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A property associated with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, an O.C. Tanner client
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How does a luxury hotel staff create memorable moments for guests from Vancouver to Quebec City?

One word: celebration. For decades, employee recognition has been at the core of Fairmont’s worldwide culture of customer service. By sharing stories of colleagues who deliver great experiences for guests, and rewarding employees for extraordinary customer service, Fairmont makes sure every guest, in every hotel, feels valued, pampered, and appreciated—and the Fairmont “Colleagues” who create those experiences feel the same way.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is now part of AccorHotels, a large, global luxury hotel brand. The brand still boasts over 70 properties in 23 countries, including some of the most iconic resort hotels in the world. Highlights include Banff Springs in Banff National Park, the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, the St. Andrews Bay golf resort in Scotland, the Savoy in London, and the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Kenya. All over the world, the Fairmont name is synonymous with memorable travel experiences. Fairmont colleagues create those experiences fueled by employee recognition.

Journey to recognition

Two decades ago, Fairmont engaged O.C. Tanner to create a recognition program for its Canadian luxury hotels. From the beginning, colleague-driven committees would choose employees of the month (and leaders of the quarter and the year) to drive a culture of recognition on each property. O.C. Tanner provided solution design, manager training, awards, plaques, pins, “Bravo-grams,” presentation materials, and more. For the past 20 years, recognition at Fairmont has expanded in both award diversity and global footprint. Today, celebrations from Bali to Dubai help Fairmont maintain a worldwide focus on stellar customer service.

In 2007, Fairmont launched a new brand promise, “Turning moments into memories for our guests.” To keep that promise front and center, Fairmont’s message to employees who delight customers is, “You turn moments into memories for our guests, now let us turn moments into memories for you.”


“Global recognition unifies us. Our program gets better and better every year. It’s truly become a part of our culture.” – CAROLYN CLARK, SVP, TALENT & CULTURE, NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICA


Benefits of partnering with o.C. Tanner

“We value O.C. Tanner most for their thought leadership,” says Carolyn Clark, Senior VP, Talent & Culture, North & Central America. “Their long-term partnership has helped us define our worldwide recognition program and train our leaders.” A hospitality-centric version of O.C. Tanner’s web-based eLearning teaches every Fairmont manager the importance of meaningful employee recognition. Leaders learn how to prepare presentations, how to recognise, and most importantly, when to recognise their colleagues. The goal is to have every new leader trained within their first 90 days on the job. Leaders learn to look for employees who live the Fairmont service promise: to understand, engage, anticipate, and deliver on guest expectations. “In the past 3 1/2 years,” says Carolyn “over 4000 Fairmont leaders have become recognition champions around the world. It’s been extremely successful.”

Stories and photos from these events then get shared, liked, and commented on via Fairmont’s own worldwide internal social network. Carolyn is quick to point out that cross-culturally, the pictures communicate even more than the words. “The celebrations unite us all,” she says.

Key lessons

• Recognition can help employees learn to live brand values by telling stories of success.

• Recognition is often even more impactful outside of North America.

• Constant improvement is key. Seek a recognition partner. Not just a provider.

• Training makes all the difference. Well-trained leaders make recognition happen.

• Leaders should receive recognition training as part of the onboarding process.

• It’s important to share stories that unite cultures across continents and geographies.

Results delivered for fairmont hotels

• 2016 J.D. Power President’s award. Only the 13th company in history to receive this award—and the first in the hospitality industry.

• 98% score on employee engagement surveys

• 2012 Gallup Great Workplace award

• 98th percentile in IBM Kenexa database

• 98% of colleagues want to continue with every part of the global recognition solution.

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