Family Owned Québec Hotels Build Profit by Investing in Employees

The Milot family has a long, successful history in the accommodations industry, and their experience shows when examining the human resource practices at their properties. Owners and operators of Hotel Quality Suites in Drummondville, Québec, and Le Dauphin in Québec City, their original and flagship property is Le Dauphin Hotel and Suites in Drummondville.

Le Dauphin opened its doors in 1963, and has been passed down from generation to generation over the years, remaining a family run business. Extensive renovations over the last twenty years have transformed Le Dauphin into a full service hotel and meeting facility with many options for both tourists and business travelers. Le Dauphin features 120 rooms and suites, including extended stay suites that can be used as family accommodations or as meeting space, 25 meeting rooms which can accommodate up to 500 people, the upscale Globe-Trotter restaurant, and Menus Plaisirs bistro and bar. These modern amenities and Drummondville`s convenient location halfway between the business centres of Montréal and Québec City make it easy to understand why Le Dauphin is the hotel of choice for business functions in the province.

One reason for the ongoing success of Le Dauphin is management’s commitment to its staff and to effective, progressive human resource practices. Active recruitment strategies include posting current job listings and descriptions on the hotel website, along with resources to connect potential employees to training and education through postsecondary hotel management programs, the Institute du tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, and the Conseil québecois de resources humaines en tourisme (CQRHT).This emphasis on promoting professional development is a strategy that continues to apply after staff are hired.

The Milots believe that staff can build a rapport with guests by being genuine and demonstrating that they have fun at work and love what they do, and management does all it can to maintain a happy and satisfied workforce . This commitment is front and centre on the hotel’s website, where management pledges to engage employees by encouraging them to express themselves and by listening to their opinions, to provide continuous recognition to employees, to make each and every staff member accountable, to promote a sense of belonging and pride in working at the hotel, and to help employees reach their full potential by offering continuous training opportunities.

Many of these training opportunities involve emerit® tourism training resources and professional certification programs. The Human Resources department keeps emerit National Occupational Standards on hand for their staff, and uses the standards as the basis for their professionalism training.  The company also encourages employees to pursue emerit Professional Certification, and covers all the fees for both training and certification. Currently, employees at the three properties are certified in the occupations of Front Desk Agents, Housekeeping Room Attendants, and Food and Beverage Servers.

The effect on employees is substantial. “Employees are so happy when they complete the certification process,” says Geneviève Milot, General Manager. “Their sense of achievement when they receive their certificate and professional designation translates into real pride in their work, and their professionalism and productivity improve as a result.” The benefits to the property are also tangible. Ms. Milot explains: “Investing in training our employees and helping them through the process shows that they are valuable to the company, and increases employee loyalty, which helps keeps our turnover rate low. This investment not only costs less than finding and training new employees, it improves performance and customer satisfaction, which is always the goal in the hospitality industry.”

Employee training doesn’t end with certification. Hotel staff also participate in programs offered by CQRHT:  Client-plus, customer service and handling complaints training, and Moniteur en enterprise, a two day workplace trainer course. Workplace First Aid and CPR training from the Red Cross are also offered to hotel employees.

By using proactive recruitment techniques, taking advantage of emerit training and certification products, and using the resources available through organizations such as CQRHT and the Red Cross, Le Dauphin and its sister properties have made a real investment in their employees. The return on this investment is undeniable—a strong, loyal workforce, consistently exceptional service, and highly satisfied customers prove that ongoing training benefits everyone.  As the Milot family approach their 50th year catering to business and leisure guests, their continued commitment to the professional development of their employees and to effective human resource practices will help to solidify their position as leaders in the Québec accommodations industry for years to come.