Back Of House With Bill

A Series On All Things Hospitality

Don’t Let Safety Certifications Fool You

Perception is reality and even more so in the COVID-19 environment the perception of Guest safety has transformed an industry once focused on experiential stars and awards to that of stamps and seals.

Our Guests’ priorities have shifted but how can a Guest ensure that an organization is fully COVID-19 certified, able to show the required skills and knowledge to overcome a virus which continues to evolve?

How can a Guest be sure these certifications are inclusive of a process which will continue to, not for days but months, keep everyone safe?

Sure the host of COVID-19 certifications which are readily available (Gold Standard, Safe Travels, Lead with Care,  Clean and Safe) provide the optics that organizations are “safe” but when you dig deeper, examining the substance, what is behind the smoke?

In April at the height of the COVID crise, The Wynn Corporation was revolutionary in releasing their twenty-page document which outlined operational procedures for how they planned to proactively address this new environment. This document has seemingly become the industry standard, from which components continue to be recycled across the countless stamps and seals available to any organization. This copy and paste method, while providing the security of detailed standards, will never be effective unless accompanied by a comprehensive implementation and training process.

Any certification which is truly intended to improve and maintain the safety of an organization in this new environment must have bite! A certification cannot be a participation trophy, awarded to the organizations who just show up at the table, rather it must verify that a robust process, which provides the necessary training, materials and measurement, is in place and working effectively.

I have yet to find a certification process which objectively measures the effectiveness of any Staff training, nor the level of support or skills developed of Leadership in navigating coaching conversations in this new environment. Not a single certification evaluates the performance of any behavioral aspects of staff in relation to difficult conversations, nor any evidence of a methodology for measuring COVID-19 protocol compliance. I have no evidence that these stamps and seals are certifying anything more than an organizations response as a “check in the box” or marketing ploy to communicate the perception of safety to Guests.  

Any organization within the public or private sector who is considering placing a certification on their window, website, or welcome notes, must ensure this certification includes: 

  • Confirmation of the involvement and development of Leaders to address new “normals”
  • Ongoing review of all standards and procedures within specific work areas
  • Compilation of all technical and behavioral training programs aimed to enhance the Guests perception of safety
  • An objective measurement component which reviews all aspects of the Guest experience
  • Daily evaluation of Staff’s performance by Leaders
  • Verification of a robust and flexible process that can adapt to future health, safety, or general service conditions.

A certification is only as good as the components, processes and plans in which it reviews or supports. A successful certification should challenge organizations to evolve into better versions of themselves, as they adapt to new environments and new “normals”. The FreemanGroup SHIELD does just that.

The “SHIELD’ is the only robust, practical, marketable and, above all, effective methodology in addressing the challenges we face. Our core process, which has been implemented in hundreds of organizations, within multiple travel sectors, and adapted through economic and health obstacles over the last 35 years,  is specifically designed not just for today but to adapt for the future needs and challenges we will undoubtably face.

Our SHIELD, endorsed by our own Medical Advisory Board and by a number of Health professionals within our extensive HealthCare Client portfolio, protects organizations by ensuring operational excellence through daily adherence and oversight of an established process. The FreemanGroup SHIELD, verifies your organization’s successful execution and implementation of:

  1. Dedicated On-Site Compliance Managers Accountable for Implementation of Internal Processes
  2. Enhanced Public Health and Safety Protocols Compliant to all Governmental Guidelines
  3. Recurrent Training Initiatives Focused on Improvement of Guest Interactions and Increasing Staff Confidence
  4. Increased Communication and Coaching of All Policies and Procedures
  5. Ongoing Measurement and Consistent Review of All Aspects of the Guest Experience

Accreditation should not be selfish rather a collaboration to improve the skills of our Staff and best serve our Guests. The FreemanGroup SHIELD is designed to balance your existing practices with FreemanGroup enhancements that implement sustainable processes for now and whatever we face next. Achieving the FreemanGroup SHIELD ensures that your organization is an active participant in consistently meeting the evolving needs and expectations of Guests.

As we launch the FreemanGroup SHIELD, we invite organizations to prove their implantation of a process which isn’t just a check in the box or participation trophy but practical, on-going, and ever evolving.


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