Frontline employees are constantly in touch with clients. The frontline employees are very significant in the creation of a great customer experience. There is a need for a research to be carried out to find out how the quality of supervision the frontline employees are subjected to affects the quality of services they offer.
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Literature review has shown that the supervision is very necessary if the front line employees are to offer quality services. It has been shown that supervising helps to equip the frontline employees by identifying their areas of weakness which require being built on.
Quality supervision encompasses many aspects that are quite beneficial to the frontline employees and which a positive impact on the quality of the services they will provide to the clients.
Rationale for the study
Globalization has enhanced competition in various sectors of economy around the world. The hospitality industry is one of such sectors which have been heavily affected by the competition brought about by globalization.
Due to the increased competition it has become imperative for business organizations, both in the hospitality industry and elsewhere, to offer high quality goods and services. It has come to the realization of the management in various sectors of the economy particularly those in the service industry that it takes more than premium quality of services and goods to satisfy the clients.
In the hospitality industry the art of offering goods in a special manner is not new; actually this is the concept behind internal marketing popularized by services industries such as banks and hotels. Internal marketing involves proper handling of the employees by the management through various ways with an aim of expecting the employees to reciprocate back in turn by treating the clients well.
This means that as much as quality goods and services can be offered by an organization, there is a need for services to be provided in a quality way. This becomes very practical when the case is a hospitality industry. Offering of services in a great way often creates what is commonly referred to as great customer experience. Creating a great customer experience is one of the factors that hotel management anywhere strives to create.
Most of the service industries create great customer experiences by utilizing the service of the frontline staff well. It must be appreciated that by default the clients interact most often with the frontline employees. It is therefore evident that the image that will be left in the mind of the customers will that presented by the frontline staff employees.
It will therefore make a lot of sense for the management to heavily invest in the frontline staff. Investing in the frontline staff may take the form of training and even ensuring that the kind of supervision offered is of high quality. Having outlined the rational of the study we can briefly examine the management problem.
Overview of the Management Problem
Tourism is a key industry in Mauritius. The tourism industry in this island can be described as booming and consequently the hospitality industry is also on the rise. The hotels located in this island have been ranked among the world’s top hotels. The island being a tourist destination must ensure that the services offered by its hospitality industry are of high quality. It is important that the quality of the services offered by the hospitality industry is highly maintained to entertain the tourist who frequent the island and also probably to act as attraction for international events.
One of the ways of enhancing service quality, as pointed out above, is through ensuring that the services offered by the frontline employees is excellent. A fall in the quality of service offered by the frontline employees will definitely and drastically reduce the image of the hotels and other hospitality centers in this island. Of late there have been concerns over the quality of the services offered by the frontline employees.
One of the ways to rectify this is by ensuring that the quality of supervision that the frontline employees are subjected to is improved. In order to ascertain this, a study will be carried out on some five resorts whose ranking ranges from three to five. Having identified the management problem, we embark next to find out the purpose of this research.
Purpose of the Research
In respect to the above discussion, this research proposal intend s to find out the if there is any correlation between the quality of supervision offered to the front line employees and the quality of services that they offer. This research is intended to expose any potential that may exist in form of raising the quality of supervision offered to the frontline employees.
It is expected that by ensuring that the quality of supervision is of high quality, the services that the frontline staff offers will equally be upgraded. This sequence is expected to make the image of the overall company where the customer is being served great hence creating a great customer experience.
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This proposal is expected to present useful information by using a case study on the effect of quality supervision on the frontline staff in the hospitality industry.
By taking a real life case study the research is expected to reveal vital information on the creation of great customer experience through the use of frontline employees when they are subjected to quality supervision. In order to carry out a research on the aspect of impact of quality supervision on the quality of the services provided by the frontline staff, an appropriate research question was formulated.
The research question which will be adopted for a research to be carried out is: what is the relationship between quality of supervision and the quality of performance of frontline employees in hospitality industry?
This research question was formulated because, as argued above, the frontline employees, due to the fact that they most interact with the clients, they are largely responsible for creating a customer experience. It is therefore assumed that the kind of influence behind the frontline employees will be hugely responsible for creating a customer experience: supervision is one of such influences.
The status of the case study subject was taken into account when the research question was being formulated. The research is expected to be carried out on five resorts whose ranking range from three to five stars. An assumption is made that the resorts with such rankings will probably have high quality goods and services and therefore the need to examine the way these services and goods are offered.
Supervision plays a very vital role in determining employee performance in any sector. It is magnified when it comes to employees in the service industry especially frontline employees because they are usually in constant contact with customers. Supervision is usually seen as a form of parenting whereby senior managers are required to parent individuals according to their abilities in a specific area.
Supervision ensures that there is continuity and consistency in service given by those responsible for delivering specific service. Different authors have agreed that supervision involves training and guiding individuals to enable them realize their full potential in whatever they do.
Many coaching theories suggest that every supervisor should be conversant with the service provided by those he supervises so that he can build the relevant work relationship with employees. This is why it is important for supervisors to foster trust, respect, and collegiality, attributes that enhance employee interactions in their respective areas of specialization.
Supervision therefore, requires that both the supervised and the supervisor engage in a number of tasks in order to satisfy the needs of their customers. There are a number of ways through which quality of supervision affects the performance of frontline employees in the service industry. These are explored below,
Quality of supervision can support employee service
It is said that for any business to succeed, it must create a work environment that is positive and based on trust, exceptionality of service, collaboration, excellence in tasks, and creativity. However, to achieve these, it must ensure that the needs of those who represent the most important asset, customers, are made.
These people are the employees. As already, mentioned, supervision involves training, coaching and guiding staff members so that they can perform to their full potential. An effective supervisor will notice the failings in his or her employees and therefore, recommend the required skills that they should train in to achieve productive potential.
In the hospitality industry, employees are trained on how to deal with customers so that they can gain their trust. In doing this, they will be aiding in building customer loyalty.
When supervisors guide their staff members in their performance of the required duties, they make employees feel part of the company, feel wanted and are therefore motivated to work hard in ensuring customer satisfaction and therefore reap maximum returns for the organization.
Training does not only bring about motivation, it also initiates creativity, and commitment in the employees so that they can move the organization to greater heights in terms of profitability (Wagen & Davies, 1998, p. 90).
When employees are involved in training, they feel empowered to work hard and provide quality services. Good supervision will enable management realize or recognize the potential in each of their employees.
This helps management in providing the necessary tools and powers needed to enable them improve their performance consistently. It is said that in the business world, it is the human resource that differentiates one business enterprise from the other, but not what they produce. Therefore supervision helps to reveal weaknesses in employees and thus take quick remedial actions.
Basing on these, one can therefore, train, coach or guide employees into doing the right thing. Supervision goes hand in hand with feedback. Managers should therefore, give feedback to their employees as this also acts as a motivational tool for better service delivery. Feedback however, should be specific as this tends to be more positive than a general feedback (Wagen & Davies, 1998, p. 90).
Employees are human and they are bound to make mistakes, this means that once in a while, managers need to correct employee performance. Corrections require that mangers give employees feedback and explanation that is specific to what is needed to correct the problem. Supervision therefore, contributes a lot in supporting the quality of service that employees offer to customers.
Giving feedback to frontline employees in the service industry can be as simple as telling them to smile to customers when attending to their needs to give them the impression that one has given full attention to their problem. A feedback should always be followed with an explanation of the required response. Frontline employees usually fail because most of them do not have adequate training.
This is why it is important that through supervision, they are provided with coaching and encouragement. Good supervisors can do this by demonstrations so that staff uses them as their role models (Wagen & Davies, 1998, p. 90).
Many people who seek for employment look for jobs that will offer them support, training, and other opportunities that develop them into individuals who can take responsibility for tasks done. Many of the businesses in the services industry fail to recognize this desire in their employees and that is why they experience low customers turnovers.
It has been mentioned above that businesses need to train, develop, involve and empower their employees so that they attain the competency they require in delivering services to customers. Many of the employees believe that this can only be achieved through skilled supervision from their managers. This is why it is important for supervisors to have knowledge in the particular area of supervision.
Employees who feel that they are being supported, guided, coached or trained by skilled supervisors tend to be satisfied with their jobs because they believe that they are not just working to earn the cash, but they are being developed holistically. Quality supervision supports employee service, therefore, it enhances employee satisfaction (David, 2008, p. 1).
From above, it is clear that supervision can act as a very crucial pillar in the provision of services by employees. In hospitality industry, service quality is very important. Delivery of service in the hospitality industry by frontline employees involves personal contact. This means that the effectiveness of employee management determines the quality of service provided to customers.
Service quality in the hospitality industry spells out the nature of customer-employee interaction when delivering the service. In business, competitive advantage is created by the quality of service created. This means that businesses that do not strive to improve their service quality will lose their customers.
Services can be imitated; however, an employee cannot be easily imitated or copied. Untrained employees will deliver poor services, but those who are trained through supervision offer quality service to customers.
As already mentioned, supervision enables managers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. Building on these strengths through training and coaching them in areas where they are weak and following these with continuous supervision will mould them into competent employees who will provide quality service to customers (Yang & Fu, n.d., p. 219).
Services are very unique from goods, because of this, employees form part of the service and the brand of the company. Research has shown that employee satisfaction brings about customer satisfaction, which translates to profits and growth of an organization. The attitudes of frontline employees in the hospitality industry, influences greatly the attitudes of customers.
Many call this “the spillover effect”, whereby, when employees take supervision positively, this feeling radiates into the way they perform their duties. Customers on the other hand, will absorb these radiations and end up as satisfied users of the services provided.
This therefore, is reason enough to show that quality supervision supports customer services by making them feel motivated and therefore satisfied with their respective jobs (Sun & Shi, 2009, 2009, p. 16).
Quality of supervision as an obstacle to supervision
Supervision is one way of managing staff performance and therefore should encompass consulting with those who are supervised. A manager supervising the work of his employees should involve them in laying down the procedures and performance standards. This will ensure that no one makes any assumptions and therefore, only the required service standard will be achieved.
For instance, managers can lay down the procedures to be followed in receiving customers and showing them to their respective rooms. This will spell out the performance level that should be met. Consistent supervision by managers will make employees feel that they are being treated equally and fairly.
However, if supervision is carried out inconsistently and in a disorganized way, then this can create anxiety and leave employees unsettled and their deliver poor service to customers. This is why it is important that managers supervise their employees and give them guidance and advice where necessary (Wagen & Davies, 1998, p. 92).
Many managers have a tendency of paying attention or are only concerned with those employers who are regarded as poor performers. They therefore, dedicate all their supervision on them in the hope that they are helping the situation. This however, creates another problem, whereby, the good performers will start feeling abandoned or neglected.
Supervisions of this type create frustration because good performing employees will feel that their manager is acknowledging their contributions. Research has shown that many employees feel encouraged by simply being noticed by their seniors. Another undoing of supervision is in situations whereby supervisors can blame employees for failures that are out of their control.
In the hospitality industry, there are many factors that can contribute to poor performance. Take for instance, unexpected delays in flights or even accidents, good managers should acknowledge these. On most occasions, this is not the case; managers tend to blame it on their employees.
Such blames are known attribution errors whereby supervisors attribute a lapse in performance to a lack of effort on the part of employees when it is clearly that poor performance was due to unavoidable circumstances. These are the issues that sometimes make supervision hinder quality of service given because they kill employee morale their by reducing their productivity levels (Wagen & Davies, 1998. p. 92).
We have seen that supervision is a very important part of an organization. This means therefore, that the supervisor is a very vital component of the management team. Supervisors act as a bond or a link between employees and the general manager, this means that the he is depended on by the organization in ensuring that employees carry out their duties well to satisfy the needs of customers.
A good supervisor therefore, should work in line with the standards of management, which are “planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling” (McIntosh, 1974, p. 1). Good and effective supervision will ensure that employees give their maximum contribution to the duties performed.
However poor supervision can bring about the downfall of company because it will kill employee moral to work and therefore, will lead to poor service delivery, which can lead to the eventual loss in customers.
When carrying out supervision most of the managers assume that all their employees are the same, they fail to appreciate the fact that people are different. The hospitality industry is very involving and wide. It there consists of employees who may be satisfied by their jobs and therefore, will appreciate the type of supervision given. While there other employees who may not be satisfied with their jobs but only work for the cash.
In such a situation what may be regarded as motivation by one employee may not be seen as such by another. This may be due to poor supervision, and as humans, employees will avoid doing work whenever there is no supervisor in sight. This will then translate into poor quality of services provided to customers. Organizations in such situations are usually forced to come up with better systems of supervision.
Some go to the extent of hiring supervisory services from outside their organizations. This leads into management narrowing the supervision span just to ensure that every employee aspect is under watch. Tight supervision like this one limits employee discretion and curtails their creativity that may help the company.
Also employees under tight supervision will not get the job satisfaction that most employees yearn for when searching for employment. This therefore, suggests that poor quality of employee supervision will serve an obstacle to employee service.
This in turn will lead to a lack of employee satisfaction in their job. If employees are not satisfied with their jobs, then they will produce poor quality services to customers (Theory X and Theory Y, 2011, p. 1).
This literature review has shown that the quality of supervision can support or hinder the services given by employees. By employing an effective supervisory system that will ensure that front line employees in service industry are trained, coached, guided, and advised in their performances of services to satisfy customer needs, quality of service provided will improve tremendously.
If supervision places in mind the needs of its employees, then it will work in consultation with them in coming up with work related procedures to guide how tasks are to be accomplished. This will ensure that there is effective supervision, which will in turn increase employee job satisfaction. When employees are satisfied, this will exhibit in their motivation to work to their maximum.
Good supervisors are those who listen to their employees and give then feedback and explanation on the right way to be taken. Poor quality supervision on the other hand may act as an obstacle to the services given.
Workers who are not supervised effectively may not have the morale to work to their expectations and as such, will not achieve job satisfaction that can give them the morale to work hard. This will then translate into poor quality service given.
With the aim of examining how quality of services offered by the frontline employees in Mauritius is affected by supervision, this study will be carried out in Mauritius on some five resorts.
The research will be undertaken in three phases: hypotheses formulation (already carried out above), carrying out of interviews and making use of questionnaires. It is significant that proper research methods are used to ensure comprehensive information will be captured in the course of carrying out the research.
In general, data collection methods can be classified into primary and secondary methods. For this study both the primary and secondary means will be used to collect data. In carrying out the research, emphasis will be placed on collecting data as this is likely to give a more relevant indication of how the services that the front staff employees offer are affected by the supervision.
As indicated above, primary data is very vital for validity of a research. Primary data gives the true picture of what happens at the ground hence necessitates drawing of relevant of conclusions.
Although the research findings for this study is likely to be used in many geographical regions, this study will be focused on Mauritius and in particular on some five resorts which have already been identified above. In carrying out this research, two methods will be employed in the collections of primary data: interviews and questionnaires.
The Interview Method
It is anticipated that the use of interviews will yield very significant information which will go a long way to answer the research questions. There will be a need to use this tool professionally in order to yield sufficient information on the research question.
Appropriate use of interviews as a form of data collection will include: asking the correct and relevant questions; using diplomacy to ask ‘hard’ questions; sensing when a person being interviewed is feeling uneasy about a questions and consequently restricting the question to make it easy for him/her to answer it.
Due to availability of interviewees which might not be guaranteed, the research will have provisions for both face to face and telephone interviewees. There will be three categories of people to be interviewed: a representation of the frontline staff, some of the supervisors and some senior management personnel.
The questionnaire method
Questionnaires are anticipated to be quite helpful in the course of carrying out this research. The questionnaires are expected to be very hand especially for those who might be shy or for some other reason not will to face interviews. The questions will be kept anonymous to enhance frank airing of views without any fear of being pointed out by any person.
Some of the questionnaires will be mailed to those who will answer them while some will be presented to the individual members in person. A cover sheet will be prepared which will be sent along with the questionnaire to enable the interviewee understand what is required of him/her.
The use of interviews and questionnaires will largely help to collect information from the ground which will be expected to give some green light on the research question.
Secondary data has been used above in the literature review section. Use of secondary data is very significant as it makes it possible to adequately prepare well for the research.
By going through the secondary information on the research topic one gets to understand the task ahead and what is awaiting and thus makes the appropriate arrangements. Through the secondary information, it becomes possible for the formulation of the research questions, the hypotheses, and even coming up with expected challenges and limits.
Collection of secondary was carried out by using Google with an intentional move being made to pick the most credible and current sources in order to give the most relevant and appropriate information about the topic.
Limitation and Ethical Considerations
There are limitations which are likely to occur when this research will be carried out. Corrective measures will be taken as explained below in order to ensure that the data collected is reliable.
The first limitation which can be easily pointed out is the focus of the study. The study will be carried out on only five resorts. The five resorts are however highly ranked and it is hoped that they will represent the whole of the hospitality industry. Another limitation may be the use of the questionnaires.
Since the study is expected to cover all the frontline employees, it will be expected that at some point the researchers will come in contact with some of the employees who are engaged in tasks which require little or no skills and probably it is expected that such employees may find it hard to go through the questionnaires.
In such a case, the researchers will be required to carry out interviews with such employees and consequently collect their views.
The highest standards of research ethics will be observed when this research will be carried out. The data collected will be only used for the purpose of studies. Collections of primary data will be carried out through coding to enhance privacy. Permission from the relevant authorities will be sought to ensure that the study takes place without any confusion.
It is expected that a lot of time will likely be spent moving around in the course of carrying out the research. To ensure that time will be spent wisely and that no activity will be sidelined due to insufficient time allocation. The following Gant chart will be used in carrying out the research-there are likelihood of some adjustments being made on the chart to make it more convenient and inclusive of any relevant activities that may come up.
David, A. (2008) Generation Y as hospitality employees: framing a research agenda. Web.
McIntosh, R. (1974) Employee Motivation and Work Incentives in the Service Industries. Web.
Sun, A & Shi, B. (2009) Employee Satisfaction vs. Service Performance-A Chinese hotel’s perspective. Web.
Theory X and Theory Y. (2011) Theory X and Theory Y. Web.
Wagen, A & Davies, G. (1998) Supervision and leadership in tourism and hospitality. New York, NY: Cengage Learning EMEA.