In order to improve its excellence in customer satisfaction, Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok provided a unique approach that aimed to improve the well-being of its human resource. As the world leader in hospitality management, the hotel ensures that the highest level of customer service can be provided by the best-motivated people. The hotel established a special area, called the O-Zone, which consists of several relaxation facilities that can only be enjoyed by the staff (Marshall et al., 2015). The main assumption is that if the human resource’s well-being is maintained, they will be more motivated, committed, and loyal to the idea of stellar customer service.

This article will examine the unique approach of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to motivate its employees. The article will lay out the problem identification, the root causes, the possible alternatives, and recommendations on the plan of action. It will also state the importance and relevance of the case study to the overall business studies.

Problem Identification: the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Case Study

As a service-focused industry, the hospitality industry has always relied on the quality of its human resources. A comprehensive study of hotel managers has shown that human resources issues are at the top of the list of the most important issues for them (Enz, 2001). In the industry, human resources will determine whether a hotel will be able to provide the highest quality of customer service it wants to achieve. It is no different for Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

In this case study, the main problem to be solved is to improve the motivational aspect of human resources, with the assumption that a motivated workforce will lead to stellar customer service. The problem is intrinsic since it is about the motivation and well-being of the workers. Ultimately, the company aimed to gain a sustainable competitive advantage from its high-morale human resources.

Diagnosing the Causes of the Problem

The main causes of the problem are rooted in Herzberg’s motivational theory which pointed out two factors that influence job satisfaction, named hygiene factors and motivational factors (Laegaard & Bindslev, 2006). Hygiene factors refer to the extrinsic factors that determine sufficiency, where employees are satisfied with the job, or insufficiency, where employees are dissatisfied with the job (Senyucel, 2009). These factors include salary, status, work environment, job security, and the quality of the management. On the other hand, motivational factors are intrinsic factors that may differ between individuals (Senyucel, 2009). These factors include acknowledgment, a sense of development, and recognition. Herzberg argued that motivational factors will improve job satisfaction, but will not necessarily lead to dissatisfaction when it is absent.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel intends to improve the hygiene and motivational factors of its employees by providing a special relaxation area called the O-Zone. The area will include several facilities, such as a health zone, mind zone, dream zone, and a cafè. These facilities are all aimed to improve the well-being of the employees.

Evaluating the Response of Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Other Possible Alternatives

Mandarin Oriental’s response heavily relied on the assumption that employees with high job satisfaction will lead to them giving the highest customer satisfaction. While this assumption can be tested, it is important that this assumption also ignores several important variables, such as employees’ skills in each of their fields. Another alternative for the hotel is to provide an interactive coaching and mentoring system to maintain the employees’ skills based on what their job description requires them to do.

The hotel’s action to provide the O-Zone can be an effective way to improve employee appreciation and overall job satisfaction (Marshall et al., 2015). However, job satisfaction is not the end goal. The company should convert high job satisfaction into a high level of customer satisfaction. While the employee is motivated and committed, the company should complement the well-being program with a capacity development program

Recommendation on the Plan of Action

The hospitality industry should work together to create more appealing jobs, clearer career paths, and more impactful investments in training and coaching (Enz, 2009). Mandarin Oriental’s action to create the O-Zone should be appreciated as well as evaluated. The hotel created more appealing jobs where workers can also take care of their well-being. The company’s plan to improve job satisfaction is succeeded. It improves hygiene factors while also improving recognition and appreciation (Marshall et al., 2015). The O-Zone also provides a personal development area where employees can improve themselves.

The next plan of action would be to create a clearer career path and invest in impactful training and coaching. Having a highly motivated workforce is a great start. The company should go further to make them a clear sense of career development as well as the way to achieve it. For instance, in addition to the dream zone, the company can hold capacity-building programs. The HR department should also lay out a clear career path for the employees so that they are more determined in their attempt to achieve it as well as to provide great customer service.

Training and coaching can serve two purposes. It ensures the employees will have the necessary skill to provide the best customer experience. On the other hand, it also gives them a sense of personal development and the opportunity to improve. This program should be incorporated into the career path as the milestones so when they get the promotion, they would get the promotion they deserve as the long reward for their commitment to the job.

The Importance and Relevance of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Case Study

The study of job satisfaction is always relevant and important in overall business studies. It is related to various issues from job performance and operational excellence, to the high cost of employee attrition. In the hospitality industry, this issue is of utmost importance (Enz, 2009). In many other service industries, this human resource discourse is also important as they relied on their human resources in providing their service.

Even in general industry, the special area for the employees’ well-being is not a new discussion. Many offices provide such areas to improve their employees’ job satisfaction and ultimately, their job performance. This case study can be an example of how a company succeeded in gaining the employees’ appreciation and recognition, as well as improving their hygiene factors. Businesses can take an example of how far a company can move to ensure the well-being of the employees.


Enz, C. A. (2001). What keeps you up at night? Key issues of concern for lodging managers. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 42(2), 38-45.

Enz, C. A. (2009). Human resource management: A troubling issue for the global hotel industry. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 50(4), 578-583.

Laegaard,  J. & Bindslev, M. (2006). Organizational Theory.

Marshall, T., Mottier, E., & Lewis, R. (2015).  Motivational factors and the hospitality industry: A case study examining the effects of changes in the working environment. Journal of Business Case Studies, 11(3), 123-132.

Senyucel, Z. (2009). Managing the human resource in the 21st century.

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