Ashley Staggs' story
I always enjoyed doing things with my hands and I like being surrounded by people from every corner of the world, other cultures; sometimes I get the chance to talk to guests in the hotel and that can be very interesting.
My learning curve has been steep. When I was assistant manager, I thought, I can be a manager, this will be fine, but then when you step into the position, you realise there is a lot you don’t know – and I still learn something every day. I have a regional technical manager, Stephen, who runs the southern half of the UK and he pops in occasionally; the general manager of the hotel is my direct boss.
I have been a manager for one year six months and one day. Fortunately, when I was assistant manager at a different Accor hotel, the manager left, so I had 2 or 3 months of being a temporary manager and after that, Accor said I had done a good job and they gave me my own hotel.
The company is good at recognising people’s strengths and giving them opportunities. Even in the hotel I’m in now, Novotel London Waterloo, the assistant F&B manager has become the F&B manager and a former team leader in the restaurant is now working as conference manager.
If you work hard and show willing, they are happy to give you the chance. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s OK; one person here was given an opportunity but didn’t like it. It’s good in that way. In other places I’ve worked, they didn’t like to promote people, they always wanted someone fresh to come in with new ideas. Here, people who want to stay and work hard get opportunities.
Being a Heartist is about my colleagues, looking after them, finding out what isn’t making them happy and looking at what we can we do to make things better at work. Half the job in hospitality is smiling and having a great attitude, so if you can help people do that, it makes you feel good too. That’s why I like being a Heartist.
There wasn’t anywhere we could chill out at lunchtime other than the canteen and a lot of people wanted something, so we bought some sofas and a TV and they’re in the canteen, so that people can relax properly, put on a DVD or play some Xbox. It makes a lot of difference.
I like working for Accor because we look out for each other and we are given career opportunities. If you need something, you can ask and they help as much as they can.
My proudest moment was when I got the manager’s position and this lovely office. I’ve worked in hotels 7 or 8 years now and once I’d settled into it and started to enjoy it, I looked at one of my managers and said, I’m going to be like him. And a few years later, here I am! He was a particularly inspirational manager – that was not at Accor – he trained me and inspired me, he pushed me on.
At one hotel group I worked for, they didn’t treat their staff with any care. It was my first hotel and when I left, I swore it was going to be my last. Then I worked for another group and had a great chief engineer manager but there was a large divide between maintenance and office workers, we were looked down on and not encouraged to mix.
Then I joined Accor. I have been offered jobs at other companies but I don’t want to leave Accor because I know I have a future here, with opportunities and training, and because of the people. Why would I want to go anywhere else?
- Ashley Staggs
- Maintenance Manager
- Novotel London Waterloo (United Kingdom)