What Dirty Dishes Can Tell You About Character

Posted 09-09-15 by In Hospitality Talent,Our Graduates

One King West Hotel and Residence calls itself “a hotel to call home.” Of course this refers to guests’ feeling of comfort in the hotels friendly yet luxurious atmosphere that is clear from the moment one steps into the lobby.

But how does One King West create this feeling at every touchpoint? One strategy that Meaghan Joyce is proud to share is to hire from The Hospitality Workers Training Centre.

Meaghan hired Sally as Night Auditor after she completed her HWTC week-long training shifts. The night auditor role is unique in that it involves handling both the overnight duties of the front desk agent and some accounting responsibilities. It’s a role that both Meaghan and HWTC trainers thought Sally would be be perfect for.

When a kitchen steward at the hotel let Sally know he was ill and unable to finish cleaning the night’s dirty dishes, Sally had, what Meaghan refers to as a “wow moment.” Sally finished her night auditor shift and then made her way to the kitchen to finish-up the dishes that remained.


In Meaghan’s estimation, if One King West is a “hotel to call home,” then Associates should see themselves as members of a family who have each other’s backs and not as individuals who work in silos. By extension, Associates think about the hotel like one might think about their own home; where there’s an authentic investment in how it looks and feels, for everyone.

By going the extra mile and thinking about her other team members Sally demonstrated the kind of character that’s not easy to come by.  But, as Meaghan says, “it’s exactly what we’re looking for in Associates.”

Is HWTC’s training program able to “teach” character like Sally demonstrated by supporting her co-worker in his hour of need? As any Hospitality professional will tell you, character is nearly impossible to train for. That’s why HR professionals like Meaghan hire for character and teach skills.

However, Meagan believes that HWTC’s training created the context for success in two important ways:

  • Screening Process: HWTC’s screening process helps shine a light on individuals with the kind of character traits that are most essential for success in Hospitality. Our trainers, like Margaret Readings and Ann-Marie Noriega, are industry veterans who know what to look for in candidates. Behavioural interviews help identify traits like teamwork, empathy, commitment and enthusiasm:

“Because I can trust their process, HWTC saves me the time and resources I would need to invest to find candidates with the traits we seek in new hires. Time and again, I see HWTC trainees with a special spark. These are the unique character traits, that I know will make them really successful in this industry.”

  • Training: It’s true, you can’t train for character. But, Meaghan believes that HWTC training includes a “special sauce” that makes a big difference in how Associates approach their work:

“HWTC doesn’t provide a ‘textbook’ version of Hospitality training. They help new entrants understand the real challenges and expectations they’re going to experience when they start their careers. From the start, candidates are thinking about the ‘whys’ of their job which empowers them improve to processes and think beyond the silo of their role or job description”

After Sally’s “just wow” moment, accolades for her demonstration of character flooded email inboxes across the property and culminated in Sally receiving a coveted gold key; a symbol of excellence in Hospitality service. It was clear to Meaghan, however, that Sally wasn’t after praise or acknowledgement, she was just doing what she sees as her job.

2 responses to “What Dirty Dishes Can Tell You About Character”

  1. Monica Kearley says:

    Well done Sally this is only one of your wonderful talents.You are also a sample of a true Newfoundlander !

  2. Lori Vokey says:

    Way to go Sally, good on you! You’ve always been one to go over and above to help another, and that’s only part of why I value your friendship so much! Love you girl, kudos!!!

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