By Louise Jobe

Fatou Mas Jobe-Njie

Hospitality Institute has hired the services of Fatou Mas Jobe-Njie to develop its first standard employee handbook for member hotels. The event took place on Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, at the GTHI office in Kanifing.

The main objective of publishing a standard handbook is to ensure that all employees are protected according to the Labour Laws of The Gambia.

Madam Fatou Mass Jobe Njie in her opening remarks indicated that the handbook could not have been developed without the collaboration of the dynamic team at the Department of Labour and Mrs. Haddy Danaeh Jabie, Legal and Dispute Resolution Practitioner; that the handbook was designed to acquaint employees of GHA member hotels with detail information regarding work conditions, employee benefits and other issues affecting their employment. She said they went beyond the scope of traditional employee handbooks, by introducing new topics, such as the unique selling proposition of destination Gambia, as the smiling coast of Africa; that this is what the Gambia Hotel Association is all about and needs to create a positive customer experience in the hospitality industry.

Madam Njie said it is important for employees of member hotels to appreciate the fact that when they provide traditional customer service, they are only meeting customers’ expectations competently and this is sometimes as quick as possible; that however, when they provide exceptional customer service, they exceed their customers’ expectations and demonstrate that the hotel cares; that this way, they work with immediacy and decisively on the customer’s behalf.

She concluded that the ultimate goal is to ensure that the handbook is a living and breathing document for all employees.

Mr. Malick Sallah, the Chairman of The Gambia Hotel Association, in his opening remarks, said hotels are the largest employers in the tourism sector; that being the biggest employer comes with serious responsibilities.

Mr. Sallah said there is an understanding that is outlined in a contract and both parties have to acknowledge and make sure that the contract they agreed to, has a social order between the employees and the employer.

‘‘Labour issues have become major issues in the sector. There are lots of challenging issues and I think this is an initiative that will go very far in making sure that when a hotel employs, we start with the right underlined principles of the handbook so that everyone understands,’’ he said.

The Gambia Hotel association is starting from a springboard where there are lots of issues that should be made clear between the employee and the employer. Tourism is taking the lead in the economy of the country and tourism has the potential to double the employment of the youth.

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