Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) completed its strategic plan Aug. 1, 2019. In collaboration with external consultants Hanbury Evans and Envision and various stakeholders, RHS created a plan that worked to reevaluate divisional goals and strategies to deliver the best possible service to the university. This plan is an important tool used by the Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore to highlight divisional plans and explain how the department aims to evolve its approach to service and guest interactions.
Evaluating service was a very important piece to the process. In the past, the RHS strategic plan had been more focused on ways to transform areas of the division. This year however, there was much more focus on staff development to make sure that not only student and guest needs are fulfilled but that their expectations are exceeded.
"We focused on how we treat our people and how we treat the guest and worked on making it more about that Spartan experience and how we can elevate that," said Gina Keilen, project manager for the strategic plan. "So through the customer journey, it's how we interact with them, the services we provide for them and how we're able to do that in a positive way. We also focused on staff development; looking to help people both internally and externally."
Now that all formal documentation has been submitted, each department within RHS has begun stages of implementation of the plan. Implementation managers have been chosen to make sure the plan is realized. This ensures that goals are being met accordingly and adds an element of guidance and accountability through regular updates and check-ins.
"We talked a lot about the progression of staff, succession planning, and building our skills and training programs," said Keilen. "We wanted to build that network."
Each department also introduced sections that support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals for the department.
"[DEI] was interwoven into each department," said Keilen. "So if you look at Culinary, we're talking about increasing the diversity of food, diversity of staff and a full general DEI section. Every unit talked about [DEI] being important to them, so it was a large part of the process."
Keilen said that the focus on DEI also caused the team to look at overall RHS goals and to make sure that those goals align with current needs. The team is also working to ensure each department in the division has properly evaluated their actions and programs to make sure they align with the overall vision for the division.
The RHS strategic plan will serve as a guidebook to help structure training and staff development for all units. The ultimate goal is for the division to support Spartans, both internally and externally, to the best of its abilities.