on development there have been no requests for training and development from the department according to her training administrator. Checking the key HR metrics for the department she also notes that sickness absence in this department has increased well above the hotel average. On average the department has lost 8 days per year to sickness absence compared to 5.3 in the hotel as a whole.
Daphne presses the Divisional Manager for more information about the young manager and he tells her that, on reflection, he walks around the department whenever he is in the hotel and on several occasions he has passed by the manager talking to staff members and noticed the tone of their voice was sharp. Now he thinks about it, on a couple of occasions he thinks some of the staff members might actually have looked upset. He has also over-heard conversations between staff members where the manager’s name has been mentioned in connection with bad attitudes. Just the other day an accounting clerk made some harsh comments about the manager’s attitude and complained about the way he had spoken to her when he identified an error in her banking paperwork. He says he has observed the manager holding morning meetings with his team but these seem to be quite short and focused on the allocation of tasks for the day.


Understanding essential practices associated with high performance work system within the workplace environment is an important aspect of high performing human capital and effective human resource strategy. Global organizations adopting lean human capital management approach to reduce cost which has direct impact on the implementation of HPWS in an organization. The Cavendish Hall Hotel has been encountering critical issues regarding human capital management and high productive work environment. The objective of the current discussion is to identify root causes associated with poor performance whereas HPWS environment factors would be discussed in order to address issues in The Cavendish Hall Hotel. Possible barriers of high-performance work system also would be discussed in the current context. Suitable recommendations based on the discussion also would be stated with respect to The Cavendish Hall Hotel.

1. Introduction
1.1 High-Performance Work System

There is no denying the fact that employees are the greatest asset to a workplace/an organization in today’s world. It is the sincerity, hard work, dedication, and core determination of the workers or employees, which helps an organization to accomplish a desired aim in the long run. Thus, engaging andrecruiting workers having a strong desire for personal advancement with the proper knowledge, proficiency, skills,ability, personal traits andensuring a safe,secured, healthy, bias-free ambiance in a workplace should be the primary goal of an organization to deliver the goals and for its long term growth(Altin, et al., 2018). In a nutshell, a high-performancework system (HPWA) is the one that majorly emphasizes on employee involvement and development and creating a soothing, unbiased, organization culture based on commitment rather than exercising control(Murphy, et al., 2018).

1.2 Background: The Cavendish Hall HotelScenario
The given scenario of the Cavendish Hall Hotel, a 200-bedroom, four-star county house hotel located in the heart of an extended urban industrial area. It clearly demonstrates the ongoing problems and issues associated with the Hotel owing to its poor man-management strategies work policies, work performance, and unscrupulousness among the workers. Despite the posh facilities, the Hotel does not have a customer-friendly location. It leads the reception of poor reviews and online ratings from its highly disappointed guests, infuriated majorly concerned with the reduced levels of customer service, unprofessionalism poor attitude of the hotel workers, and hygiene of the hotel rooms.

2. Multiple Causes of Poor Performance
The different causes of poor performance in the Cavendish Hall Hotel can be attributed to the following factors:

Firstly, it is mentioned in the scenario that the Hotel operated based on a formal annual appraisal scheme as directed by the new performance management system, where every employee is meant to receive only a 1 percent salary increase, irrespectiveof their performance. This has harmed the work performance, as monetary compensations are believed to play an integral role in governing the performance of a workplace, as previously stated by(Farmaki, 2019).It was suggestedthat a hike in 5% of the total salary is the minimum payment required to achieve a motivational effect in the workplace. In contrast, a few others have stated that 10% and 15% hike are required to have a substantial impact on work performance.There is no doubting fact that there was a significant problem with the reward scheme system of the Hotel, which has led to its poor work performance.

Secondly, it's quite evident in the scenario that the work or performance appraisal assessment operating on f yearly basis was entirely frivolous and unsatisfactory. A work appraisal assessment is nothing but a formalized process to monitor(Chan, et al., 2017). Review provide honest feedback to the employee. It was previously mentionedthat the work appraisal assessment every week is an absolute prerequisite in a workplace, especially when it comes to those employees delivering poor performance and bothers with their performance as well as with the management team. It was also discussedthat besides identifying poor performance, acknowledging excellent performance by providing proper compensations, both monetary and non-monetary are essential to improved work performance(Al-Badarneh, et al., 2019). It was evident from the scenario that all the workers used to receive a 1% hike in salary irrespective of the work performed and got a very superficial rating on their work every year, which was undoubtedly unfair and led to the decline in the work performed.

Thirdly and most importantly, as clearly mentioned that there was a significant problem with the work ambiance at Cavendish Hotel. The HR, the line manager and theworkers clearly didn’t get along. It is believed that high-performance work organizations are those with strict organizational characteristics like teamwork, high trust, strong communication skills, less hierarchical organizational structure, and have empowered workforces producing top quality services(Foroudi, 2019). According to the latest employee engagement survey reviewed by the hotel HR Daphne, it was noticed that the engagement scores from the hotel rooming and reception department were lower than the rest of the Hotel. The working employees cited a lack of proper supervision, work progress plans, and work appraisal/ encouragement from their supervisors and management team as the three major causes of concerns(Hua & Yang, 2017). It was previously statedthat the line managers need to be involved in the day to day activities with a proper vision for performance management and leadership from the front to generate momentum for high performance in the workplace.

3. Performance Management Approach (The Cavendish Hall Hotel)
The performance management approach/strategy adopted by the frontline management system was pretty inadequate and unsatisfactory at the Cavendish hotel, which led to the decline in the overall work performance and poor feedback from its guests.
Firstly itwas evident from the survey undertook by the workers that they were unhappy with their supervision and counseling and didn’t receive any acknowledgment/ encouragement from the management staff for their work performance or if they needed to improve their work performance(Abuelhassan & Elsayed, 2020). There was no one whom they could turn up to, to improve their work performance for over half a year. They felt ignored as a person, most importantly. They didn't receive any praise or appraisal for their excellent work every week. They just got a small hike in their salary, which was only 1% of their salary every year. Irrespective of their performances, which meant that the right performers didn't receive any desired monetary compensations or incentives or positive feedback/recognition, which took their psychological momentum away from work.

The workers delivering poor performance were often scolded in a lousy fashion, as mentioned by one of the clerks of the hotels that they were treated quite badly by the management team when it came to making corrections(Wei, 2017). The workers also didn’t pay any attention to the customer’s complaints and lacked basic manners and professionalism. They failed to provide quick and prompt service when asked to do so, which enraged the customers. They were unable to maintain their working standards as expected of them. From the survey, it was also clear that they didn't have the opportunities to grow, as the management was extremely casual and frivolous in their approach when it came to man-management.

There were significant issues with the recruiting team of the Hotel as the workers who were recruited weren't able to deliver the goods up to the standards. These are including their inability in not replacing flickering bathroom lights in the hotel rooms disregarding, replacing faulty keys with faulty keys again and again and ignoring customer’s complaints, and failing to deliver prompt service at the hotel reception, and disappointing the guests every time(Page, et al., 2018). The guests mentioned that they were put off by the indifferent service in the hotel bar. The extremely slow checkouts with only one customer being served by one member of staff available at a point of time, with most of the crew being preoccupied with themselves and their personal belongings. Few guests also reported that the staff lacked basic courtesy and were unfriendly towards them(Kimes, 2016). These were some problems, which led to the guests being infuriated with the hotel staff. That demonstrates the unscrupulousness of the workers and employees. It includes the poor management strategy in the Hotel, which primarily led to a massive decline in the work performance of the Hotel.

4. The Concepts and Critical Components of High-Performance Work System
The essential elements of High-Performance Work System are as follows:

Firstly, a personal development plan/ strategy needs to be adopted by the organizational leads. The management with necessary implementation, including formal training coaching, mentoring, and also self-managed learning and job enrichment with necessarily follow up along with strict job rotation and proper shadowing policies(Kim, et al., 2016).Trust and support form an integral part in holding workplaces together, creating a positive ambiance in the workplace and a healthy productive relationship among workers. Trust refers not only to trust within organizations but also between organizations, group, team, between co-workers and employees and managers, and different organizational departments. It has been previously reported that trust has a positive impact on group performance, and trusting employees are more likely to stay longer and work harder in a cooperative fashion in an organization(González-Rodríguez, et al., 2019).Not only this, but it was also stated that maintaining unbiased justice and ethical leadership keyto building trust.

Providing team involvement, implementing two-waycommunications, and providing honest feedback arecrucialfor high performance in workplace work. According to the equity theory, comparing internal inputs to others giving accurate appraisals in terms of returnsand providingratings to both good and bad performances motivates them to thrive hard, which leads to improved work performance in the workplace(Kim, 2019).Adopting the market comparison strategy i.e., comparing with others with the same job profile to improve each day and to do better in the future, is also essential for improved work performance. Increased quality of employee decision making is also an essential factor for driving high performance.Line management also plays a crucial role in governing the overall work performance in the workplace.

4.1 Recommended High-performance Work system for Cavendish Hall Hotel

The following measures need to be undertaken by the frontline management staff of the Hotel to overcome the rapid decline in the work performance:
• Providing monetary and non-monetary appraisals for all employers concerning their on-job performance.
• Proper recruitment and selection procedure, engaging and recruiting the employees withthe desired skills, qualifications, and personal traits.
• The implementation of a two-way communication process with honest feedback assessment enables a consistent performance review structure.
• Exercising proper training and development with specialized training provided to the non-performers, along with appropriate job rotation and follow up policies.
• The maintenance of proper discipline and bias-free atmosphere /ambiance in the workplace.
• The implementation of proper career development for the employees, discussing the new avenues &opportunities can help the highly skilled workers with routine monitoring of their job performance and consistent mutual communications.
• Identifying and having a positive attitude towards workers with poor performance by scheduling meetings weekly and providing them honest feedback on their job performance and also getting to know their take on the management system and the organization.

5. Possible barriers for High-Performance Work system at Cavendish Hall Hotel
The significant obstacle for the High-Performance Work system at Cavendish Hall hotel would be the management system. It was quite evident from the scenario that not only did the management struggled in delivering goods, starting from their poor recruitment strategy, inadequate counseling, and appraisals for their workers but also had a bad attitude towards other fellow workers. When the organization was in the limelight for their poor services to the guests, they played the blame game, rather than overcoming the challenges and obstacles they were facing. The clerks/ hotel receptionists were unhappy with their managers and passed harsh comments and complained about the manager's lousy attitude while dwelling with their work corrections.

The line managers, the HR and the other people of the management systems apart from their poor recruitment strategies, need to improve their communication skills with fellow workers as poor communication forms a significant barrier in any workplace.The scenario suggested that lack of communication was the first problem behind the decline in job performance. The clerks, receptionist managers were disinterested in opening up to the management system and had a lot of personal grievances for each other(Cooke, et al., 2019). The manager never bothered to take or give feedback to his workers, which led to the workers to feel ignored and unattended. The workers delivering excellent performance also didn't bother to deliver goods when required as they were not getting the desirable monetary compensation in terms of salary hike or incentives. They were also clearly unhappy as they had no one to turn up when it came to discussing the opportunities for their future learning and growth. They didn't get any motivation from their supervisors and counselors regarding their excellent performance. It took away their momentum psychologically. The workers delivering poor performance were often rebuked as mentioned by one of the clerks of the hotels that they were treated pretty badly by the management team when it came to making corrections. The management team needs to take notice of these problems, which would be another possible barrier if unnoticed.The workers also didn't pay any heed to the customer's complaints and lacked professionalism(Huang, et al., 2016). They failed to provide quick and prompt service when asked to do so, which enraged the customers. As we are abreast of the fact Unprofessional attitude is a definite cause of concern and barrier in a workplace, and assisting customers and communicating with them is very important for the overall success of an organization.Task bombardment was another issue the Hotel faced, as in the meetings scheduled by the manager, he only spoke about the over-ambitious task’s allocation to the employees, without paying any heed to the other side of the story i.e., listening to the worker's feedback. The workers including the management system didn’t seem to be resilient in their approach when dealing with criticism.Lack of communication, which is meant to be the primary driving force in a workplace, was missing, which would be another hindrance to achieving high work performance at Cavendish Hotel.

6. Conclusion
To conclude, one can say that it was the poor management strategy predominant at Cavendish, which was the leading cause of the decline in the work performance of the Cavendish Hotel. For improving the overall work performance of the Hotel,the workers and the management team have to sort out their differences, join hands, and need to develop a positive attitude towards work and each other. The management needs to lead front the front instead of beating around the bush and playing blame games on each other, adopting strict measures ensuring they have proper recruitment strategy. Personal development policies for each worker and, most importantly, provide appropriate appraisals, both monetary and non-monetary, to the workers concerning their job performance. If the above strategies are stringently followed, there should be a significant increase in work performance among the organizations.

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Al-Badarneh, M., Shatnawi, H. & Abedalla, O., 2019. Job Performance Management: The Burnout Inventory Model and Intention to Quit their Job among Hospitality Employees. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 5(2), pp. 1355-1375.
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