Danny Meyer, who owns several top-rated restaurants in Manhattan, believes and hires employees whose skills are divided 51-49 between emotional hospitality and technical excellence. He refers to these employees as the “51 percenters.”
A 51 percenter has five core emotional skills which are essential in Meyer’s business:
- Optimistic warmth – people who naturally radiate warmth, happiness, kindness.
- Intelligence – people who are open-minded, curious, and demonstrate a desire to learn.
- Work ethic – people who are highly motivated, confident and want to contribute to the excellence of the business.
- Empathy – people who are both aware of what others are experiencing, but care about how their behavior affects others.
- Self-awareness and integrity – people who are aware of how their mood affects others and a willingness to hold themselves accountable for doing the right thing.
So, what place does emotional hospitality have in a “business” environment, e.g., insurance, banking, technology, manufacturing? Isn’t “technical excellence” the primary competency that is needed in business? Absolutely, but not at the expense of emotional hospitality. It is not an either/or situation.
For example. You walk into a bank and the customer service representative deposits your check with a receipt that shows the correct deposit. There are technical skills the representative has to learn to perform that function accurately, and he performed it flawlessly. NOW, the next day you return to the same bank, but you are greeted by a different representative. She smiles, greets you by name, remembers that you had a baby a few weeks ago and asks how your baby is. She deposits your check just like the other representative, hands you the receipt with a smile and wishes you a great day and to enjoy your baby.
Which customer service representative do you want to go to when you come back the next time? Most likely the last one. Why? Even though both conducted your transaction flawlessly, the last representative connected with you emotionally with “optimistic warmth” and “empathy.” She also demonstrated a “work ethic” and “intelligence” that enhances the bank’s image of a great place to bank. And, she brought to her job the skill of “self-awareness”, a sense that her mood affects others.
The point is emotional hospitality exists in EVERY business environment. Remember the ratio – 51-49 between emotional hospitality and technical excellence.
(Content adapted from Setting the Table – The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer.)