The Need for Engagement and “Enlightened Hospitality”

Regardless of where you stand on the results of the recent presidential election, employee engagement has been affected by post-election uncertainty.

That’s why Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, has encouraged employees to re-focus on the company’s mission and culture of “Enlightened Hospitality.” Following are excerpts from his recent letter to USHG employees:

“… we have both a responsibility and a powerful opportunity to lead with our strongest suit: hospitality. The root of the word hospitality is hope, and hope is optimistic. I need each one of you to remember this: that every single person who chooses to dine at one of our restaurants – or anywhere we serve food, is primarily paying us to deliver the four gifts we are capable of doing better and more consistently well than anyone else:

1. Eye Contact – let people know you see them!

2. Smile – let people know you are happy to see them!

3. Hug – let people know that in making them feel good, you feel good!

4. Good food – give them the pleasure they came for!

Give those gifts with abandon, and we will show one another, and our guests why we are champions. It always works.

Enlightened Hospitality works and over the course of our company’s history, whenever we have been tested by challenges, whenever our world has been rocked, and times are uncertain – we have turned to what we know and do best: first taking care of ourselves, so that we can do a remarkable job at taking care of others. I’m holding myself accountable to that, and need you to do the same. And that begins with listening.

… What a privilege we have to be a company that provides tables at which people can break bread, communicate their feelings, be heard, and advance what is best about being human!”

Reinforcing employees’ connection to a meaningful purpose and a culture that thrives on serving others — that’s what I call enlightened and engaging leadership.

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