Catch people doing ‘right’:

Sumaya Ismail Benchmarking success

Affording people the opportunity to be great is founded on the principle of trust

Investors in People South Africa | City Lodge Hotel GroupMarcel Kobilski, Divisional Director of Human Resources at City Lodge Hotel Group, finds himself where he is today as a result of a few key events: a diploma course at a hotel school in Johannesburg paved the way for a career in the hospitality industry, and a foot in the CLHG doors as a General Manager. Like many other Investors in People organisations, however, City Lodge knew then the value of affording people the opportunities to grow and develop – Marcel’s opportunity to grow within the company is now being paid forward, through a model he calls “catching people doing right”, allowing people to develop through creating relationships based on trust.


“The best part about what I do, and I think I speak for my whole department, is developing people”

At City Lodge, the implementation of good people practices is a key driving factor in the development process, and motivating people to achieve is at the centre of organisational success:

“People are motivated to achieve when they understand their role and purpose within an organisation,” says Marcel. “Anyone joining our company knows, from the day they join, what they have to do. And (we know) what our responsibilities are in terms of getting them to where their ultimate potential lies.”

Having had no HR systems in place prior to working with the Investors in People framework, City Lodge now acknowledges the value of adopting a holistic approach to developing people; implementing leadership drivers aimed at skills development and an environment where shared values, purpose and vision form the basis of effective team-building have led to what Marcel considers “a benchmark as a best employer”.


“Employee engagement is what we most achieved out of Investors in People”

An engaged workforce is vital to business success, and, while City Lodge prepares for their IiP review in the months to come, Marcel maintains that high performance and engagement were best achieved “by constantly measuring people’s performance, whether formally or informally, by attaching rewards to performance and by ongoing Learning and Development”.


“We have reached a benchmark as a best employer”

Creating an atmosphere of constant growth, where people realise the value of contributing toward their own development, makes for a great working environment. “We get it right because people understand the benefits of working for us.”  He reiterates the importance of understanding one’s purpose within an organisation, rewarding the “superstars” for their contributions through opportunities for further development.

Similarly, people are motivated to a certain extent by their understanding of the consequences of non-performance. The practices in place at City Lodge ensure that people are provided with the resources to achieve from the get-go: “We ensure that management is constantly monitoring and giving feedback to their staff, which in turn ensures that people know what value they are adding.”


“I would place Investors in People and all the other (accreditations/recognitions) in separate categories”

Investors in People offers a framework for improvement that is unmatched by any other Standard on the market – and the contrasts are stark in comparison:

“For me, Investors in People helps to achieve business objectives through people, while the HR Standard, for example, aids in achieving people objectives through business. In that way, Investors in People is a lot easier to present to directors, who tend to be less receptive to implementing practices where the focus is not on business objectives – which is not to say they don’t see the value in developing people for betterment.”

“I would place others, such as Top Employer and Deloitte’s Best Company to Work for, in a second category… these are less about sustained outcomes and improvement for business… It’s more of a checklist process.”

Developing people is not an isolated aspect of any organisation’s practices, but is at the centre of achieving all other business objectives. Added to its bottom-line impact, a focus on people development gives organisations the edge over competitors, allowing those organisations to benchmark improvements and successes on a grander, broader scale. It’s a concept found at the very core of the Investors in People framework and, certainly, at the heart of City Lodge’s success as a bronze-accredited organisation.

Congratulations to City Lodge Hotel Group on maintaining their Investors in People Bronze accreditation and continued excellence as of December 2014.