Seeing STARS

BON Blog - Seeing STARS

I am learning that to successfully build any business, it is best to nurture your own people, instil your own systems and develop your own culture.

Inheriting corporate cultures which practice other management styles is occasionally unavoidable, but first prize for us at BON Hotels is to grow our own people. So, instead of spending money on recruitment, we have decided to rise up our gems of BON staff into management and department heads.

We all know that in the hotel business you can sign on two hotels in one week! When that happens, at the drop of a hat you need top staff and management to be mobilised, to move in and fill important positions.

To this end, we initiated The BON STARS programme, a baby formed from the brains and hearts of our HR department and EXCO members. Our BON STARS programme is designed to accelerate staff members who are showing potential and excelling in their positions, people who stand out as passionate and eager, people who are made for hospitality. This is evident by the success they are making of their current position.

But….we don’t stop there. Once we have identified a STAR, we hook them up with a mentor from our EXCO, the likes of Otto Stehlik and Bernard Cassar, seasoned hoteliers whose job it is to grow these gems. They then meet up regularly and talk about their aspirations, challenges and ideas. We make these STARS aware of other hotels which are making a mark and the STARS are invited to attend EXCO and drive their hotels’ management meetings.

BON STARS is an amazing project to be part of. The result? Our STARS are standing up to the plate. They know they are next in line, they are aware of projects on the go and they apply themselves – with the assistance of their mentors – to be the best they can be. We have soon-to-be general managers and heads of department waiting in the wings, and better yet, learning from the best.

Let’s face it, the job-for-life concept is long gone. Very seldom do employees hang in there to get the gold watch award for 30 years of service. Youngsters these days are more likely to job hop or jump ship for what may seem like a better offer. We have realised that if you don’t mentor your team, you will fall victim to the revolving door.

In the words of Richard Branson, a true doyen of company culture: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to”.


Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels
Chief Executive Officer

Having grown up in the corridors and reception areas of Cape Town hotels, Guy Stehlik is no stranger to the hospitality industry.


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