my employee sent a memo to management about ghosts in the building

A reader writes:

I’m a relatively new manager and some of my inherited employees have, well, pretty questionable judgment that I’ve been trying to address since I started. They’ve made some odd decisions in the past, and as their boss, I’ve had to deal with the fall-out, but I’m slowly training them towards a better understanding of what I actually need from them.

We are in the hospitality industry, and my department is on scheduled shift-work to cover a reception desk, among other duties. A new CEO started taking over right around the same time I was promoted, and she is making a lot of changes to how we document particular things. She has requested that my department prepare a daily report regarding any significant issues that occur in the building over the course of each shift, such as maintenance problems or emergency calls, either medical/police, or for repairs such as plumbing.

I’ve had some trouble communicating with my staff what exactly they need to put in this report (which gets sent to my boss, my boss’ boss, the CEO, and the owner), that small things like regular old incandescent light bulbs being out in the lobby floor lamps do not need to be detailed here, and that it’s fine to just write “no issues today, everything went well.” We’ve been doing the report for just over two months now, and although we had a rocky start I really thought we had gotten this particular new duty down as part of our routine.

Well … Monday morning I came in to work and was greeted by my boss, when he asked to have a quick chat about the all-staff memo that went out Sunday afternoon. Apparently the staff member who works weekend mornings sent out an email that included several things that did not belong on her shift report, including that the department was out of printer paper and staples, and that the desk calculator was starting to break. I’ve already addressed these things — clarifying that office supply requests should be directed to me, or to any of the managers on duty when I am not in the office, and that this sort of thing doesn’t belong on an incident report. I was stumped, however, on how to address the other thing that was included:

Apparently multiple guests asked her “if we have had any reports of ghosts,” and she thought that this was a reasonable thing to mention on her daily report! She didn’t just mention it, actually — she went into full detail about what the guests told her. According to her long paragraph describing the incident, multiple people claimed to see “a shadow of a silhouette outside [the door],” “including children” so “they don’t think it was because they had too much to drink.” This was in a section labeled “Issues to be Addressed”!

I’m really blindsided by the level of judgment that was shown in thinking that she should put this on a report that went to not only her grandboss, but to the owner of the entire company. Belief in the supernatural aside, surely she should have realized that guests asking about rumors of a haunted old building wasn’t exactly an actionable complaint that needed to be elevated to management?

I have already prepared a note to her about this (she doesn’t work until Saturday). In it I stressed that although I do think she should report serious issues with guests such as (repeated) complaints about food or cleanliness, there are some things that guests will bring to her that don’t need to be reported to the entirety of upper management. I used several examples, not just this incident, but I did conclude with telling her that ghost stories probably fall into the latter category.

But I have to know — am I being the stereotypical skeptic jerk here? It’s not even that I 100% don’t believe in ghosts (I certainly lean skeptic but I’m willing to be convinced!). I just think that maybe paranormal rumors in the context of a workplace need, I don’t know, a less credulous approach if you feel the need to mention them to your bosses? Do I need to take into account that some people’s beliefs in this sort of thing are very sincere and border on a spiritual/religious view?

I was eager to hear more and wrote back to this letter-writer and asked, “I’m so curious — is your building rumored to be haunted, or this just all come out of the blue? And why so many reports on this one weekend and never previously? I am dying to hear more.” Her response:

It’s an old building, originally built in 1925. We have overnight staff, and some of the employees who don’t work third shift say they wouldn’t want to be alone in building this big and old, but I think it’s just a general sentiment because giant dark empty ballrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto more darkness are creepy as hell to walk through, ghosts or no ghosts!

I’ve absolutely never heard of any ghost stories involving us in particular, and this is in a town that was incorporated in the 1600s and has tons and tons of local ghost stories. I feel pretty confident in saying there’s no rumors of the sort among our client base and I’m fairly sure the employee who made the report hadn’t heard anything either. It seems to me like the guests just experienced what some employees (and I myself) have experienced in the past — a hundred-year-old building on a windy February night, a dimly lit hallway, and the adrenaline of just having left a big party, all adding up to a spooky experience. And then my employee took their spooky tale of their spooky experience very sincerely.

As for why so many reports? I honestly couldn’t tell you. We’re in our winter slow season so there’s plenty of contractors in and out of the building to report on and not much else — I imagine this is the first Weird Guest Thing she’s had to deal with since we started doing these daily shift reports, and hasn’t had a chance to exercise her judgement in passing on things that guests say to her? I don’t know! Her reports have been pretty much what I’m looking for since the beginning of the year — this is a pretty sudden bombardment of bad judgement!

Okay. Fascinating.

So no, I do not think you’re being a jerk here, and you are absolutely right that she needs to take a less credulous approach in a memo that’s going to her boss, her boss’s boss, her boss’s boss’s boss, the CEO, and the owner. And that’s true even if she has a religious/spiritual belief in ghosts.

I suppose it’s possible that she figured that if multiple guests were asking about ghosts, it’s enough of a thing that the facility might want to have an official response to give out in the future. And maybe that’s what she meant by listing it under “Issues to be Addressed” — not that some kind of paranormal investigation was warranted. But if so, she should have been clearer — and it still probably didn’t belong in this particular report!

I know you already left her a note, but that’s a limited, one-sided way of communicating. I’d also sit down and talk with her in person the next time you’re both in at the same time. By doing that, you’ll get a better feel for how she’s taking your feedback, and whether she gets why this was odd to do. If this is a sign of a broader issue with her judgment, a corrective note won’t fix it — so you need to have a real conversation to know if there’s a bigger problem here or not. Depending on how that conversation goes, you might come away feeling reassured that this was a fluke … or you might come away with more concerns about her judgment.

The thing is, as amusing as I find this, it’s happening in the context of you already having concerns about your team’s judgment, and there’s been a pattern of them making bad decisions and causing fall-out for you. Given that backdrop, this may be another flag that you do have serious judgment problems on your staff and need to figure out what you’re going to do about that. Judgment is a hard thing to train people on, particularly in the amount of time that you as a manager will generally have available to invest. So that leaves you either needing to monitor people far more closely than you’ve been doing (and probably more closely than you can), or considering whether you might need different people on your team. I’m not saying that you should fire your employee over this ghost report — I don’t think that. But it does sound like you’ve had a lot of signs that things aren’t running the way you want them to run, and you can’t let that go on indefinitely. If you’re seeing significant improvement from your coaching, then that’s great — but if it’s slow going (and it sounds like it might be), at some point soon you might need to change course.

{ 476 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Helpful

    Ghosts aside, I think these reports need to be clarified for your staff. Detail them precisely what needs to be included and what does not. It’s clear that you’re not getting the correct level of information from multiple people, which is a training issue, in my opinion. They may be approaching documentation as a summary or as a CYA but it’s clear that they aren’t sure what to include.

    Reply
    1. Starzanne Stripes

      Yeah, if I had multiple people reporting ANY issue to me, I’d probably include it in the report. If you’ve got a lot of contractors in and out of the building, people could be seeing them in places where they ought not be and it could be a safety issue.

      Reply
      1. please

        Yes. Include it in the report, but not as something you believe, but to give a heads up. It’s possible there is someone hiding in the building or something wrong with the building that is causing multiple people to think this. That is worth reporting – and if not to the higher up, then at least to the OP.

        Reply
        1. Triple Anon

          That was my take on it too. It is worth mentioning to someone, though I guess not in the report. Beliefs aside, if you run a business and you’re getting the same feedback from multiple people, you have to address it somehow.

          Reply
        2. Wintermute

          +1

          Not because I beleive in ghosts but because if multiple guests started mentioning seeing or hearing ghosts to me I’d check my carbon monoxide detectors and schedule an exterminator pronto.

          Reply
      2. CmdrShepard4ever

        If I were the OP’s employee and had multiple guests ask about/report ghosts I would probably include it in the report. Not as a we need to get a psychic or call ghostbusters, but more of this is a weird incident that happened multiple times and someone higher up should know. Does management want to encourage the ghost idea it is very lucrative for some businesses or do we want to play it down. Also it might even be unsupervised kids running loose in the hotel trying to prank people. This seems like an “issue” that management might want to keep an eye on.

        Reply
          1. Chinook

            Exactly. Whether or not it is a ghost is irrelevant. The issue is that multiple guests have reported an issue that either needs to be explored and a blanket response needs to be created by the higher ups so that consistent messaging can be given in response to the issue. If there is a known issue that creates spooky shadows and noises under certain conditions, then staff need to be made aware so they can respond to visitors accordingly.

            Now, as a skeptical believer in ghosts (as in not all incidents are ghosts but they do exist), there is nothing stopping one from popping into existence recently if something tragic had happened recently in the area.

            Reply
          2. Falling Diphthong

            I mean, every Scooby Doo episode ever. Don’t ignore repeated reports of ghosts–someone is probably tunneling into a safe somewhere, and dressing as a yeti on transparent skis to keep people from looking too close.

            Reply
                1. Liles

                  And an iconic reddit thread where a guy thought someone was breaking into his house leaving him notes, but they were really written by himself when he was under the influence of carbon monoxide.

        1. Letter Writer

          I honestly would not have minded if she had reported the issue differently! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone saying, ‘hey, we had like seven guests ask if we had ghosts in the building. Can we check if there might be something going on behind that? Regardless, thought you should know that this came up’.

          The tone of her report was definitely not what I wanted to see, though. I noted lower down in the comments in my first reply to the main post that another manager told me that my employee had “been pretty freaked out”. I really got the impression from her report and talking to her in person that she truly thought everyone would want to be informed that we are Possibly Haunted and it is Very Scary.

          Reply
          1. NewJobWendy

            As a former front desk supervisor, it sounds like a sit down is really needed. If this employee only works weekends, the part about staples and the desk calculator could also be a lack of management face time. Sometimes as the weekend or night shift workers, it’s difficult to feel like you’re being heard. For example, is office supplies are locked up at night, it can be a big deal if the desk is left poorly stocked, and if it’s happening repeatedly, I can imagine using the shift report (or whatever you’re calling it) as an way to draw attention to an issue. An inappropriate way, for sure, but when you go literally months without having a face to face interaction with your manager or supervisor, you can start to get desperate.

            These kinds of daily shift reports are pretty common in hospitality though, so I empathize with your struggle.

            Reply
            1. Jen S. 2.0

              Agree with the need for sit down. I have read several conversations about the challenges of having a meeting when you could have accomplished what you needed to do with a memo, or sending out a memo when you really need a meeting. It sounds like there needs to be some face-to-face work on developing this report, including role-playing, decision trees, very specific examples, templates, and serious discussions to get everyone on the same page.

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          2. NewJobWendy

            ” she truly thought everyone would want to be informed that we are Possibly Haunted and it is Very Scary.” I had a front desk employee who 100% believed in ghosts, so I get this. I also had a guest ask – with 100% sincerity – that we assign her a room that “is not haunted.” People are strange. Glad your management saw the humor in the situation.

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          3. SallytooShort

            So, the problem isn’t with judgment but tone. And since there were paying guests who thought the place was haunted I don’t think just laughing at this is reasonable. Even if it is objectively silly it’s an objectively silly problem with root in guest satisfaction.

            You mention that these are minimum wage employees. Do you think your expectations are on par with their level of employment?

            Reply
            1. Positive Reframer

              That last point is a really good one. That level of employee probably shouldn’t have direct access to the CEO and owner in most cases. Could the OP maybe advocate for the reports to be filtered through her? I do think there is value in the highest levels of management knowing what is going on at the lowest levels but this might not be the best way.

              Reply
              1. ouinne

                Yeah the report needs to be filtered prior to going to all the levels of management. There’s no reason for this kind of shift log to roll all the way up to the CEO.

                Definitely clarify what does and doesn’t belong on the report, but they should still not be sending the report out without someone giving it the once-over first.

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            2. Elise

              This was my thought exactly. These employees may not have the understanding of what is appropriate to report to the upper levels of management. Why not have them send LW the report, which they can then review and edit/wordsmith as needed for management to see? Then those small things wouldn’t be a big deal and you can hear about them and take care of them.

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            3. Not So NewReader

              Totally agree. OP could compile the reports and give the CEO the Condensed Version.

              A kind of different setting, I was writing reports and the recipients made an extra effort to stop by
              and tell me how useful the reports were. The next thing that happened was my boss decided my reports were “nutty” and no one could write reports anymore.

              My point is do the big bosses appreciate the reports as they are or do they express disappointment? I can’t tell if OP is just embarrassed over this or if the reports are not filling a need.

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            4. Wintermute

              +1000!

              You’re paying a non-living wage, what do you really expect? Once I asked my boss, after a frustrating incident where I was asked to train someone who was on drugs whom he had hired off the side of the road because he was holding a “will work for food” sign and my boss wanted to prove a point about how disposable we are, why he didn’t drug test or do background checks. “Wintermute, you’re a good worker, I’m not sure how we got you, they won’t let me start anyone over 8.25 an hour, anyone under 40 I’d ever hire couldn’t pass a drug test, and no one over 40 could ever pass a background check. I have to take people that are willing to work for what they will let me pay you guys. They don’t pay much and I don’t get much to work with.”

              for minimum wage you can expect literacy, mostly… functional literacy at least. You cannot expect sound business judgement or ability to communicate with C-level executives. Because people that have those skills don’t work for a poverty wage.

              Reply
              1. Anna

                “Prove a point about how disposable we are” sounds very degrading. And he’s saying that all poor people in desperate need of employment are drug addicts and/or criminals. Except you, apparently? I’m not clear on whether you are also working for a poverty wage, and/or whether you agree with his prejudice toward poor people.

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                1. Wintermute

                  I was earning the same wage. I don’t think it was prejudice, per se, I was one of two people on the team without a criminal record or a drug problem, but that’s what you get when you are hiring for undesireable work (outdoors, in the elements, 6-days-a-week) at poverty wages: you don’t get the best employees for poverty wages for really cruddy working conditions.

                  It wasn’t a value statement, it was an objective fact about the team I was on that 80% had drug problems or criminal records and those were the kind of people answering his ads. I took it because I was desperate, I guess all of us were, for various reasons.

                  A better way to say it would probably be “paying wages only a desperate person would take gets you only desperate people”, whether that’s people that need a job NOW and can’t afford to wait for something better, people no one else will hire, people that can’t pass a drug screen and won’t quit long enough to be able to, people with serious debts that need money fast.

          4. Not a general of any sort

            Excuse me, but in your letter to AAM, you did NOT say, “my employee reported that there were ghosts in the building.” You DID say, “my employee says several guests reported ghosts in the building.”

            Without getting into semantics, multiple guests reported an out-of-the-ordinary problem that you need to know about. I don’t know that it’s feasible to ask minimum wage employees on the night shift to search for le mot juste in daily activity reports.

            FWIW: I don’t believe in ghosts; I once stayed in a “haunted” hotel in Charleston, SC, and saw nary a thing. I friend, quite level-headed, who stayed in the same hotel later on reported seeing the ghost of a confederate general!

            Reply
        2. KM

          This. Depending what the “symptoms” are, multiple guests reporting ghosts could mean there’s someone wandering around the hotel who shouldn’t be there, or there are rats, or all kinds of things. I actually think the responsible thing to do is tell everyone in case there are more weird occurrences later. If it turns out to be nothing, no big deal. But if it turns out there’s actually something weird happening, you want to be aware to keep an eye out for it.

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      3. Hey Nonnie

        This was where my thoughts went. Multiple people reported seeing the same thing, and it was a human or human-like figure. I wouldn’t report it as “ghosts” but I’d sure note that guests were seeing a person where a person didn’t belong. Maybe it was staff, and maybe it wasn’t, but I at least would want to investigate whether it was someone trying to break in (or succeeding at it) where they shouldn’t be. At the very least investigate whether better security coverage of that area was warranted.

        I got very creeped out by the way it was described.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          We have seen a few stories of people actually living in malls and so on for long periods of time before being discovered.

          Reply
        2. Jane of all Trades

          Completely agree – several people came to this employee and reported seeing a ghost that looked like the shadow of a person? I’d be freaked out too, because I’d be thinking that there is a person wandering through the building and for whatever reason the guests thought it was a ghost. Since several people did see something there was probably something going on in the building.
          LW, it seems that you were embarrassed that a report went to all the bosses which was not written as professionally as you’d have liked. As others have suggested, why not have the report sent to you and you can edit as need be? It doesn’t sound like these employees were hired with the expectation that they would be producing written material of a certain quality. But I personally wouldn’t tell the employee not to report this incident in the future – several people reporting something like this seems like something that should be checked out. Finally – do you have a brief summary printout at the front desk that your staff can refer to of what they should / shouldn’t include? That may help. Similarly, do you have a procedure weekend employees can use to flag items such as a broken calculator since it seems like they don’t see you on a regular basis?

          Reply
      4. That Would Be a Good Band Name

        I’m leaning heavily towards the “ghosts” were appropriate to report. Multiple people saw or heard *something*. Maybe ghosts, probably not. I’d love for a ghost story to be true, but more likely someone may have been somewhere in the building they shouldn’t have been.

        Reply
        1. Stormfeather

          Yeah, I’m coming up with much the same idea. Maaaybe it shouldn’t have been in this specific report, but certainly should have been reported ASAP and strongly to the OP at the very least, because what it boils down to is “people where they shouldn’t be” (inside their rooms? I’m not sure, it’s not very clear) so presumably either a) a prank being played, b) some sort of criminal activity (someone stealing from the rooms or what have you), or… I don’t know what else.

          But at any rate, it certainly should be looked into! For all we know, all the “ghost story” people simply chose the same way to frame a “I think someone is doing something wrong” discussion without bluntly accusing the business of wrongdoing.

          Reply
          1. Wintermute

            as people have mentioned, at the very least auditory hallucinations and seeing shapes can by symptoms of a gas leak or carbon monoxide, so yeah 120% something that needs to be reported.

            It could be criminal activity, it could be employees being sneaky it could be poisonous gas, it could be a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

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        2. Nonnon

          I’m actually a bit interested in mundane explanations for ghost/monster sightings. Most of them tend to be “I saw a person harmlessly wandering around/heard a weird but mundane noise and I have an over-active imagination” but there have been cases where the “ghost” turned out to be carbon monoxide poisoning, or the people who reported blood coming out of their taps, which turned out that their neighbourhood was next to a slaughterhouse and had some major plumbing issues. So definitely report any “occult” happenings, but don’t attribute them to the occult.

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          1. Betsy

            I woke up a few times to my bedside lamp switching itself on, not fully on, but just lit up with a weird ghostly glow.

            After this happened a few times, I finally realised that the mundane explanation was that my phone (which probably had legitimate reasons to be lighting up, like a text message or something like that) was located below the lamp, but in a position where it was reflecting up into the lamp, and it was bouncing off in a way that made it look exactly like an eerie ghost lamp was switching itself on and off.

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        3. Not So NewReader

          Ghosts are an entire industry. I have seen museums talk about their ghosts to help drive up foot traffic and increase revenues.
          There are plenty of hotels and B and Bs that use a similar technique. It works. Management may decide to use this.

          OP I think you need to consider what the bigger issue is that you have with your people. I don’t think disregarding their ghost stories is going to help you to get where you want to be.

          I worked in one place where management totally ignored the complaints about strange things happening. This went on for years. As time went on the rumor mill went out of control. Most employees were convinced the store was built on top of a cemetery. (NOT something the company would want said publicly.) Finally the rumor mill decided that the place was jinxed somehow. Things just went wrong all the time. Which will happen when employees feel that they are not being heard and management blows off their concerns. Management went running from one major problem to another with no hope of being in control of the store. Employees’ faith in management was totally gone. It was a hot mess. New staff could not be brought in because all 100 employees could not be replaced at the same time, so old staff infected new staff and the cycle went on.

          Reply
        4. Arcadia

          That was my first thought – this could have been a real person creeping around, why wouldn’t someone report it?? I think the LW misunderstood the report – I would have reported it too, but as “possible sighting of a trespasser in the hotel.”

          Reply
      5. Ego Chamber

        “if I had multiple people reporting ANY issue to me, I’d probably include it in the report.”

        Especially if the instruction on what to include in the report was unclear, and even more especially if the people who reported it wanted to make “an official report/complaint” and/or said some variation of “the owner needs to do something about this!” and there’s no standard line from management on how to handle it.

        Tl;dr: This process needs more training. Maybe taking a few of the reports that have been submitted, and then editing them into what they “should” look like, and then discussing the differences with the employees would help?

        Reply
    2. Snark

      It does sound like this person has been informed that minor issues with supplies don’t belong on the report and have ignored that, so I think it really needs to be emphasized that this report is not for that stuff.

      Reply
    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      I originally had a whole section in my answer about how to better train people to do these reports, but it actually sounds like the OP may have done extensive training and some of her staff … just aren’t great. I’m not sure about that — it’s possible that she’s just telling people what not to do as things come up case by case (which is definitely not the way to train them!), but I’m struck by her discussion of the ongoing judgment problems she’s seeing there. I have a strong suspicion that, like many managers, especially new ones, she’s stuck in the mode of “I’ll just keep training and coaching … forever” when she might need to switch to a different approach (of figuring out once and for all if she has the right people on her staff).

      Reply
      1. Uni Librarian

        Well, what I don’t get is why this report goes straight to her boss and up the chain without being routed through the manager first. While I don’t doubt the judgement issues, it sounds like someone should have a first pass on this.

        Reply
        1. Shiara

          It’s hospitality though. These are daily reports, and the manager probably isn’t scheduled daily. There probably is -a- manager available, but not necessarily in the LW’s department and it sounds a little like the CEO may have deliberately requested the report come directly from the shift staff to get an unfiltered work-level prespective.

          Reply
          1. SallytooShort

            She says there is always a manager on duty. They could have a sign off portion. And it should absolutely not be a blank report for these people to fill out.

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      2. SallytooShort

        I don’t know. I think having blank reports for entry level people to fill out by themselves and send directly to upper level types is inherently a problem. And, no offense to the OP, but bad management. Entry level employees are always going to be a mixed bag. Some are beyond awesome. But some are not. And that’s the nature of entry level jobs.

        Making a check list for them would take no time. It may not weed out the ghost issue but it would absolutely weed out all the stapler/printer/paper issues. I worked front desk in a hotel in college and we had that as did the cleaning staff.

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        1. Queen of Cans & Jars-Cat

          +1 I think for some types of positions (particularly low paid, lower skilled positions), you are not necessarily going to have the luxury of choosing from the best of the best in regards to employees. Creating very explicit forms and having a gatekeeper for information that’s going to the top may save you a lot of headache in the end.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            I agree with this. I think also some version of a simple decision chart about who needs to get told what and how might be helpful as well; I suspect employees are considering this just the narrative of the shift without realizing that they could tell the OP stuff through other channels.

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          2. CarrieT

            Agreed. Hiring new people with better judgement (which is very hard to gauge in an interview) and then training them seems way harder than making this reporting process better. I concur with forms and a gatekeeper.

            Reply
        2. Chinook

          I was thinking a checklist of the most common issues plus space for “other” would definitely help with the poor reports. It also makes it easier from a data collection point of view because of consistency), takes less time to fill out and, if set up correctly, could even be entered into a larger data collection matrix to look at trends over time.

          Reply
          1. BeautifulVoid

            Agreed. The more I think about it, the less I like this blank report/write your own narrative idea for the entry level people, especially if there’s nothing serious to report. I know OP said it’s fine for them just to write “no issues today”, but that seems like both a waste of time and incredibly subjective. (Like, what qualifies as an “issue” to one employee may not to another employee, and who knows whether or not it would be an “issue” to upper management.) I think a checklist with some “other” spaces, or room for elaboration would be much more efficient and get better results. For example, just pulling from some of the examples OP gave, “Did a staff member have to contact emergency services at all during this shift? (No) (Yes, Please Explain)”

            Reply
          1. calonkat

            Agreed. A checklist, or some sort of form with pre set categories/descriptions and a limited amount of space for “other”.
            And CLEAR, SIMPLE instructions as to what gets reported on this and what gets reported elsewhere.

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        3. Jennifer

          Yeah, I second that a manager of some kind needs to be vetting these. You do not let the peons at the bottom of the barrel contact the owner and CEO and every higher up just send whatever they want willy nilly!

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          1. Ego Chamber

            To be fair, this is something the CEO decided to set up, not a case of the peons at the bottom of the barrel deciding to contact the CEO willy-nilly to send whatever they want (how dare they?!). ;P

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      3. Secretary

        I think the OP needs to give their staff a break about this.

        If I don’t put something in a report and I should have, that’s going to cause a lot more trouble for me if I put something in when I should not have. If it were me, I would have reported the ghost talk! Just in case!

        If I was a staff member, and I were making a judgement call about something going on in a report, I would assume when in doubt put it in. Maybe the OP needs to define this better so that there is no room for doubt.

        For example:
        Is the report so that the management can check up on people? — Ghosts thing not appropriate.
        Is it just for an overall idea of what’s going on? — Ghosts thing is probably appropriate.
        Is it to know what supplies are needed? — Ghosts thing is probably not appropriate.
        Is it to know if there are complaints not being addressed? — Ghosts thing might be appropriate.
        ***All of the above/Not clear what reports for? — Well, better to put it in than get in trouble later for not doing so.

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        1. a1

          The OP is not the one that is requesting these reports. It’s coming from the new CEO. All these suggestions from you and others that the OP change the report aren’t going to help since the report is not hers. She’s just the one making sure her employees fill it out.

          A new CEO started taking over right around the same time I was promoted, and she is making a lot of changes to how we document particular things. She has requested that my department prepare a daily report …

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          1. Yorick

            The OP is probably the one who decided the staff should do them instead of compiling info from staff and doing the report herself.

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            1. Dove

              OP works at a hotel as a manager, and has stated that she’s not scheduled to work every day. Daily reports means that doing it herself isn’t possible, and there might not be another manager at her level for her department. And even setting aside the logistical limitations, we don’t know that OP is the one who decided the reports were going to come directly from the staff instead of being filtered through managers first.

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          2. Ego Chamber

            “The OP is not the one that is requesting these reports. It’s coming from the new CEO.”

            And then the OP is getting complaints from above about the reports being filled out wrong, so someone needs to step up and fix the process—and I doubt very much the CEO is going to do that, based on what I know about CEO’s, so it would make all kinds of sense for OP to suggest changes that would streamline the process and get the results the CEO is looking for.

            Reply
        2. Hotel User

          Agree! Agree bigly!

          People believe in ghosts. People who are hotel customers. Sooner or later, those customers will report their experiences on TripAdvisor or other review sites.

          These reports need to be taken seriously and debunked.

          Reply
        3. Not So NewReader

          I am not even sure why this is a question because I think I would let the chips fall where they may on this one. I would not try to protect the CEO from her own poorly designed form. If she does not want to read about the lack of TP in stall #3, then maybe she will create a different form.

          The CEO is asking the rank and file a question, I don’t think it is up to OP to interfere with that process.

          At some jobs, I would have given my eye teeth to have a CEO ask me what I thought.

          It looks like OP is trying to prevent certain types of info from getting to the CEO. I am wondering why. These are rank and file folks, they are not going to write a state of the union address. They are going to write about no TP in stall #3 for the last two weeks. That is what they will say because that is their domain, their area.

          Reply
          1. MerciMe

            ^^^This. DAILY reports direct from staff to the CEO? That screams “I do not trust my management team to give me the right information.”

            Reply
      4. Letter Writer

        Yeah, I’m absolutely stuck in “training and coaching … forever” mode! I wish I had options that were better. :/

        Upper management’s response to hiring new staff is “but what’s wrong with the old staff” and the response to my telling them what is, in fact, wrong with the old staff is “well, you’ll have to talk to them”, and the response to “I have done so, multiple times, and I can’t get blood from a stone being paid minimum wage” is “well, but hiring people is *so hard*, can’t you just do a better job managing and training?”

        Yeah. I’m not sticking around longer than I have to.

        Reply
        1. SallytooShort

          But the truth is these are minimum wage employees. Being asked to communicate with the CEO and have the discretion and judgment in memo writing of more advanced people. You are unlikely to get a whole new crop of absolutely stellar people at minimum wage.

          Reply
        2. nonymous

          in your shoes maybe try framing it as if you were standardizing a bunch of helpful 10yr old’s attempt at documentation, including overcoming poor grammar/spelling/handwriting? Not that your staff is that juvenile, but even a skilled individual would benefit from such a cookie cutter tool via time/effort savings. I’d much rather be able to check a few boxes maybe add a couple of counts ala Mad Libs and be done with that part of my job :-)

          As I get to work with different groups over time, I am continually surprised by how many people want to write an enormous narrative text in all situations. Less is more, esp if this is a daily activity.

          Reply
        3. Not So NewReader

          I would keep following that conversation, “Yes, hiring for minimum pay WILL definitely be hard. People know they cannot make ends meet with that rate of pay. If you pay minimum, then minimum is what you will get. Even if they are good workers they are not going to exhaust themselves for a minimum pay job.”

          Reply
          1. Ego Chamber

            PSA: People who pay minimum wage tend to react very poorly to the hard conversation about how minimum pay will not result in maximum effort. It’s still a conversation worth having, but you’ll find out really fast what kind of people you work for once you’ve said it.

            Reply
            1. Anna

              +1
              Those employers tend to be the kind of people who think The Poors are lazy spendthrifts, and should just be grateful for whatever crumbs are tossed at them. Otherwise, they’re considered greedy.
              Pot, meet kettle.

              Reply
      5. Cheese woman

        Would a template help? Even with training, I think many people just don’t know what to write when confronted by a blank page. Perhaps it would help to provide a template with headings that cover what you would like to see included, and even examples of the sort of thing you want to see. For example:
        -Maintenance required and action taken (eg broken tap in room 37, plumber called)
        -Significant events (eg emergency services called)
        -Complaints from guests and action taken (eg guest requested new room, moved to 212)
        -Other comments from guests (eg compliments, suggestions)

        Reply
    4. Lowest Common Denominator

      Without knowing more, it’s possible that they are including things like this not because OP hasn’t been clear about what not to put, but maybe OP hasn’t been as clear as they think about how staff can get the tools and information they need in order to feel confident completing tasks and speaking with guests in a way that is consistent with the organization’s brand. Also, OP says they know who to ask for staples and paper – but do they get it when they do?

      Reply
      1. Stormfeather

        Good point on the last bit… some of the stuff about including the supplies could be a sort of passive-aggressive “we never have the supplies we need, and I know the manager isn’t going to be signing off on this first so I’ll “slip up” and throw it in here to maybe get the message out that we are consistently undersupplied.”

        Because seriously, if it is a CONSISTENT THING that people are wanting to put a lack of supplies on the report, you probably need to be a bit more proactive about giving people their supplies that they need to do their jobs.

        Reply
        1. Julia the Survivor

          I wouldn’t say passive-aggressive. I’ve been there and felt like, “I can’t get what I need through the usual channels, so I’m going to ramp it up until I get what I need to do my job, before I get fired or give my boss the impression I’m a complete incompetent.”

          Reply
          1. Not So NewReader

            If it’s the boss saying no, then that could be P/A. One place I needed pens to do my job. Stick pens would have been fine, I was not fussy because they were for occasional use not all day use. I was told I could not have pens. The rationale was, “At least they buy us toilet paper now.” This was a case where a boss might not have any choice in the matter.

            Reply
    5. BlueSky

      I agree that it might be good to do a “refresher” with the team as to what is appropriate and what is not to include in the reports.

      I think the eyerolling is over “ghosts”, but I don’t think the issue should be so quickly discounted. If a number of people mentioned it, something was likely going on. What if there was an actual predator standing outside of people’d doors with malicious intent? Maybe I’ve watched too many X Files, but is there security feed to check?

      Reply
    6. Not a dr

      I always learned, blame processes not people.

      Why not have a form with some examples of the types of problems that are common, where people can add notes or just check a box saying “nothing to report”

      Ask yourself is there any way to create a form or simplify this. Expecially as multiple people are having issues with the form, this isn’t just one person, many people are confused. And are you and the other managers providing a united front on what needs to be included? That is a big annoyance at my work. One manager flip flops on her answers.

      Weekly ghost report

      -Ghost sightings notes:
      -Spooky noises notes:
      -people in period costume notes:
      -other

      Anything you are unclear about ghost wise you should ask an available manager about, and only include if they say so. If they do instruct you to please include their name in that section.

      Reply
    7. Alli525

      OP may need to start signing off on these reports before they’re sent, quite frankly. Even if she’s not present on shift that day, just a quick glance-over for content like GHOSTS (and then direct feedback on “this is not appropriate for this report, you should email me separately for things like this”). Maybe management can forgive a couple hours’ delay in these reports being sent while OP sorts out her team.

      Reply
    8. LBK

      I haven’t read through all the comments so not sure if someone else brought this up, but part of me wonders if the staff are intentionally including things that shouldn’t be included because they find this task annoying and therefore they’ve decided (either collectively or each in their own way) to complete it in the pettiest way possible. I can totally see someone thinking “You’re really gonna make me write a report every single day, even on days where nothing happened? Well, then you’re gonna get a report of every stupid thing I can think of.”

      Particularly as it sounds like these are tenured service industry employees, jadedness can set in and make you averse to tasks you don’t think are necessary, especially tasks that were created by and whose main beneficiary is some higher up who won’t ever spend a day actually at your property. Speaking from experience, corporate looooooves to create “accountability” or otherwise “improve” processes they know nothing about by making in-store employees do stupid, onerous tasks that generally accomplish nothing. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how this nightly report is being viewed.

      Reply
    1. Snark

      I didn’t even see this before I posted the ghostbusters immediately after you, so I think this means we both win for today.

      Reply
    2. Hotel User

      Agree! Agree bigly!

      People believe in ghosts. People who are hotel customers. Sooner or later, those customers will report their experiences on TripAdvisor or other review sites.

      These reports need to be taken seriously and debunked.

      Reply
  2. Snark

    Ghostbusters
    If there’s something strange in you neighborhood
    Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)
    If there’s something weird
    And it don’t look good
    Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)

    *dances*

    Reply
        1. C in the Hood

          It’s not. I had my suspicions, and a quick Google confirmed it. Let’s just say it’s in a city where the paranormal abounds.

          Reply
          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I’m not sure I’m interpreting this correctly, so apologies if I’m off-base — but please do not try to identify where letter-writers are! People want anonymity when they write in here.

            Reply
              1. fposte

                Archie’s post was, but C’s post didn’t sound like it. Mind you, I also don’t think you really can pin down the location just from the information in the OP anyway.

                Reply
                1. snow-in-the-desert

                  You can, but probably only if you’re a local from the region or otherwise familiar with the place — as I am, and as I’m guessing C. might be — so you can connect the dots. As Alison said, though, that’s not what we’re here for.

                  In all seriousness, though… as someone who both a) understands the need for anonymity and b) can seldom resist a mystery, I think people should bear in mind that the more specific details they give, especially when it comes to numbers and dates, the easier it is for any of the thousands(?) of readers of this blog to figure out where they are. It feels like one of those Internet fallacies that people often forget about — the asymmetry of visibility and information between poster (or letter-writer) and audience.

                  Anyway, maybe a point in favor of being careful about giving too many specifics, or even blurring or changing details — either on the letter-writer’s side, or on Alison’s — if anonymity is really a top priority.

    1. Jen S. 2.0

      And, apparently, the front desk staffer was indeed afraid of a ghost, regardless of Ray Parker Jr.’s feelings about fear of ghosts.

      Reply
  3. artgirl

    I think benefit of the doubt is warranted and the response should take what Alison said here as the default assumption in good faith, and not ascribe poor judgement to the employee until and unless the employee demonstrates otherwise: ‘she figured that if multiple guests were asking about ghosts, it’s enough of a thing that the facility might want to have an official response to give out in the future. And maybe that’s what she meant by listing it under “Issues to be Addressed”’

    Reply
    1. fposte

      I think “poor judgment” sometimes does just mean “a misunderstanding of expectations,” though, and I would agree with the OP that that isn’t something the CEO needs to be informed about.

      Reply
    2. Millennial Lawyer

      I agree! Maybe if ghosts became a frequently reported incident, I’d want to know what to say to customers with the backing of the company. It’s not that ridiculous a suggestion. BUT that’s the kind of thing that should go to a manager first, not the CEO of the company. Oh boy.

      Reply
      1. Egon Spengler

        But the CEO *asked* for these reports to be delivered directly to him. This wasn’t the entry-level employee deciding to escalate the first little problem to the CEO.

        Reply
    3. Kate 2

      Honestly I’d be concerned first about a security issue, as the employee. What if there was a man or really short woman (like me, who could be mistaken for a child because of height) wandering around the building looking for rooms to break in to? It’s not that unusual, it is a problem hotels have had.

      Second, some hotels would be thrilled at the idea of a ghost, and jump on it, wanting employees to encourage it. Others, like OP’s employer, would want all such rumors quashed hard. That’s my other guess what the employee meant, by putting it in the needs addressing section.

      Either option isn’t unreasonable, and I would ask employee what was meant before reprimanding her. I would also ask her to list what she thinks the issue is in each report, what she means needs to be addressed.

      Reply
      1. Trout 'Waver

        That was my first thought too. If I’m working third shift alone in a creepy old building, and multiple people come up to me the next morning and ask about ghosts, I’m going to report it. Probably not to the CEO. But definitely to my manager. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe that people’s subconscious can give them a tingly “spider-sense” when something’s off, but they haven’t consciously picked up on it yet.

        I’d probably take the “How do you want me to handle this?” route, though. Because I have absolutely no idea how to respond to someone asking about ghost sitings.

        Reply
        1. JessaB

          In a way the employee could and might reasonably think that the way to ask “what should I do about this,” is exactly what they did. Put it in the report. I mean I would presume that the “what should I say/do if this happens again” is understood in the mere fact that I reported multiple people said x to me. I shouldn’t have to report “Multiple people said x to me, what do you want me to do if that happens again?” The “if that happens and what do I do,” are a redundancy if I’m reporting multiple x things.

          As for the office supplies, I wouldn’t put that on the list the first time it happened, but I might the second or third. If supplies aren’t regularly available then YES it needs to be said. And if I’ve already said it and nobody cares, on the report it’s going. So before the OP gets upset about the supplies being on the report, check to see if the staff requests are going ignored or someone is sneaking supplies out off the books and management THINKS they’ve been given enough and they don’t have any. I wouldn’t put it on right away, but the more frustrated I got the more likely on it would go.

          Reply
          1. Happy Lurker

            I was thinking along these lines too. First shift leaves plenty of supplies. Supplies are locked up at 5. Bar is out of staples, front desk gives away staples, customers take all the pens, concierge is out of tape, uses last of the sticky notes instead, etc.
            Wallah! Third shift is left leaving notes on cocktail napkins with ink from berries.
            Weekend person has been dealing with this for 3 months and no one listens…

            Reply
      2. MC

        I also live in a town that was established in the 1600s and there is one hotel in particular that has a very specific ghost legend tied to it – so much so that at least two books have been written about it! And they sell the books in the hotel lobby! And the most “haunted” room gets booked months in advance! So reading this I was not at all surprised that it would be included in a monthly report or even that guests would mention it.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          We have so much of that here it’s incredible.

          We have rumors of entire armies still fighting the Revolution. And if a building is old, then it’s haunted, period. Does not matter if it is a restaurant or a hotel or a home. We have dozens and dozens of local books on the topic.

          I am trying to understand why this one particular example bothers OP. Perhaps it was just an example that came to mind.

          Reply
    4. Liane

      “not ascribe poor judgement to the employee until and unless the employee demonstrates otherwise”
      The employee does say there’s a continuing problem with “questionable judgement” so I think that *has* been shown. And it’s not a judgment issue just because it involves Ghosts!
      I couldn’t see myself sending that report to All. The. Bosses. However, if I had a lot of guests suddenly telling me they thought there were ghosts, I could definitely see talking with my boss, OP, about it, to see if there was something going on that should be checked on. An odd HVAC problem or even kids trying that “challenge” of hiding for 24 hours in stores (Walmarts?) That’s reasonable judgement.

      Reply
    5. INTP

      I agree on using benefit of a doubt here. Also, I don’t necessarily think that reporting in this case *was* bad judgment. If multiple guests are all of a sudden making similar reports of a shadowy figure standing right outside their door, that’s information that management needs to know. What people are interpreting as a ghost because they’re in an old hotel and expect to see ghosts could actually be an employee/contractor/random person who is creeping on the guests or casing for empty rooms.

      Reply
    6. Troutwaxer

      I think the issue for me would not be whether or not to address it, but how to address. It’s one thing to say “OhMyGod we have ghosts” and another thing to say “Several guests reported seeing ghosts, which has not happened here previously. I don’t know whether we currently have a prankster staying here, or whether there may be a security problem, or whether there is a problem with plumbing or the AC, but I need to know what I should tell guests who report ghosts, and whether we need to look into this as a non-occult problem which may be frightening guests.”

      Reply
      1. JessaB

        Yes, but unless they were told to put all that other stuff in the report, it should be understood by the fact the info is ON the report, that they want tools to deal with it, or for someone to drill down into what happened that day to see if they can find out what made the shadows/noise and report it back so the staff can say “oh no that was maintenance in the boiler room, we are sooo sorry it scared you.” And to tell maintenance next time to hollar out “Maintenance personnel,” if they hear guests around. Unless they know to add all the relevant “why are we reporting this thing,” the mere fact of thing being on the report should be sufficient for management to get the fact that it needs to be answered/addressed at minimum with what to do if people say that thing again.

        Reply
    7. The OG Anonsie

      Yeah that was my thought as well. She got weird complaints from multiple guests about something people haven’t complained about before. If it wasn’t about something as goofy as ghosts, suddenly getting weird feedback from multiple guests about something not usually noted by anyone really isn’t a crazy thing to shoot to management in many instances.

      I think the issue in this case is do you want this type of feedback reporting in these summaries from employees at all, not whether you think it’s silly to record ghost-related guest notes. The questions you need to answer and clarify with her are 1) should unexpected groups of customer feedback go into this report? and 2) what is the appropriate tone for her to be using in these reports, knowing that the entire upper management chain reads them?

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that front-end hotel staff do not have any experience or context whatsoever for giving reports that get seen by someone at the executive level. I wouldn’t say this is an individual judgement problem as much as something that has to be addressed with a lot of training, as others have said.

      Reply
      1. Hapless Bureaucrat

        To me honestly this is what you said in your last paragraph: a style issue. It’s appropriate to raise a concern that multiple guests had x same experience they’ve never had before. But on a summary report directed to the CEO your style should be short, succinct, and fact- based. It sounds like it was the opposite.
        Style is a training issue, or else something you solve by having a manager write the report or using a form that encourages short summaries. If OP can’t control the format or who completes the report they’re stuck with style training. If style training has been given and hasn’t worked… then either the employee is an issue or the CEO has expectations that aren’t a match for the people they’re expecting to complete the report.
        In which case the CEO completely deserves to read five paragraphs about ghosts.

        Reply
  4. Malibu Stacey

    Can you prepare an easily skimmable template of exactly what kind of issues should be included and instruct the employees to write “none” or “n/a” on that section if there’s nothing to report?

    Something like:

    Security issues: none

    Housekeeping: three housekeepers are sick so there was delay in rooms being cleaned.

    Reply
      1. hermit crab

        With “do” and “don’t” examples, maybe? I know that when I’m completing things like this, I find examples of what *not* to include really helpful – sometimes even more helpful than examples of what to include.

        Reply
        1. Triumphant Fox

          yes! Even a note at the bottom “Please direct any routine maintenance (light bulbs, cleaning…I’m really bad at examples of hotel maintenance), or supply requests (office materials, cleaning supplies, linens) to your direct manager.”

          Reply
          1. JessaB

            There needs to be a separate supply checklist. If supplies are an issue they’re putting on the report there needs to be a different list for that. A specific, auditable channel for that. Because honestly people walk off with supplies, and I’d be peeved to eleventy if I kept asking for x but by the time I arrived on overnight 2nd shift had used it all. By the second time that happened, it’d be going on the main report. Yes it’s passive aggressive but I’m only going to complain once or twice that stuff just is not there on 3d shift before I go passively over my own manager’s head. So address the supply thing more as “here’s how to get supplies,” rather than “supplies don’t belong on this report,” first.

            Reply
            1. Natalie

              I think this is a great suggestion. The way you want people to do things should be the path of least resistance (or at least is little resistance as you can manage). If that means a separate form for supplies, so be it.

              Reply
      2. Liane

        Or checklists like Liz2 mentions (IF they are kept up). Heck, we had daily/weekly/monthly checklists in a *Microbiology Lab* I worked in, because there were so many little things that needed to be done, or both our aseptic technique and SOP/regulatory compliance were going to go downhill fast.

        Reply
      3. Jennifer Thneed

        I said this elsewhere (I think) but: it should all be checklists. Don’t rely on people’s memories for what “should” be important, and don’t rely on people’s judgement. Instead, just subtract that element entirely.

        Also, why on earth isn’t this report going to their manager *first*? The manager can review it and then submit it further up the line, along with notes of actions they intend to take as a result.

        Reply
    1. Liz2

      YES! I worked in a movie theater, so lots of turnover and lots of first job types and they created a bathroom checklist which had to be done EVERY 30 minutes. Which was great, except we had to track down a manager each time we needed to paper refill and after two weeks they stopped making copies of the sheets so we ran out and, of course, went back to our hour or so checks.

      Systems need to be useful and maintained, and that needs to be part of their implementation. If upper management doesn’t want to be bothered by things everyday workers consider important, maybe they should have a middle manager review and clean up the report first.

      Reply
      1. Trout 'Waver

        If upper management doesn’t want to be bothered by things everyday workers consider important, maybe they should have a middle manager review and clean up the report first.

        Exactly this. The business needs someone who considers a flickering light something important that must be fixed. Also, many people are very, very loath to put “nothing to report” on a report that goes to their boss, their boss’s boss, the CEO, and the person who signs their paycheck. It makes many people nervous because they think it makes others think they’re not doing their jobs.

        Reply
    2. Lil Fidget

      I agree, I often say this, but this sounds like a systems problem. You have junior and inexperienced staff that are writing reports that are going direct to the top level without any interim steps? That sounds like it’s intended to create exactly this type of problem. I’d suggesting advocating for either a more standardized form or a different process, or else this is going to keep happening.

      Reply
    3. SallytooShort

      Yes! Sorry I said something similar before reading your comment. I worked at a hotel in college and we had something very similar to this. So did maintenance and cleaning staff.

      You can’t just leave blank reports for your entry level employees to fill out at their own discretion to send to the CEO!

      Reply
  5. MuseumChick

    I can think of several people I’ve worked with in the past who would struggle to understand what does and does not belong in the kind of report your describe.

    Do you think it would help your team if you wrote up an example or two of what a report like this is supposed to look like? Sometimes people need concrete examples to understand a concept they are struggling with.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      We have a weekly update at our office and it is a nightmare – and these are senior level people who should know better. There’s a powerful temptation to start listing minutiae even though I guarantee the CEO doesn’t want to read stuff like “filled reports” or “had meeting.” It’s because saying “nothing to report” feels like a black mark, like you’re not working.

      Reply
  6. Detective Amy Santiago

    I’m mostly amused that one of the “you may also like” links is about ghosting the ex.

    More on topic, I had the same initial question as Alison as I was reading because I live in a city that has a lot of rumored haunted buildings and they usually have information about it on their website. But if this building isn’t one, that definitely seems odd. I almost wonder if people were punking your employee.

    Reply
    1. Volunteer Enforcer

      I think it’s because the bot that comes up with the you may also like links goes by posts that have the same words, subject or names in them. As an example the post about Arya who tried to strong arm into a promotion was linked to another post where the name Arya had been used.

      Reply
    2. OxfordComma

      There are all sorts of possibilities here and they may be worthy of management attention. They include: carbon monoxide issues, plumbing issues, intruders, and so on.

      Reply
  7. SallytooShort

    I was ready to be entirely amused at how OTT this was. And it is. But, at the same time, it was guests reporting these “issues.” Apparently more than one. So, I can understand how someone might thing it was appropriate to bring up in that report.

    I wouldn’t! Obviously there is no such thing as ghosts and the only response to question about signs of a haunting is the polite customer service version of “nope.” But if multiple guests are raising something with you then that could be considered an issue to be addressed.

    Reply
    1. MCMonkeyBean

      Yeah, if multiple guests complaining about food is considered something worth reporting than I can certainly see why they would think multiple guests complaining about a ghost was something worth reporting.

      Reply
    2. please

      If multiple people are telling you something, you should listen. What they are saying may not be true or accurate, but the fact that they are all saying it means you should pay attention. Don’t just dismiss it because they are wrong- there may be an important cause of their delusions.

      Reply
  8. Liz2

    I agree judgement is a hard thing to train in, but I also don’t see this as An Issue. Do the Big Wigs really want to know what their employees consider reasonable concerns or not? This is why we have layers of management, so that the people who have to deal with every day issues (which are Big to them) can focus while the upper management can focus on the broader picture. Why is it surprising things that seem important get put on an important list?
    Of course I agree with the advice to have a real chat to clarify, but I don’t see this as a problem except maybe adding a management layer to clean up the report before sending is worthwhile.

    Reply
    1. Leatherwings

      I don’t think the Big Wigs do want to know what their employees consider reasonable concerns – they want to see actual concerns. And those two things do not line up.

      I prepare a report each week on happenings for my job, and there are definitely things I don’t include because it’s not appropriate for this particular report. It’s absolutely a “know your audience” thing. It’s not like this is the only avenue they have to report issue – OP explained that for smaller things like office supplies, they can go to her.

      Why is it surprising things that seem important get put on an important list?

      The entire issue is that “people asked me about ghosts this weekend” is clearly not important enough to be elevated to the CEO. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect employees to make that judgement call on their own without having to add an extra layer of management. Why add extra steps if you can train someone to do something reasonable on their own? I can’t imagine that being impossible.

      Reply
      1. nnn

        The entire issue is that “people asked me about ghosts this weekend” is clearly not important enough to be elevated to the CEO.

        This has me wondering if maybe the employees don’t perceive it as “a report to the CEO”. LW says the report gets sent to manager, grandboss, CEO and owner. Maybe the employees perceive it as “a report to my immediate manager, which other people happen to get copied on.”

        Reply
        1. Wannabe Disney Princess

          I am but a humble peon. The amount of emails I send/receive that have executive management copied is INSANE. I pay attention and use a more professional tone than I might with a coworker I’m friendly with. But if I was asked to send a report that copied everybody like that? It probably wouldn’t even register that the CEO was reading it because I’d assume the CEO doesn’t want a daily report on the minutiae. I would figure my boss would point out anything of concern to them.

          Reply
        2. Elizabeth H.

          I was actually a bit confused by the letter about what format this report is in and who and how it gets sent out. Is it a report that just goes to immediate manager (her), her boss, boss’s boss, CEO and owner? Or is it an “all staff memo” that gets sent to literally all staff? Or are the all-staff memo (who does it go to?) and this daily report different things?

          Reply
        3. Oregonian

          “The entire issue is that “people asked me about ghosts this weekend” is clearly not important enough to be elevated to the CEO”

          There is a big difference between “people asked me about ghosts” and “people reported things they thought were ghosts”. The first is similar to people asking about the best restaurant in the area – not worth inclusion in the report. The latter, however, could be worthy because it could indicate there is a different issue going on (strange noises in the same part of the building could mean there is a pipe about to break or a security issue).

          If it is indeed the latter, then I think it is worth flagging to someone in management (probably not the CEO).

          Reply
      2. SallytooShort

        “The entire issue is that “people asked me about ghosts this weekend” is clearly not important enough to be elevated to the CEO”

        I don’t think this is remotely clear. If more than one person asks you about ghosts something is going on. Not ghosts but there must be something in the building causing people to think that. Whether something is broken or someone is in the building playing games.

        I think reasonable people can absolutely differ on whether that is something to report. And I am a little concerned that the OP isn’t doing anything about it.

        Reply
        1. Lil Fidget

          Yeah, I assume the junior staffer thought that if more than one guest brought something to her attention, it was something the higher ups needed to know. To be fair, I’m guessing the junior people are being paid at a level of “do this task as instructed” and the senior level people are paid for “use good judgement to do something subjective to achieve a vaguer outcome.”

          Reply
        2. Leatherwings

          Well we can agree to disagree on this, but I think it’s totally reasonable to expect employees to exercise judgement in what’s being reported to the CEO daily and that it’s reasonable to say that reports of ghosts don’t belong there.

          Reply
          1. CmdrShepard4ever

            I agree saying “I think we have ghosts in the museum” is not reasonable, but saying “Multiple guests over the weekend reported seeing strange things that they described/thought were ghosts .” That is something that I think upper management would want to know, one to have a clear consistent message/ response in the future. Management can decide to downplay it “our hotel has never experienced any sort of paranormal event, or even play into it “come stay at the haunted hotel.” If I were a CEO/owner of the hotel I would want to know. Especially because it is something that can hurt the hotel’s reputation, all of a sudden you might see more yelp reviews saying the place it haunted. Often times people can see what they want, future guests might come in hoping to see ghosts and in turn they happen to see ghosts when they come. If that is not the reputation you want, management would need to shut it down early.

            Reply
            1. Chinook

              Thar is a good point – if something is going to be reported on Yelp, wouldn’t the the big bosses want to be given a heads up? And, to me, having someone lurking around, ghost-like, is just as complaint worthy as housekeeping not getting done as it would make me feel unsafe in the hotel and not want to come ba k.

              Reply
            2. LBK

              And moreover, they might want to at least review the security footage to confirm the suspected ghost isn’t in fact a person lurking around who shouldn’t be there.

              Reply
              1. The OG Anonsie

                Yeah, when I saw the note that it’s the slow season and there are a lot of contractors milling in and out of the building, my first thought was “maybe some of the people coming in to work in the building are doing something that’s setting off some spooky alarms for guests.” People where people might not usually be, weird noises, etc. Maybe this employee thought the same, hence describing what the guests told her so the source could potentially be tracked down.

                I mean, if this isn’t what they want in this report that’s fine, but I think that again comes down to training and expectations rather than this woman personally.

                Reply
          2. SallytooShort

            So, if this is a serious security issue (someone may be lurking) or an issue with the building it should go unaddressed so that the OP doesn’t look bad?

            And if those guests elevate the concern to upper management because the employee was unresponsive I seriously doubt the OP is going to take the blame for not responding to multiple guests concerns. She’ll then blame the employee for not reporting concerns of *multiple* guests.

            Reply
              1. SallytooShort

                But then it is entirely unclear what does belong on such reports. If concerns from multiple guests don’t belong but maintenance issues do?

                Reply
              2. LBK

                Well, aside from something major like someone being murdered on the property or part of the hotel collapsing, I wouldn’t immediately think there’s any day-to-day happenings that would be worth reporting to the CEO – using the example the OP gave, I wouldn’t generally think the CEO needs to know about routine plumbing issues or other maintenance. If the CEO has requested she receive this report on a daily basis, she’s already lowered the bar for what things should be brought to her attention.

                Reply
                1. kb

                  I agree. While I can see how it’s frustrating for the LW who knows exactly what the CEO wants and why, as a very junior employee I would think 4 people telling me they saw a ghost is just as, if not more, notable than a plumbing issue. And the ghost thing could genuinely be of interest to a CEO– an opportunity to add a touristy gimmick or an unwanted perception that needs to be addressed and taken care of.

          3. Yorick

            But a front desk worker doesn’t know what the CEO is doing on a daily basis. They don’t have any way to know whether the multiple ghost sightings are relevant to the CEO’s job. Employees at this level should report up to a middle manager who cares about the issues that they observe in their front line job, and that person should report relevant issues up to higher management.

            Reply
          4. nonegiven

            IDK, ‘several guests reported ghosts’ could mean there is a security or maintenance issue that needs to be looked into by someone above my pay grade.

            Reply
        3. Liane

          I mentioned these 2 legit possibilities–but they are still better taken to your direct manager. “OP, I got a lot of reports about ‘I saw ghosts’ from guests. Should I put on Issues Report that electric or HVAC might need to be checked? And I was at a loss as to what to tell our guests–what should I say if it happens again?”

          Reply
      3. hbc

        Hmm. If they want to see only *actual* concerns, then I think they’re going about it the wrong way. Either I want the mostly-unfiltered opinions of people and have to deal with all that means, or I have it filtered by people who I hired for their judgment.

        I would expect a hotel reception/other duties-ist to exhibit some judgment about whether they should, say, let someone off the street use the reception phone, but it seems a little much to expect to assess what the CEO might want to see and express it in a way that makes clear why it’s being passed along. That’s pretty much what middle management is for.

        Reply
      4. Stormfeather

        But if the Big Wigs don’t want these types of concerns at all, why do they have to get a daily report straight from the entry-level workers in the first place? Seriously, the more I stop and think about it, the more I’m not sure what they want here. Are they trying to give the lower-level workers an easy way to complain about systemic issues/problems with their manger, by having them report things daily so that it’s easy for them? I’m trying to think of any other reason that they might have reports going directly to them instead of a lower-level manager, who then escalates problems/concerns/issues to a higher echelon.

        And honestly, why is one of the skills for an entry-level worker position suddenly supposed to be the ability to communicate effectively with the CEO and to know which specific issues should be brought up with them? That seems more like a manager-level skill anyhow.

        Reply
        1. Yorick

          I don’t think the upper management specified that these should come from entry-level staff; LW says the reports should be prepared by the department. The fact that the front desk employees are writing this report and getting it wrong is the fault of the LW, who I believe should have been preparing these reports all along.

          Reply
        2. Not So NewReader

          I am imagining what it would be like to fill out one of the reports and honestly, right now I have no idea what kind of info they want here. If I got my reports routinely picked apart I might be inclined to just write, “no issues, all is well” on every report.

          Reply
  9. Viki

    I feel like the ghost thing might be sort of be a “X amount of people have asked me about and therefore it should be mentioned.”

    When I was a teenager, I worked at a teashop that was said to be haunted-I didn’t know this but the customers always mentioned it and eventually I asked my manager. She told me to lean away from that because it was bad for business.

    Her personal opinions aside, she might seriously just want to know if there’s an official line about ghosts/hauntings that the company wants her to say. If the reports are fairly new, she might wonder if there’s a new way to deal with people who asks about ghosts.

    The whole thing seems ridiculous; but when in Rome.

    Reply
    1. Mockingjay

      I live on the outskirts of a historic city where ghost tours are a Thing and hotels and attractions actively promote “sightings.” (I’ve never seen one; apparently they only reveal themselves to tourists.) Anyway…

      Others have addressed what I see as a process problem; you should vet the report before sending to higher-ups.

      I can see staff passing along guest inquires to you, as in “what should I say when guests ask about hauntings.” I would not pass such a report to the CEO, except that it seems to indicate a security issue. As a manager, I would list it in the report as an issue and outline the solution: Need to look into how contractors are admitted and tracked within the building. Suggest they be signed in and out (logbook) and issue them clip-on passes for easy identification. Avoids guest confusion.

      Reply
  10. Wannabe Disney Princess

    My first thought was that the employee was mentioning this to see if you had an official response. Especially since so many guests brought it up over the one weekend. Do I think this was the right way to go about it? No. You do mention that you’ve had trouble communicating what does need to go into the report, so I’d take this opportunity to plainly spell out what is needed.

    Reply
  11. Tuesday Next

    Wow, that really does seem like a lack of judgement – and also very amusing :).

    Could you prepare a template that your staff could use to prepare these reports? It should have no mention on it of staplers or ghosts, but you could include sections like building maintenance and the like.

    I’d also suggest that if possible, you review these reports before they are distributed. Fairly or unfairly, this will reflect badly on you. Especially if you haven’t made your manager aware of the issues you are having with your team (and what you’re doing about them).

    Reply
  12. Apostrophina

    I think having a uniform staff response to these things is absolutely a good idea—especially if you’re worried about your employees’ judgment. I’m guessing these are people you wouldn’t want answering that question on the fly.

    The letter doesn’t say the employee reported experiencing these things herself, and in hospitality, I imagine guests seeing things (for whatever reason!) is a pretty common experience. Would I have put it in the giant memo? No, but I can certainly see someone not knowing who to ask about this. And if enough guests are reporting it, even if you think they’re all wacky, it’s a customer service issue at some point.

    Reply
  13. SignalLost

    If OP and the employee who wrote the report normally don’t work together because of scheduling, this might be worth swinging by work when she’ll be there to have that conversation in person, especially if you can make it in the context of “I needed to get the TPS reports I printed.” Not because you need to lie about your reason exactly, but it’s A Big Deal for some people to have a boss visit off-schedule, and that excuse turns it into more of a “while I’m here” rather than “I made this trip because”. Since it sounds like your work time and hers don’t overlap, that might be a way to get in-person time that’s low stress for her so she’s receptive to your concerns.

    Reply
  14. Many Emails

    I’m on the employee’s side on this. If your facility is gaining a reputation as having ghosts, that seems like something management would want to know about and prepare for. Just like if your facility was gaining a reputation for having bedbugs, warranted or not, it seems like something those in charge should know about.

    In addition, in the chance that these “ghosts” were actually a security issue (someone lurking about, non-guests in the hallways, thieves, etc.) then that is also something management should know about in case a pattern develops. And maybe hallways shouldn’t be so dim?

    To me it seems like the employee cares about the facility and is taking ownership of what’s best for it. If the employee didn’t care about her job or didn’t care about the facility, she would have just reported “no issues.”

    Reply
    1. Snark

      The thing is though, uncritically repeating ghost rumors on face value comes off like you have poor judgement and are weirdly credulous. “Guests reported being frightened after possibly seeing unknown persons in the hallway and inquired about reports of ghost stories in the hotel” would have come off more professionally.

      Reply
      1. Thursday Next

        True, but this kind of revision requires some experience—in finessing writing, and in mediating narratives. If this employee’s usual report is confined to “three housekeepers short today” and “no maintenance issues to report,” she may not have that experience.

        Reply
      2. bonkerballs

        But isn’t that basically what the employee did already? She reported that guests asked if they had any reports of ghosts and then she reported what the guests saw and said since this was also children reporting the weird stuff she could concluded that this wasn’t alcohol induced. Nothing in what OP quotes even suggests that the employee believes in ghosts. It’s a pretty straightforward report.

        Reply
        1. Nita

          Oh. The guests weren’t seeing children. The children of the guests were seeing something. I was reading that one all wrong.

          Reply
        2. kb

          Yeah, we don’t know exactly what the employee wrote, but it does seem like she described the events as they were relayed to her. Maybe that wasn’t the best way to send it for everyone to read, but I think she may have left it like that to convey that there could be a real issue or the guests may just be really into the paranormal.

          Reply
      3. Jotpe

        What’s the difference between “uncritically repeating ghost rumors on face value” and “reporting multiple customers giving the same feedback”? I was a front desk flunky for a tour company once upon a time, and if I had three customers come back from a tour and tell me the guide was rude or difficult to understand I would have reported it to my manager, because multiple customers reporting the same issue is notable, especially if it’s not something that’s happened before. If I distrusted the customers I might include that in my own report (“four tour takers on the 11am said George was rude to them; he’s always been pleasant to me and seemed in a good mood, but I thought you’d want to know”) but I’d still pass it on, because it could be something a higher up would recognize a pattern on but also because they might want to know about it before we got four TripAdvisor reviews about rude guides.

        Reply
      4. Not So NewReader

        We don’t get to pick other people’s word choices. If they are handing the reports directly to the higher ups, then OP has little to no control over what is said on the reports. For the higher ups to think she does is pretty off the wall.
        LW did mention that the CEO said LW should just talk to them. Honestly, the CEO gives empty useless advice. I am not impressed with the leadership skills in use there. At all.

        Reply
    2. It's all Fun and Dev

      The “security issue” angle is what caught my attention too, and I don’t think the employee was wrong for including it on the report. If multiple guests had reported seeing a strange man in the hallway who seemed to have no business there, that’s something I’d want to know about as hotel management. If I was the employee I probably would have tried to remove the paranormal angle, but I think it’s worth noting that multiple guests are reporting things that make them feel unsafe.

      Reply
      1. Purplesaurus

        Agreed. The wording in the report might not be the best, but I question how much that reflects on the core duties of the role. If this person is polite and good at handling the customers but just kinda sucks at putting things in writing (which was not part of her duties before), I think OP has to consider whether that matters and what to do about it.

        Reply
      2. Not So NewReader

        If OP and the CEO are not careful, the employees might decide that they should never include things that the guests are talking about…. including that fire in the room waaaay back there.

        Reply
    3. Wannabe Disney Princess

      Right. I was trying to figure out how to phrase this and then gave up because there’s not enough caffeine in my bloodstream. It’s weird because it’s ghosts. But if there were numerous reports of strange behavior by flesh and blood individuals, it wouldn’t look as bizarre.

      Reply
    4. Kelly L.

      Yep, I’m thinking it might be either a request for an official response or a mention in case there’s a concerning mundane explanation.

      On the other hand, I’m tempted to suggest black magic to combat them.

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        Nope. Black magic might tick off ghosts. I reccomend a call to a Catholic Church for a quick blessing (done discreetly, of course) or other religious organization that deals with spirits. At the very least, you want White magic to make things better.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Yes. A realtor friend was having a hard time selling a house. Doors opening and closing on their own, things being moved about and so on. None of her subordinates would show the house after each one experienced some strange thing. So the realtor ended up bringing in a Catholic priest. Everything calmed down and the house got sold.

          Reply
    5. bonkerballs

      Yeah, I kind of agree. If it was just the employee randomly saying in the report “I think we have ghosts!” then I’d think that that was inappropriate. But the employee is reporting an issue that multiple guests came and spoke to her about. No matter how ridiculous I think the issue is, if multiple people complain or ask me about something, that’s something I’m bringing to my manager’s attention as something that needs to be addressed and it seems to me like this report is a way in which to bring up issues. Especially because OP mentions that they live in a very old town with “tons and tons” of local ghost stories because like others are saying, there may need to be clarification on the party line. There are lots of old towns where local ghosts are an industry all it’s own, and the guests mentioning the ghosts might just be hoping for a fun story/experience to bring home.

      Reply
      1. Snowglobe

        Yes-and it is entirely possible that some of us those guests may report their experiences on social media, and the next thing you know the hotel is on a list of local haunted sights. I think it is entirely reasonable for the employee to think that management might want to know about this. Though probably the employ could have done a better job of explaining the concerns, they likely aren’t in a job that requires a high level of writing skills.

        Reply
      2. Mookie

        There are lots of old towns where local ghosts are an industry all it’s own, and the guests mentioning the ghosts might just be hoping for a fun story/experience to bring home.

        This is definitely what I think is going on. This is an adventure and they’ll be damned if they don’t see a ghost at every attraction.

        As a teenager I did some landscaping work in the grounds of a large hotel at the edge of a kind of sleepy town that’s in the general vicinity of a more jumping tourist city, particularly popular in the cooler months. Late one spring a straggling holidayer and guest of our hotel was murdered quite nearby in a pretty grim and puzzling way that attracted a lot of regional news interest and, sure enough, when the next busy season dawned in the city next door, we, too, fielded guest “reports” about ghosts, hosted amateur detectives who solved the case at least a dozen times (it was never a mystery and therefore needed no “solving”), shooed the rubberneckers who wanted a tour of the murder site, and the psychics practically held a convention in the hotel at one point.

        Reply
    6. Elle Kay

      I agree. This reads more as a potential security issue to me. *Multiple people*, on the same night, all saw “someone” lingering around, and were concerned enough to ask about it? My first worry would be that there was someone around!
      Maybe this was poorly worded on the report but, as a manager, I would want to check the security of the building

      Reply
  15. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

    I’d be interested in hearing what course change options there are. Does the OP replace people on her team or does she intercept the reports before they go up the chain? It seems to me that the reports are really an issue – when you give entry or middle tier employees direct access to upper management with a daily report, it seems likely that it will be used to address other concerns. Not to say those employees shouldn’t have access to upper management, but this type of report isn’t the way to offer that access. It seems like it would become nit-picky quite easily.

    If the report must continue in the same vein as it is now, perhaps the shifts could submit to OP and OP forwards it up after appropriate editing. Or OP can provide examples of what items to include and which items to not include. Sample reports are helpful – especially if there is a “nothing to report” example!

    Reply
    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      I’m really surprised that this is the first mention of having the reports funneled through the OP. Although I know it’s a daily report sent in 7 days a week, is the CEO really looking for these reports on the weekend? And if they absolutely must be submitted every day, as a manager the OP might have to spend 5-10 minutes editing them down if they are management.

      I know my perspective might be different, but reporting in my industry is usually finalized and submitted by higher management, with department managers submitting their own reports to the senior manager. I have tailored my reports so that my manager doesn’t have to edit it at all, but some senior managers do a LOT of editing, and some get their subordinates to tailor the reports to their liking. I’m surprised that’s not the solution here, because it sounds like reporting of this nature might be a little over the pay grade of the front-line employees (mostly since it’s seen by the most senior management).

      Reply
    2. Ella

      I have concerns about the reports, too. OP says that the new management has made “a lot of changes” around how the staff is supposed to document things. If there are several different reports going in several different directions, part time workers are going to have a hard time keeping track of that, especially if it’s different from how they’ve been doing it for years. (Since the ghost-memo employee left this memo on Sunday, and doesn’t work again until Saturday, I’m guessing she’s part time.) That’s not “questionable judgment,” that’s just the reality of being in an environment where expectations have suddenly shifted. I wonder if there’s any way OP could talk to upper management about receiving a digest every 2-3 days, which the OP curates from daily reports, and freeing up part-timers from having to converse with upper management except in cases of emergency.

      Reply
      1. Ella

        Further suggestion: I wonder if calling it an “incident report” would help clarify expectations at all? Seems a small thing, but my brain puts “incident report” in a different light than it does “daily report” or “shift report” (which OP seems to be currently using interchangeably). “Incident report” also sounds qualitatively different than “maintenance report” or “supply order form,” which is information that the OP’s employees are currently putting in the shift report.

        Reply
          1. a1

            No it’s not a summary. From the letter it’s for “significant issues”.

            … She has requested that my department prepare a daily report regarding any significant issues that occur in the building over the course of each shift, …

            Reply
            1. Yorick

              But it’s a daily summary of significant issues. An incident report is something that describes one incident that has occurred.

              Reply
              1. a1

                And that’s different from what you said and what I replied to. You said a “summary of the day” which would include all the mundane – answered 5 phone calls, changed a light bulb. Whereas a summary of incidents would be more like “Room 4A had a tub overflow” or “Elevator 2 got stuck for 20 minutes woth 4 people inside” or more likely “no issues today” or “just routine stuff today”.

                Reply
      2. Jaybeetee

        This is a good point. I used to work at a place that essentially had the “weekday shift” and the “weekend shift.” Communication issues with the weekend shift were chronic, and we tried many different solutions. It always seemed like certain information was getting missed, misunderstood, messed up – the weekend manager was always frustrated and felt like no one was talking to him, even when I or others left detailed reports on Friday for him. It’s just hard when you’re not there day-to-day to process changes and train staff in a timely and accurate manner. On top of that, in many “work with the public” type jobs weekends can be significantly busier than weekdays, and certain policies were passed during the week that didn’t necessarily reflect the increased workload for weekend staff. It finally got the point where we, uh, shifted the manager shifts completely, so that I worked Tues-Sat and my co-manager worked Sun-Thurs, just to keep a better line of communication. When I left that job, I came in one weekend per month for awhile to help out, and I experienced the other side first-hand too – it’s hard to stay in the loop when you’re just not there full time.

        Reply
      1. Amber Rose

        Previous experience suggests if you tell a necromancer to quit with the ghosts, you end up with zombies or liches instead.

        Should probably specify that raising any undead is strictly an after work, off company grounds activity.

        Reply
  16. Ella

    I wonder if the hotel can hire the witch who was cursing people from the long-ago-yet-notorious letter, and the witch will fight off the ghosts?

    Reply
    1. Hills to Die on

      Yes! I thought of this too! Lol!

      Speaking as someone who worked for a famous psychic, I do believe in ghosts—I’ve seen them and they are par for the course in that environment.

      But damn, really? You can’t put that on a report going to the execs. Facepalm.

      Reply
  17. WeevilWobble

    Well since you asked I do think you are being kind of a jerk. Multiple guests complained about an issue. That should absolutely be brought up. Not ghostbusting but were lights out in the hallways? Unusual draftiness? Kids playing pranks? These are all things you should be aware of and investigate. If multiple people report something it isn’t based on nothing even if it isn’t supernatural. But you are ignoring guest concerns to mock your employee for merely relaying them.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      The OP isn’t saying *nobody* needs to know about those, just that the CEO doesn’t know about those. Do you tell your CEO when you’re out of staplers?

      Reply
      1. WeevilWobble

        That they have a stupid reporting system is the fault of management for requiring it and she’s taking it out on her staff. This will always happen when you force line staff to report to upper management. They will always be too afraid that saying “nothing to report” means they weren’t doinh their job. And they don’t seem to have a very supportive direct manager so it’s not surprise they are getting mixed messages.

        But I can absolutely see why something multiple guests complained about would be included. It seems to be exactly what the reports are for as it could be a sign of problems with the building.

        Reply
        1. Leatherwings

          I have no idea where you’re getting the idea that the OP isn’t supportive. I’m actually seeing the exact opposite in this letter – a manager who sees systemic issues on her team and wants to handle them correctly.

          I also don’t know why you think the report is stupid. Maybe it is, but I don’t think that we as readers can make that judgement based on the info provided. Either way, lots of paperwork is superfluous in lots of workplaces, but it can still be done correctly and with an appropriate level of judgement.

          And yeah, maybe the reports will never ever be perfect, but I think it’s totally reasonable to expect employees to tell the basic difference between “there are ghosts” and “three housekeepers called out today and the cops showed up”

          Reply
          1. Trout 'Waver

            I think their is enough evidence to say the report is not the appropriate tool here. I don’t really like the word stupid, though. Knowing which issues should be tackled at which level of management is a relatively advanced skill and not one that is super common in front-line support staff. Ideally, you have a chain of command for a reason and you solve every issue at the lowest level possible.

            In this case, it seems like a bad fit to have a daily report going all the way up to the CEO and owner. Maybe an incident reporting protocol would be more efficient and appropriate for things that needed immediate attention from the CEO than a daily form?

            Reply
          2. WeevilWobble

            The manager has been informed that multiple guests have reported something and only cares that her employee dared mention it. Rather than looking into what could have caused multiple guests to think that (structural problems, security problems.) She knows her employees struggle with this and hasn’t implemented any change (as many suggested at this level employees should be doing a check list.)

            I see lots of signs she isn’t a very supportive or responsive manager. And the next time an employee fails to report an issue reported by multiple guests because their manager has made them afraid to it will cost her.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              We have no idea what else the manager is doing about those, because they’re not relevant to the question of reporting to the CEO; it’s certainly not something we can assume isn’t happening. And telling somebody not to put something in the report to the CEO doesn’t mean she’s being told not to report an issue, just not to report it first to the CEO.

              Reply
            2. Secretary

              WeevilWobble, I am totally with you on this though I don’t think it means the OP is a bad manager. I think you’re completely right though that the OP while having good intentions, is focusing on the wrong thing and needs to give the staff members a break and come up with a better system of reporting.

              Reply
            3. essEss

              If you don’t report it, and later it is discovered that a thief (or attacker) had been creeping around, it’s going to be far worse for the employee when it comes out that guests had been reporting sightings multiple times but it was never reported to management.

              Reply
              1. fposte

                But nobody is saying “Don’t report it to anybody.” They’re saying “Don’t report it to the CEO.” I report stuff all the time without reporting things to that level.

                Reply
      2. Wendy Darling

        We had a similar “shift report” email on a team I was on where different people could be working different sites on different days, but its distribution was our immediate team and our manager and it was mostly for our personal info. The distribution list actually grew because they got funny. We included the normal logistical stuff (any problems we had that day, if we needed more supplies) but also funny things people said to us that day. “Three people asked about ghosts and now we are concerned we may be haunted” would definitely have gone in that email.

        It would not, however, have gone in the much more formal weekly email that went to our boss’s bosses and ultra-busy VPs. You must know your audience when you decide to get cheeky in the status emails.

        Reply
      3. OklahomaSpeaks

        Could you imagine if you were the CEO and ghost hauntings of your establishment went viral because some patrons tweeted about it? I agree with you and Alison almost 90% of the time but I’m with the employee on this one. Employee had multiple questions so employee…GASP…included it in the report.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          I can, actually, because being CEO doesn’t mean hearing about everything that somebody might tweet about.

          I think that people are absolutely right that it’s not clear what’s supposed to be in this report, since even here we’re conceiving it very differently from person to person. I definitely support the template notion and some consideration by the OP on what her role is with these reports and what mechanism there is to report stuff to her and *not* to the CEO. But I don’t think the CEO needs to hear that somebody thinks they saw a ghost.

          Reply
          1. essEss

            CEO doesn’t need to hear about an isolated occurrence, but I think CEO needs to hear if multiple people are reporting something strange occurring in the building.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Strong disagree. That’s not CEO level information. There are three levels of management between the staffer and the CEO who are perfectly capable of dealing with something strange in the building.

              Reply
              1. Yorick

                But the three levels of management before the CEO are also getting these reports, so I can see why you’d think it was an appropriate place to list such things.

                Reply
              2. Elsajeni

                But then what is CEO-level information, given that the CEO is specifically asking for a daily report from front-line staff? I understand that “a guest thinks we have ghosts” shouldn’t normally be CEO-level information, but it seems to me that at least some of the stuff the OP says should go in the report shouldn’t normally be CEO-level information, either — surely those other three levels of management are also perfectly capable of dealing with a plumbing repair. I do think there’s a judgment issue here, as reflected in the “out of staples” report, but I also kind of think there’s a trying-to-read-the-CEO’s-mind issue.

                Reply
          2. nonegiven

            Maybe not one person saw a ghost, but 5 guests on 3 west reported they saw or heard a ‘ghost.’ That needs looked in to.

            Reply
        2. Kate 2

          Yes, that’s another good point! Besides the security issue, besides how to handle the rumors, can you imagine the h*ll that would have been raised if the Employee hadn’t mentioned the ghost questions she got *from multiple guests*, and the CEO found out on Monday from Facebook or something that guests were telling all and sundry the hotel was haunted?

          Reply
          1. fposte

            I suspect most CEOs of hotels don’t know about ostensible ghost sightings before they get tweeted, and it’s really not a problem. I also think the OP and her manager, who felt this didn’t belong on the report, are in the industry and have a pretty good idea of whether this is something the CEO needs to know.

            Reply
              1. fposte

                No lie there; as the OP notes below, this isn’t a particularly functional workplace.

                But I think that’s an even stronger argument against the ghost report–most CEOs don’t hear about this crap and it’s fine. I’m really not buying the notion that it would create a PR emergency.

                Reply
            1. Kate 2

              It is a problem if it blows up though, guests stay away, or they get flooded with people wanting to take a tour or stay, not to mention winding up on the “local color” part of the news, or one of those ghost busting reality tv shows.

              Reply
              1. Not So NewReader

                The problem I see is that CEO wants certain info and not others. This is not a good way to gain the respect of the people you lead, as to those on the front lines the selected information seems willy-nilly and subject to the whim of the CEO.

                I mentioned up thread where a ghost issue was not dealt with and the place ran amok. Management could not get a handle on all the was wrong. The turn over in help was high.

                If people are complaining about strange things going on, even installing motion detector lighting in darker corners might be of some comfort to people and show that management is concerned for safety and security.

                Reply
    2. Morning Glory

      In defense of the LW, she said that she felt the context of bringing up ghost sightings in a professional context should seem less credulous, and that this was a continuation of poor judgment for what to include for these reports.
      I don’t think the inclusion of multiple guest reports/complaints about anything is inherently ridiculous to include in this type report, as an outsider, and if this were a one-off incident I would be sympathetic to the employee. But it sounds the LW already has given guidance on what to include or not include, and some employees are continuing to include inappropriate information and that the employee worded this as a potential genuine haunting as opposed to an FYI about what guests are saying.

      Reply
      1. Leatherwings

        Yeah, I think that the context of “my employees have demonstrated bad judgement in other areas and can’t get the hang of this report despite a lot of guidance” is pretty key here.

        Reply
          1. Leatherwings

            It’s a little hard to tell what the training has been like as Alison mentions – maybe OP has just been addressing this on a case-by-case basis but it’s also possible they’ve received substantial guidance on this already.

            Reply
        1. SallytooShort

          Actually she said *this* employee always hands in reports just as she’d want and this was sudden “bad judgment.”

          The employee hasn’t had a consistent issue with bad judgment and the LW is still jumping on her for this.

          From the letter:

          “Her reports have been pretty much what I’m looking for since the beginning of the year — this is a pretty sudden bombardment of bad judgement!”

          Reply
          1. Morning Glory

            Bombardment is a key word in that quote, though – the employee did make a misjudgment by mentioning the ghost sightings. She also included:

            “that the department was out of printer paper and staples, and that the desk calculator was starting to break. I’ve already addressed these things — clarifying that office supply requests should be directed to me, or to any of the managers on duty when I am not in the office, and that this sort of thing doesn’t belong on an incident report.”

            Reply
            1. SallytooShort

              But it isn’t a consistent issue. And I still don’t think the ghost mention was totally out of line if it was a genuine guest report. The way she did it can change. But these are entry level employees who probably don’t make very much. Her judgment was right, imo, just not her wording. And that’s an advanced skill.

              Reply
            2. Not So NewReader

              What I see here is a frustrated employee sick of management who does not listen. Not directed at you OP because you and the CEO are new. So previous management sucked and this is their legacy.

              You are only 3 months into the job and your CEO is wondering why you don’t have a handle on this? I went in on a less severe situation and it was 6 months before things lightened up. It was a full year for them to get used to the fact that they had a new boss. What I see here is a CEO that has no clue on how long it takes to turn a crew around. In turn, you have demands on you that you cannot fill and you are asking things of your employees that they cannot give.

              Reply
    3. Important Moi

      +1

      WeevilWobble, I just wanted to chime in. I read all comments and when I finally got to yours I said “Somebody who sees this as I do.”

      Reply
  18. Squeegee Beckenheim

    If I were the CEO or whoever, I’d be greatly amused by someone mentioning ghosts in what is probably a fairly boring report.

    As for getting your team to do the reports the way you want, send out examples of what a good report looks like. Be sure to have a few examples that are short and uneventful to show that’s okay. I know sometimes it can feel weird doing a “nothing happened” report, so show them you won’t think that’s lazy if in fact, nothing happened.

    Reply
  19. The Other Dawn

    If it were me, I’d be thinking this is something to put in the report, especially if it wasn’t clear to be what is considered an issue and what isn’t. One person reporting ghosts wouldn’t go into a report, but multiple reports by many different people would likely go in it. But I also would’ve asked someone before doing that, knowing that the report will be seen my upper management. Is there a shift supervisor she could have asked? If not, then, as others have mentioned, I think it’s time for a template with examples and a written procedure, especially since other employees are adding things that shouldn’t be on the report.

    Reply
    1. Student

      The thing is, what do you expect the CEO to do about guest reports of a ghost? Or printer paper shortages, or a broken calculator? Do you think it’ll impact the CEO’s value in the company, or that this necessitates the CEO being directly involved in order to fix it?

      To do these kinds of reports correctly, you need to be able to put yourself in the reader’s head a bit. What does the reader care about? No to ghost reports. Yes to broken water mains.

      Reply
      1. Liz2

        But is it reasonable to expect a first job type to have any real way to do that? Their boss is telling them “This is the log of Important Things which happen on your shift. Log stuff in and then send out to John, James and Sarah.”

        The employee just wants to do a good job and not mess up, so they will note Important Things to them. It’s completely reasonable for them to not question why it’s happening this way or what will be done with the reports- that’s a management issue!

        Reply
      2. hbc

        But it’s not just the CEO, it’s to all layers of management.

        And really, the conversation would probably be going the other way if suddenly there were thefts and it came up that the employee had failed to report that multiple guests noticed unusual activity. Or if the employee said “We don’t have ghosts,” the guest filed a complaint about being called a liar, and the employee was told that they should have raised the question so everyone could be told how to respond to spooked guests.

        Reply
      3. Kate 2

        Yeah, but these reports are *also* going to lower level people who could fix that stuff. I’m guessing the employees are writing for the lower level people, whereas OP wants them to write as if they were reporting only to the CEO. I can understand the confusion when there are multiple readers with different interests, that is hard to write for.

        Reply
      4. Trout 'Waver

        Knowing how a CEO would respond to things is a pretty advanced skill that requires training and feedback to master.

        Reply
      5. LBK

        But the CEO wouldn’t have any involvement in any of the things the OP lists as examples of stuff that should be on the report. It’s all an FYI to her anyway. So “do I expect the CEO to do anything about this?” isn’t the right question to ask to determine whether it should go on the report, because I wouldn’t expect the CEO to do anything about plumbing maintenance either.

        Reply
      6. Falling Diphthong

        What do I expect the CEO to do about anything I, a lowly entry level minimum wage worker, would observe and put in the daily report about things that happened? This has been mentioned a few times, but these seem to require a level of triaging and analysis–THIS is a great thing to tell the CEO, owner, and every layer in between–I wouldn’t expect entry level employees to have. (I would definitely worry that having nothing to report made me look like I was ignoring problems, rather than totally on top of all the things.)

        Putting yourself in the reader’s head is a skill for a lot of jobs, but it doesn’t seem to intersect well here for the way they’re using it. Maybe “daily” was to try and get around people not remembering by the end of the week or month. Maybe there’s a reason multiple top managers want unfiltered daily reports from the entry level employees–I’m thinking of The Big Short going out and looking at actual houses in those mortgage slush funds–but if you ask for a pile of unfiltered raw data, you have to expect most of it to be not useful.

        Reply
    2. artgirl

      Agreed. Particularly since the segment of the report where the multiple ghost sightings were included was called “Issues to be Addressed”. She didn’t say the ghosts need to be removed, just that these reports need to be addressed. Sounds like a developing issue to me.

      Reply
      1. essEss

        If multiple guests are reporting “ghost sightings” in the same area, then lighting should be improved in that area since guests are obviously feeling uncomfortable and seeing shadows big enough to hide people.

        Reply
      2. Alexi lynn

        I think that expecting a weekend hospitality worker to be able to diagnose ghost sightings as a hvac, security, or poison gas from a backed up sewer pipe issue is a leap. It sounds like the worker gave the detail on what was heing reported and someone with more experience could make that call. If the company owner wants the unfiltered feedback, then I think the process worked correctly.

        Reply
  20. Dovahkiin

    This is gonna be a pain for you and I’m sorry, but consider proofing these reports for the next few weeks/months before they go out to the top of the chain.

    It’s cool if some of the staff are quicker to gain the “privilege” to mail out reports w/out first sending them to you before other staff. That’s pretty normal. Some people can do reports really well and some can’t. Particularly since you know your staff has judgment problems.

    Other people have mentioned it here as well – a report template with little room for paranormal tangents will help too.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      That’s a good point, OP doesn’t have the approve the reports forever, they may be able to find out which staff have enough judgement to be a “report sender” and which need to send it to somebody else before it goes up the chain. That’s not a bad way to handle this workload task if you ask me.

      Reply
  21. Voice from the wilderness

    If there is a lack of judgement reflected in the report, then you will have to provide it.

    The report should only be sent if you approve it. When you see an issue, you can address it, without having it get to the big bosses.

    Reply
  22. mf

    Am I the only who thinks it’s weird that the CEO is reading daily reports on facilities-related stuff? Unless this is a really small business, it seems like there should be someone under the CEO who can handle this and decide what should be escalated up the chain of command.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I agree. It can make sense to be that hands-on when you’re trying to correct a problem (but the CEO and the owner?) but that part sounds out of the OP’s hands.

      Reply
      1. LBK

        My guess is that some major incident went unreported to the CEO that should have been, so her solution was a sweeping “you will now report every thing that happens every day” mandate rather than targeting the causes of that specific situation (eg coaching/disciplining the manager or whoever should’ve been responsible for running that info up the chain).

        Reply
        1. LBK

          Ah – never mind, I missed that this is a new CEO, so I agree with ExcelJedi that it’s more likely she’s trying to get a feel for what’s going on in the business as part of the transition.

          Reply
        2. JamieS

          Well it’s possible the new CEO walked into a major kerfuffle and that’s what inspired the new procedures. Regardless I’m wondering if the CEO really just wants to know about really major things (entire hotel flooded, building fire, SWAT team incident, etc.) and hasn’t effectively communicated that.

          Reply
    2. ExcelJedi

      I can see if if the CEO is new and it’s a smaller business. I’ve seen plenty of people transition in wanting to know EVERYTHING for a few months, then starting to delegate more after they get a lay of the land. If it continues for more than a couple of months, though, then I’d think it was weird.

      Reply
      1. Lil Fidget

        Ok fair enough, but if that’s their attitude I feel like OP can’t blame the junior staff for knowing they shouldn’t be included “everything” on their reports. They wanted to know what the maids-eye view of the situation is, then they get stapler refills and ghosts.

        Reply
    3. Dust Bunny

      Yeah, I did. Our executive director doesn’t do that. I’m not even sure our departmental supervisor does that very often (he doesn’t need to unless we’re having problems with something).

      We actually did have a problem, briefly, with a particularly credulous employee hearing weird things in our warehouse. We finally figured out it was some piece of machinery owned by the company in the next suite. So . . . yeah, we were sort of having reports of ghosts. And it did sound super weird. We figured it out, though, without a lot of drama.

      Reply
        1. JessaB

          Yeh because if that weird noise from next door is a piece of machinery that’s going to blow if they don’t repair it and they don’t really hear it due to ambient noise on their shop floor, and only your side of the wall hears it, and you don’t TELL THEM? Baaad idea. I’m in the report weird noises camp every time. Does that lead to maybe an accusation of crying wolf? Probably, but I don’t want the one time I decide it’s nothing for it to be the boiler about to blow.

          Reply
          1. Kate 2

            Precisely! Maybe I am just more sympathetic to employee because I have been in the situation of having multiple managers. OP may not know it, but they could even be giving conflicting info on what to include, especially since they mentioned the weekend manager thought it was really funny.

            Also I have been blamed for not telling management about things that seemed unimportant, a small glitch, the copier making a weird noise but working normally, until it became a problem, computer system went down, copier broke, etc.

            The supplies thing reads to me, as others have said, like they are frequently running out of supplies. Are they being given a decent amount, so they don’t run out mid-shift and have to beg for more from a busy manager? Is someone stealing them? Clearly they aren’t getting enough supplies if they have to keep asking and asking for them.

            Reply
            1. Kate 2

              ETA: I meant I got reprimanded for including “unimportant” things, then I got reprimanded when there was a big problem and I didn’t tell management about the “unimportant” warning signs, then I still got reprimanded after that for doing as they told me and including the “unimportant” things again. So! No way to win for me.

              Reply
          2. Dust Bunny

            It literally sounded like a crying baby. Nobody around here has babies on the premises. It was honestly creepy beyond belief. Employee did not say “ghosts” but I’m 98% sure it was on her mind. Fortunately the rest of the department are raging skeptics and her superiors thought to ask the other business if they’d heard anything. I think they moved the machine or something.

            Reply
    4. FD

      I mean, we always wrote shift reports, but it was usually the GM who got them, not the CEO. I’m wondering if the CEO is a former GM and is just used to this.

      (Hotel GMs often end up taking the weird guest calls, and are heavily involved in the day to day operations of many hotels, so there is a logical reason for them to be in the know.)

      Reply
    5. Oilpress

      I think it is just as weird that a junior staff member is writing reports that the CEO reads. I feel like middle management (the letter writer?) should be doing this task based on input from the junior staff.

      Reply
  23. nnn

    Now I’m pondering what you’re actually supposed to do if your customers complain about ghosts. I genuinely have no idea.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      We had this! I worked in a reputedly haunted building. Management told us that if employees seemed generally scared/concerned, we should downplay the stories and reassure them (easy to do, since I don’t believe in ghosts), versus if they seemed excited we should play it up, as it was good for business – share a scary story you’ve heard, for example, or agree that the building was old with lots of history. It was pretty fun.

      Reply
      1. Dovahkiin

        dying to know – how do you reassure them??

        “I want to assure you that no one has gone missing….lately.”
        ” Carry this amulet and no harm shall come to thee.”
        “Line your windows and doors with salt, and I recommend making this anti-possession mark somewhere on your skin with permanent marker”

        Reply
        1. FD

          I’m imagining one of those drawers of holding I think every hotel has–the ones that are stuffed with random crap like nail files, toiletries, wet wipes–only filled instead with various protective charms. In ziploc bags, at least half of which no one closed the last time they were used.

          Reply
          1. Lil Fidget

            Hehehe these are all great thoughts. The answer is a lot more boring. I just said something like, “I’ve been working here for years and never had any weird experiences, even when I was here late and alone at night. I don’t think there are any real ghosts, but people like to pretend.” But that’s not nearly as fun.

            Reply
    2. BadPlanning

      Do you…
      Ask facilities to check for drafts, cracked windows, doors that aren’t closing tight?
      Ask security to do a walk through and review security tapes?
      Check online if your business is suddenly deemed Haunted? And this may or may not be good for business?

      Reply
    3. SallytooShort

      Say “no we haven’t ever had any such reports or sightings. I will definitely have maintenance check your floor though.”

      Then actually make sure maintenance goes up. There may be drafts or a flickering light or something. Trees outside the building may need to be trimmed (they are scratching at the windows.) Service elevator might be making strange sounds (since the service elevator is usually out of sight people don’t really connect it with an elevator.) And, of course, the absolute worst case scenario it could be rodents making noises and running quickly past your sight line (I’d prefer ghosts.)

      Also, have security periodically check the floor. if there are families staying then kids could be playing games.

      This happens more than you’d think at hotels. It’s not really as out there as people might think. I mean the idea of actual ghosts is. But I’d bet most people who worked in hotels for a long enough period of time have had a guest say something like this.

      And it’s very rarely based on absolutely nothing. Usually it’s a fixable problem.

      Reply
    4. Falling Diphthong

      I’m thinking of those machines where you put in a quarter and it gives you a handful of kibble for the koi/llamas/goats/etc.

      Reply
  24. Student

    You don’t need 100% staff turnover until all your desk employees have as good of judgement as your shift managers. You need to change the way this memo gets dealt with to account for the fact that the people who staff a hotel reception desk are not going to consistently be people with good judgement about what a CEO wants to be kept int he loop on. That’s just not their job.

    Instead of letting your staffers send this memo out directly to the CEO, do what managers have done from time immemorial when worried their staff would embarrass them in front of their own boss. Have the staffers send the memo to YOU or your equivalent on-shift manager. Have that manager review the memo and strip out the more creative bits, along with other normal editing. Then send the memo to the CEO and his crew. Explain to your own manager that you can’t force your staff to have good judgement about this assignment; you’ve tried and they just can’t relate to what your CEO wants to know about.

    This is pretty much exactly what middle management is actually for.

    Reply
    1. Purplesaurus

      You need to change the way this memo gets dealt with to account for the fact that the people who staff a hotel reception desk are not going to consistently be people with good judgement about what a CEO wants to be kept int he loop on. That’s just not their job.

      This! They were presumably hired for their skills and judgement in dealing with customers.

      Reply
  25. Leigh Scarlett

    Can we have/Has there been a workplace ghost stories thread? Because that would be awesome. We had a random person OD in our utilities closet, and people swear he haunts the showroom. We call him Hank.

    Reply
        1. Lil Fidget

          Maybe you saw it subconsciously and that’s what put the idea in your head in the first place. I sometimes have to chalk it up to that :P

          Reply
  26. with a twist

    I love that fact that one of the links in the “You May Also Like” section is the guy who ghosted his ex and now she is his boss. Haunting indeed!

    Reply
  27. GreatLakesGal

    I’m not sure I would call this poor judgment.I think that flagging a potential guest complaint, and/or noticing the potential for ‘difficult’ guests is relevant.

    Given OPs examples it wasn’t clear to me that those issues were not to be included on the report.

    I agree a form is the way to go, though. And review before submitting to the CEO.

    Reply
  28. LSP

    I wonder if OP would have the time to do a quick review of these reports before they go to upper management. Not forever, but for a week or two after having a serious discussion with your staff about your expectations for these reports, and provide them with a list of examples of things that do and don’t belong in these reports.

    Reply
  29. Kaitlyn

    I think you have a scale problem with these reports. Your staff should be reporting things like office supplies, “ghosts” (read: unusual guest interactions) and other mundane daily minutiae to you, their boss; that same level of information shouldn’t be making it to the next levels of management. Ask if, instead of daily briefing, you can submit a weekly report to upper management; provide your own staff with a checklist-style daily report where they can report both department-specific issues as well as larger concerns like health, fire, safety, etc.

    Reply
  30. mcr-red

    Look at this like any problem: who is exactly supposed to fix this and how? If the ghosts are simply standing around, there’s not much anyone can do except tell them to stop that, and that’s not something a CEO is going to need to be told about. If someone’s getting physically attacked, then that’s something you need to inform the CEO about, as they are going to want to know why no one will work there anymore and decide if they need to call Ghostbusters.

    I think you need to go over the forms one more time with her and as people said, show her some examples of what does and doesn’t belong on the form, and what she needs to take care of on her own. “Stapler needing refilled, refill stapler. If no staples, tell me or the manager on duty. Guest complains about bedbugs, inform maintenance and put on incident report. Guest complains about lurking ghost, tell security to make sure there’s no one hanging around. If there isn’t, walk upstairs and tell ghost to cut it out. Nothing that needs to be on incident report.”

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader

      While I have never had ghost trouble and really don’t think too much about it, my main thought is to tell the spirit to leave and it does not belong here.
      I gave this advice to a friend who said her late family member had taken up residence in the bathroom. My friend when home, told the spirit to leave and that was the end of it.
      I guess I just look at it from a practical view and there is not much thrill/upset there for me. So that is what I would tell my employees.
      But I would remain open to conversation because flickering lights might NOT be a ghost and should be reported. There are other things that can seem weird and incorrectly attributed to spirits. I would be on the look out for those types of things.

      Reply
  31. AnonAnon

    We could dismiss this as an error of judgement but to me, when I hear these stories I simply read it as people not feeling safe in the place they are in.

    Where I worked (1850s building) These ‘spooky’ events once gently probed, often translated to:
    – maintanence issues (lights flickering, bulbs going, pipes clanking, sound traveling up vents).
    – lone/late working issues (if people had doors closed you didn’t know who was in/out)
    – security night staff being unreliable and coming in silently!
    – bad building design (low lights, long corridors with bad orientation etc)
    – links to poor behaviours / performance of responsible persons or budget restrictions (ie works not being completed as soon as they should be, like lighting issues)

    I also think the process mentioned is unfair to the staff: a template format should guide the writer to include needed info (as a commenter already suggested to be more specific) and if it needs a ‘strategic’ filter between front line staff comment and governance report, that should be the managers job. Otherwise you are just going to berate them in an endless loop about something you are paid to know, and that’s just demoralising.

    Reply
    1. Lil Fidget

      Yeah the ghost example is a bad one as it’s a juicy judgement call (and to be honest I’d suspect the CEO got a kick out of it). The stapler example is more relevant to the OP’s question, IMO.

      Reply
  32. LKW

    This sounds like a passive aggressive approach known as “malicious compliance” where a request is performed to the the letter (as instructed). It’s usually used when the powers that be haven’t thought through the consequences of their request “All power strips must be turned off each night” thereby powering down the servers that need to remain online to support remote staff or by customers who are being belligerent – again not realizing that they are shooting themselves in the foot “I ordered a cheeseburger not a hamburger!” even though a hamburger costs less.

    You can see some fun examples at Reddit.

    Reply
  33. Hiring Mgr

    Just wanted to mention that multiple guests reporting hearing noises or seeing odd things seems way more important than the stapler being empty!

    Now here’s a joke: What to The Sixth Sense and Titanic have in common?

    Icy dead people..

    Reply
    1. A Cita

      hahahahhaha!!!!!

      I know you’ve been slammed for your dry humor in threads recently, but I want to let you know, I ALWAYS LOVE reading it! (And maybe because I do dry as well, I’ve always been able to recognize it for it is.)

      Reply
  34. nnn

    In terms of immediately practical advice, LW could advise employees to err on the side of not including things in the report that the CEO is copied on. “If you’re not sure if it meets the criteria for the CEO report, leave it out and report it to me privately,” or some such script.

    This should address the immediate problem of the CEO getting copied on petty things while you work out more lasting solutions like making a template or rethinking the organization’s reporting structure or calling ghostbusters or whatever.

    Reply
  35. Anony McAnonface

    If this is a sudden thing, guests complaining about ghosts, it might be worth it to look into your carbon monoxide levels. Carbon Monoxide poisoning causes people to think they see ghosts and if multiple guests are asking about them, then it might be worth making sure there isn’t a gas leak somewhere.

    Reply
  36. accidental manager

    We have employees who aren’t experienced with report writing who need to produce a short report every day or every shift. They are often unsure of what kinds of details are appropriate to put in, and they either put in too little or too much. It takes practice and encouraging feedback for them to hit the sweet spot of putting the right amount of information in the reports and writing with a tone suitable for clients. I think part of it is that they look for the interesting things that happen, what they would tell me on the phone about what happened that day and how they were able to contribute something different — but like your ghost queries, we don’t want those things in the client report. Part of what helped us was to start a shift-log notebook, where each shift supervisor writes notes for the next shift and they turn that in later. So even if they didn’t get to put the coyote sighting and the train derailment on the other side of town and the way our worker caught the wrong labelling by paying attention into their client reports, they did get to tell their peers and management.

    Also, if “nothing to report” really is okay to put on their daily reports, you need to show them some examples to work from and you need to reassure the people who did write “nothing to report” that they are doing a good job.

    Reply
    1. accidental manager

      And yeah, if there are small service requests like “calculator about to break” or “burned out light bulb”, make sure that your employees know the right way to report them, and then also demonstrate that reporting them (with a service ticket or whatever) is sufficient by making sure that maintenance or whoever gets on those reports right away. It’s pretty easy for a group to share an idea that “oh, nobody does anything if you call in to complain about the running toilet/flickering light/sticky lock, don’t bother”. So of course if those things bother someone, they’re going to escalate.

      Reply
      1. Erin

        Maybe having 2 notebooks. One for very important stuff with a list of examples on the cover, this is the report to send to the higher ups. Then a regular mundane one about burnt out lightbulbs and broken calculators. That way your employees feel that they’re being listened too.

        Reply
  37. Turquoisecow

    OP, is it possible for you to review your team’s reports before the CEO and other higher ups see them?

    I’ve never worked in hospitality, but as a fairly junior person, the only reports I’d send to anyone that high above me might be system generated dollar reports, ie something I pulled from a reporting portal and not something that I personally wrote. And even then, my boss would sometimes want to see the reports before I sent them up the chain, since if there were anomalies, Boss would want to be able to speak to them without getting blindsided by questions. Part of my current job involves sending out reports, and after a few incidents in which errors were shown (due to unforeseen somewhat technical complications), my boss now reviews them before we send them, so I (and he) don’t look stupid for sending out bad information.

    This might not be possible if management wants to see the reports immediately, but maybe there are a few things that you need or want to see that the CEO and owner don’t need to see, especially since the employees seem vague on what should be included.

    Reply
  38. Murphy

    Ghostbuster jokes aside, is it clear “who to call” in these situations? Because it sounds like your employees are putting anything that they think needs to be addressed on the report. (And without my having any additional training, this seems somewhat reasonable.) Is it clear what to do if there’s something that a) needs to be addressed and b) upper management doesn’t need to be notified about. Because I would say that multiple people mentioning something strange (“in the neighborhood…” Oh God I can’t stop) is worth mentioning, though it might not be clear that it doesn’t belong on the report.

    Maybe she was also stumped about what to do about it!

    Reply
  39. Game of Scones

    It seems odd that low level employees are expected to send emails so many levels upwards through management all the way to the CEO and owner. That’s not normal from my experience.

    If the CEO and owner are very sensitive about the content of the messages, then it may be a good idea to have an intermediate manager review them before sending them all the way up the chain.

    Reply
  40. Tea, please

    I agree with many of the posters about the need for a drop down menu for the report or for it to be screened by someone.

    Having managed many people new to the work place and in entry level positions, training in judgement is really hard because the scope of their jobs doesn’t allow them a complete understanding of the responsibilities of someone higher up. Also, I’ve observed it was hard for my staff members to differentiate between “HUGE issue to me” and “HUGE issue for the organization” because of this lack of perspective. At least in my work, I thought it was beneficial to have my staff have their focus on their job responsibilities because it was my job to see the big picture. We had regular staff meetings so everyone could see the moving pieces along with regular check ins so we could talk about why decisions were made, but I also can’t remember putting a staff person in a high-stakes reporting position unless I was very specific about what I needed and I previewed it first. To an extent, I think that people far removed from the executives will never have enough information to be able to make the appropriate judgement calls consistently in a report like this. So, the system should be set up so that minimizes the decision making.

    I can understand the decision making of the employee who reported on the ghosts. It was a huge thing to her given the % of time she spent on it during her shift. And, to be honest, if I was a CEO of a hotel, I’d like to know if there were rumblings of ghosts because that could definitely blow up on social media, for better or worse.

    Reply
  41. Canto Bight

    There’s lots of suggestions in the comments saying the LW should edit the report before it goes to the CEO, but that ignores are more reasonable alternative, which is to provide edits and feedback, send them back to the desk staff, and have them incorporate the feedback and send the report on. Over time, desk staff will (ideally) learn what is and isn’t appropriate to include, and can be released to send the reports on their own without editing.

    I also have to say… if this staff person always showed good judgment and wrote appropriate reports up until this day, maybe there was an extenuating circumstance that spurred this. A hotel reception desk being entirely out of printer paper and staples seems pretty dire. If this employee was following the office supplies procedures before and still hasn’t gotten any dingdang printer paper to provide receipts to guests, maybe she was frustrated enough to elevate it above the usual procedure.

    Reply
  42. Letter Writer

    Hi everybody! So, first of all, I want to address Alison’s response:

    1. After I wrote in, I did get some further information from one of the managers higher up the chain than me but not in my direct chain-of-command. Apparently the guests totally surprised my employee with this question and she was “pretty freaked out”. Manager seemed to think it was all just so hysterically funny, and that the inclusion in the report was a hilarious cherry on top.

    2. The suggestion that I talk to her in person — I actually decided to come in on Saturday to do this. The reason I originally prepared a note instead of just talked to her is that technically, we don’t ever regularly see each other on a normal schedule — she covers the day shift on my days off. I was worried that if I came in just to talk to her about this issue it would seem like I was blowing it entirely out of proportion. Luckily, several other things came up during the week that I felt needed addressing in person, so I was able to make it a bullet point in a longer conversation. I went over with her again the intended purpose of the report and the sort of thing that belonged on it — and her response was that my rehash of the instructions “made sense”. We’ll see, I suppose.

    3. Yeah, I can’t really argue with the need to look at my team and decide if they should stay on. I honestly wish I could rehire a whole new team. It’s not an option for me at the moment.

    Frankly, I don’t want to stay here. This is a dysfunctional family business and everyone in management sucks and isn’t going to change. I’ve been looking since a month after I started as manager, and I’m planning to move on as soon as I find something else.

    My purpose in writing was mostly because I… well, to be honest, I was one of Those Obnoxious Skeptics/Atheists as a teenager, and while I have grown up and past that attitude and really tried to be more of a respectful, understanding person, I’m wary of falling back into the ‘people who Believe In Fake Things Are Stupid’ mindset, so I wanted to check myself against an unbiased source. Good to hear it’s not just my asshole-inner-self talking!

    I really do appreciate Alison and everyone else’s comments, but before I start responding to individual comments I want to just… note, I guess, that I have extremely limited power to change things and that I am being micromanaged by lots of people who don’t want to hear suggestions, and that this is coloring my responses to what would normally be good advice.

    Reply
    1. Tea, please

      Sorry to hear how terrible your workplace is! It sounds like you have a lot of good management instincts despite being new to it. If you are job searching, I hope you can find a new place of work that respects you and supports your growth.

      Reply
    2. fposte

      I think you’re very wise to realize that there are limits on what you can do in that situation and to manage your energy accordingly, but we’re very glad you wrote in about ghost reports. Good luck to you in your search!

      Reply
    3. Letter Writer

      So the general tone I’m getting from the comments is: this “report is vaguely defined, and stupid, and shouldn’t be done by entry level employees”, and guess what?

      Y’all are totally correct!

      I don’t want to go into too many specifics because, like, it’s centered around the way this department is structured and has been for many years before I started working here. The problem is not this report — the problem is that my staff have way too many conflicting responsibilities and upper management thinks ‘tell them to write everything down, and then micromanage what they’re writing down’ is the best way to handle this problem.

      It’s partially a function of being a really small place and that forcing most people to wear multiple hats, (we’re not legally small enough to fit the definition of Small Business, I don’t think? But close), and partially a function of mismanagement.

      Reply
      1. Purplesaurus

        Hoo boy. I’m sorry you’re in the situation. I guess the best advice for you at this point is job searching advice, and you’re already at the right place for that.

        Reply
      2. Letter Writer

        Also I must say I *really* appreciate the reality check from everyone about how fair my expectations are, and I am absolutely going to try harder to keep it in mind while I am still here. I thought that I had taken and discarded the ridiculous expectations from above and adjusted my own expectations accordingly, but I can see that the owner and CEOs idea of appropriate expectations is *so* far above reality that merely adjusting downwards isn’t cutting it.

        The CEO and owner have been very clear (in many, many areas — staffing is only one of them) that they want champagne on a… not even on a beer budget, on a sparkling water budget, and meanwhile that they want me to turn *this particular* glass of sparkling water into champagne because I’m not getting any different ones coming in.

        I’m planning to leave ASAP, but in the meantime I’m working with what I have. My options are either to try to gently nudge my staff into performing in line with unreasonable expectations, or to somehow communicate to upper management that their expectations are not reasonable. I have had some success with kindly but firmly guiding people to get closer, as close as is possible for each individual, to these expectations. I have not, historically, had success in changing things from above, and neither did my predecessors.

        Reply
        1. ShakespearesGirl

          As someone who works at a hotel in with a similar situation, do you have any way for them to record the smaller things? My first instinct was that your hotel doesn’t sound like it has any kind of redbook or online equivalent set up to help record the more minor issues. Trust me when I say–this will help SO MUCH. Even if it’s just a “Please put all supply requests on an orange sticky note at my desk” or “please record all minor maintenance issues on this sheet” it will cut down on a lot of the unnecessary details.

          Also, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working desk, it’s that the dumbest things seem like giant issues sometimes–for example, at one hotel I worked at our sister property sent us multiple guests who’d stayed in a certain room and all had similar nightmares. Me, I think it’s just weird coincidence, but they were convinced the room was haunted. Earlier today, I found a note saying a guest had demanded their room be changed because they were getting an “aggressive vibe” from the room they’d originally been assigned.

          FDAs want to document all of this because if they don’t, it inevitably comes back and bites them in the butt. For example, the time I didn’t document the angry guest who wanted an Aquafina from the Market when we were out? He called corporate, who called the hotel, who called me in the middle of my sleep cycle (I was audit at the time) demanding to know why I hadn’t reported the water was shut off last night. However, the time I documented the guy demanding I give him multiple welcome bags every day and threatening to have me fired when I refused, when the corporate complaint came through my manager could pull up the documentation for it and be like, “Yeah, no, he was abusing the privilege, this was handled in line with what our hotel standards are.”

          Basically, my experience with anyone working desk at a hotel is that we like to over document everything, just in case. A secondary outlet to do this would probably work wonders, here.

          Reply
      3. Forrest

        Ok, so now you’re saying management is constantly giving them conflicting information and yet it’s the employees fault that they can’t keep it all straight and they should be fired? You’re most likely going to just end up with the same problem with the new employees.

        Also, if multiple people came up to me and told me about a shadowy figure when y’all haven’t had these reports before – I would be freaked out. That’s perfectly normal and your boss seems to be mean by laughing at it.

        Reply
    4. Detective Amy Santiago

      This is a dysfunctional family business and everyone in management sucks and isn’t going to change.

      So that answers the question of “why are the CEO and owner reading these reports on a daily basis”. Good luck on your job search!

      Reply
      1. CEO

        But it is also true that the role of CEO at a small family business is different from the role of a CEO at a pre-IPO internet startup, which is different from the role of CEO at a Fortune 500 corporation.

        The first CEO is going to deal with a lot more minutae.

        Reply
    5. Falling Diphthong

      If someone makes Ask A Manager bingo cards, “family business” is going in the middle square.

      I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in reporting that a bunch of people thought they saw something weird. Whether they attribute it to ghosts, leprechauns, Norwegian spies, or over-excited air-conditioning units.

      Reply
      1. Kathleen_A

        That’s kind of where I fall, too. I rather doubt that there are such things as ghosts, but if I knew I was supposed to report issues, and if several guests reported a ghost…well, dang it, that’s an issue, right? If it doesn’t belong in this report, it definitely needs to be reported somewhere, somehow.

        Reply
  43. Hiring Mgr

    Rereading this letter, it doesn’t seem at all clear about what should or shouldn’t go in the report. For example, the OP mentions “maintenance issues”, so the CEO would need to know in a daily report that say room 706’s faucet was dripping? Mulitple reports of ghosts (or people/noises etc..) might be more relevant than that?

    In fact, why does the CEO want a daily accounting of these things in the first place–other than true emergencies… I might blame the employees less than the upper management that’s putting all this process into place to begin with.

    Reply
    1. NewJobWendy

      It’s very common in hospitality to write these sorts of daily reports, and it helps ensure that issues are being tracked and interdepartmental communication is occurring. It can also help provide a big picture view of hotel operations, especially when compared to guest complaints and on-line reviews. I’m struggling to articulate this in a concise manner, but as someone who has prepared and received these reports, they can be extremely helpful.

      Reply
      1. SallytooShort

        Definitely common. But, in my experience, it’s a pretty clearly laid out form/check-list. Not a free flow “whatever you think is relevant.”

        Reply
      2. Natalie

        But is it common to send these kinds of reports up to executive levels? I think that is the unusual part, and what might be throwing the staff off if their experience is at a more typical hotel where only the level or two above them sees the daily reports.

        Reply
        1. LBK

          Agreed – writing up that report for the hotel’s GM and maybe the district management makes total sense to me. Sending it to the CEO seems like overkill. At most, the CEO should be getting a periodic summary pulled together from someone in middle management of the most relevant things from the daily reports.

          Reply
        2. NewJobWendy

          Natalie, yes. At a mid-size, mid-brand hotel, shift reports went to every executive including the General Manager. Smaller hotels there may be only 1 level between the associate level and the executive level, which sounds like the case here.

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            I’m not sure if we’re using “executive” the same way? I wouldn’t call a General Manager an executive, but perhaps things are different in hospitality. Since this is not a tiny hotel with only two levels (OP is a manager and has “my boss, my boss’ boss, the CEO, and the owner”) I’m thinking they would have an executive branch somewhere disconnected from the day to day operations of each hotel they operate.

            Reply
            1. Nobody Here by That Name

              It’s not the same use of executive. In the hotel industry you do have your corporate executives, but within the hotel there’s the “Executive Team”, which typically consists of the hotel’s General Manager along with the department heads.

              Reply
    2. Nacho

      I assume the letter writer didn’t feel the need to go into detail about what does or does not go in the letter, since that’s not really relevant. What’s relevant is that they’ve told their reports that certain things don’t go in the letter, and felt that it should go without saying that reports of ghosts wouldn’t go in it, but are still having issues with people including them.

      Reply
  44. animaniactoo

    I think *telling* your employee that they shouldn’t have included this in their report is the wrong way to go.

    Given that they have previously been giving reports that look like what you want to be seeing recently, I would first ask WHY they thought this was worth mentioning and what they expected the resolution might be.

    Likewise I’d ask why the small minutiae got included. Does she understand who this report is going to? Why does she think they would be interested in knowing about those sorts of things?

    For the former, you might find that she thinks there’s something structurally going on and didn’t phrase her documentation well so that would be understood, and that she expects someone might come take a look at what might be causing those shadows and whether it’s worth doing anything about.

    For the latter, you might find that you haven’t been clear about the impact these reports have – that what’s on there is stuff that THEY should want to know about, and you need to be clearer about that. OR you might find that she thinks things aren’t moving fast enough to get these small issues taken care of in her estimation and she is essentially thinking of this as “escalating” the mundane requests. In which case, you need to think about whether she’s right about that – if that calculator has been a problem for over a week, it should have been replaced by now; if this is not the first time that the printer department has run out of paper and staples, you need to look at making sure that stops happening. Take a close look at these things that are minutiae to you in terms of getting taken care of but a right PITA when you’re the desk clerk that has to explain to the guest why you can’t do XYZ at the moment. If she’s wrong about them, then you approach from a different angle – explaining what’s a reasonable time frame, or one off incidents vs repeated incidents, and her need to adjust her judgment about how important these things are in comparison.

    But I don’t think you can effectively address this until you ask *why* it is happening (did happen) rather than just trying to state the boundaries.

    Reply
  45. Kelsi

    I am very disappointed–I originally read the title as “my employee sent a memo to the ghosts in the building,” so I was expecting a very different kind of story!

    Reply
    1. Emmy Rae

      My first read was that the employee sent a memo to the manager OF the ghosts – an enviable position in the management chain!

      Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          In Harry Potter there was an entire bureaucracy, with hearings and procedures. It’s how Moaning Myrtle wound up haunting the toilet where she died, rather than freestyling around tormenting everyone who’d bullied her while she was alive.

          Reply
    2. Manager at Haunted Hotel

      Me too! I was thinking some assistant at a 8 to 5 office job emailed the CEO and said the copier was possessed or something. But this employee had reason to contact upper management. And haunted stories at a hotel are pretty routine in my experience.

      Reply
    3. oranges & lemons

      Dear Alison,
      I have received several memos and invoices from a ghostly presence who claims to be on payroll and is requesting a lot of special treatment. Recently we’ve had employees disappear, damage to company property, and now the deaths are starting to add up. Plus the tone of the memos is completely unprofessional. Please advise.

      Reply
    4. Jojobean

      Now I’m expecting an exchange like that one in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ — “Dear Hotel Ghost…”
      ______
      “Dear Firmin
      Just a brief reminder
      My salary has not been paid
      Send it care of the ghost by return of post
      P.T.O
      No one likes a debtor so it’s better if my orders are obeyed!”

      Reply
  46. Manager at Haunted Hotel

    Can you do a checklist with comment sections instead of a blanket report? We have an outline we follow. Did valet run smoothly? Where there any noise complaints? etc. And then a brief comments section. Even though you told them they could put, “no issues last night” they may still feel like they need to put something down.
    I guess our culture is different. We enjoy passing on ghost stories, always makes a good laugh on Mondays. (We are a very high end hotel, not some cheesy place that plays up the ghost stories). So I wouldn’t have a problem with an employee putting that comment.

    Reply
  47. Nobody Here by That Name

    OMG, it’s possible I’ve been waiting for this letter all my life. I’ve worked in both hospitality AND with ghosts. I’ve never been more qualified!

    Okay, so, on the hospitality side: incident reports are generally a required thing as part of the evening shift. I’m a bit confused on how this ended up in the CEO’s hands, though. Does the CEO have a particular interest in this hotel? Or is it that her having sent it to everyone including the CEO was part of the problem? If the latter, that makes more sense and yes should be addressed as part of the issue of her not getting how things are done.

    In terms of putting the ghost incident on the report in general, if this was multiple, separate guests reporting something (as opposed to a group of people in one party) I actually would want it on the incident report regardless of what it was. It’s guest feedback about something which could be a potential issue, in this case security since they thought they saw someone hanging around outside a door. Document it and discuss in the morning stand up if it needs a potential follow up, say by security in case it was somebody being where they shouldn’t or engineering if it was a faulty light or HVAC problem.

    From the ghost perspective: funnily enough when dealing with ghosts the first thing you want to do is figure out if it’s something mundane, so you’re right back to checking to see if it’s a problem with lights, or an unlocked door, or HVAC or whatever. So amazingly it’s the same solution. After that it’s really entirely dependent on the ghosts. I lived and worked in New Orleans where ghosts were a way of life and everybody treated hauntings as normal. If you’d told me you were in a New Orleans based hotel I wouldn’t have batted an eye at her including a mention of a ghost on the incident report. Your reference of the history of the town makes me think you might be talking something in Virginia or Florida though, which I’m not as familiar with.

    Without knowing more about the culture of your area or your hotel in particular (and understood why you can’t be more specific), I’d say another thing to do is be mindful of that culture and history and how you and the rest of your associates use it when dealing with your guests. Like if the local culture supports ghosts and such (like NOLA does) then lean into that, and if not then aim for a more “normal” vibe. Use that to turn these incidents into great opportunities for awesome guest engagement, such as by following up with putting a cheap Ghostbusters toy or a book on local hauntings on their beds when housekeeping refreshes the room, or something like that. Imagine the instagram possibilities when they see that on their return!

    As for the ghosts themselves, if they be real and active: some ghosts are nice and some are not. They are like people in that way. If the ghosts aren’t bothering anybody I wouldn’t worry about it. Little kid ghosts do tend to be inclined towards prank style behavior, though, so don’t confuse locking and unlocking doors, turning TVs off and on, and things like that with “evil.” They’re just having fun when they can’t play World of Warcraft, is all. =)

    Happy to answer any questions btw.

    Reply
    1. accidental manager

      I want to hear more about the ghost experience! Maybe AAM could interview you or you could tell us on Friday?

      Reply
      1. Nobody Here by That Name

        I’m amenable to either. I worked for a tour company in NOLA that did walking tours of haunted locations, among other offerings. There was always at least one kind of haunted activity on each tour. Not necessarily the same thing, but something would happen.

        I could speak to the types of hauntings, what would make it count as a haunting and not a faulty electric wire, ghosts I’ve met, all that kind of stuff. Just let me know =)

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          OMG, please come to either the Friday or Saturday open thread (depending on whether it’s more work or more non-work) and tell us all about this! I want to hear all of it!

          Reply
          1. Nobody Here by That Name

            Good question? It was my job so it qualified as work that way, but it’s not like I ever talked to ghosts about TIPS reports, so you tell me which thread is more appropriate?

            Reply
    2. lurker bee

      Thank you for your post! I was feeling rather lonely reading through the responses to this letter. I am in another part of the world where the idea of ghosts is respected, not looked down on, regardless of whether one personally believes in them or not. The fact that Hawaii is so multicultural means there are various heritages to draw on, from night marchers to faceless ghosts, with many others in between.

      Reply
      1. Nobody Here by That Name

        I know the feeling. I wasn’t a native to NOLA but I lived there for years and working as a tour guide gave me the chance to get deeply seeped in the history and the culture. Now that I don’t live there anymore I tend to be the odd one out when I say some ghosts are perfectly lovely and fun to hang out with.

        Reply
  48. Jaybeetee

    This report seems to be a canary in a coalmine for some bigger problems. That said, it sounds like the report itself is problematic: Is it a daily report or an incident report? Daily reports tend to include minutia-type stuff, whereas incident reports are for bigger things. And filling out a report and sending it “unfiltered” to ALL management seems like a bad call – these reports should be going to you, and then you can forward the bigger stuff up the chain. Does the CEO even *want* to spend time reading a “daily incident report”?

    Your staff sound entry-level and inexperienced, and also likely quite young. I remember managing museum staff – we had a few high-schoolers, quite a few college students, and a few recent graduates and older. But it was also a small place where those young’uns did find themselves rubbing shoulders with the higher-ups at times. We all liked that, and didn’t want them to be *scared* of, say, the Exec Director or Marketing Manager – but I did have to have a few *facepalm* conversations, particularly with the teenagers, that arguing with the ED, or getting emotional about a training procedure, or complaining about lack of supplies, at an all-staff meeting, wasn’t awesome. It’s cringey to us older folk with some experience, but I was managing people who in some cases had never had a job before, or had only worked retail or in huge companies where they’d never had that kind of face time with the grand-boss. It was a learned thing to teach them what to escalate, what to just let me know about, and what they could be trusted to handle on their own.

    If you haven’t yet done so OP, I’d recommend compiling a training manual, especially if you’re also dealing with part-time shift workers, who will inevitably be slower to pick up on new processes. I’m guessing some of your staff feel unsure of certain things and feel the need to guess, and would rather include too much than miss something potentially important and get into trouble. If there’s no shift supervisor they can go to, a quick reference guide, and a template for these reports, might prove helpful for when you’re not around and someone is trying to figure something out.

    Reply
  49. Guacamole Bob

    OP, do you have good communication systems in place for front-line employees and low to mid level management? I wonder if part of the problem is that employees don’t have a good place to put all their lower-level concerns, so they all end up in this report.

    I know you say that for the office supplies and burned out light bulbs and stuff the front-line employees should talk to you or a shift supervisor, but do the employees feel comfortable that these types of things are being addressed and communicated from the shift supervisor to you and/or your boss? If an employee thought that repeated questions about ghosts were unusual and had the sense that *someone* higher up should know in case it was significant, what is the right channel for that?

    I think it’s possible that the employee was pretty unnerved by these reports from guests, that the shift supervisor blew her off, and that she was still feeling unsettled and creeped out and decided to put them in the management report because she didn’t know what else to do with this weird thing that had happened.

    Reply
  50. Jar

    This was not the forum for this information to be captured and reported. BUT … if there is something happening that it affecting the customer experience, be it ghosts, noisy contractors, or anything else, it likely needs to be captured/recorded somewhere, even if it is just to monitor for trends. And what is to be noted is not the supposition that the cause is ghosts, but more so the actual observation (noise, draft, flickering electricity). There could be a problem in this old building that is emerging (let’s not jump to causal theories!!). All customer feedback is important; some discretion is needed in where and how this is reported though and what is actually sent up the chain and when.

    Reply
    1. RVA Cat

      Let’s also remember that the shadowy silhouette could have a more mundane but dangerous explanation, like a peeping tom.

      Reply
      1. SallytooShort

        “Let’s also remember that the shadowy silhouette could have a more mundane but dangerous explanation, like a peeping tom.”

        Which, sadly, does happen. Ask Erin Andrews.

        But it could also be mice. When they run very quickly on your periphery all you really register is a presence and some movement.

        Regardless, they should definitely look into what could be causing these reports.

        Reply
    2. Chloe Silverado

      Agreed! I work in an old building that is open to the public doing marketing for an organization. We recently got a Facebook message from a local paranormal expert (his words, not mine) who believes our building is haunted and wanted to come hunt for ghosts. I was chatting with my boss about social media and brought up the out-of-the-norm message. I told him I planned to ignore it and she actually asked me to pass the message along to my grandboss! Her reasoning was that ghost rumors could have an impact on PR/guest experience and if the ghost hunter showed up unannounced it could be highly disruptive to our organization. She wanted grandboss in the loop as a just in case/cya. In the OP’s case this report may not have been an appropriate forum (and it sounds like there is a misunderstanding generally about what should go in the report) but the frequency of the ghost-related guest feedback is worth mentioning to someone!

      Reply
    3. Guacamole Bob

      Exactly. If I’m on a different shift, how will I know that a bunch of guests reported seeing ghosts in the third floor hallway so that if another guest mentions something up there I’ll know it’s part of a pattern and that I should report that, too (for security/maintenance follow up)? Do I have a way to report all the minutiae of my shift so that I can trust that someone else will notice any relevant patterns, aside from this report?

      A lot of the problems that staff are having with these reports seem like symptoms of problems in the communications channels for lower-level issues.

      Reply
  51. Bea

    My easily amused and delighted side am internally cackling. I’ve worked for people who would not blink at these things being reported to them, the CEO sounds rigid to me.

    When you want reports from folks who aren’t at a level of responsibility as management, you will always get those who cannot eliminate the mundane every day from reportable issues. I see the problem here being the expectations of desk clerks being far too high and a CEO who is out of touch. I’m sorry you’re in this position because it’s a rock and a hard place, staff who don’t feel comfortable censoring what they report because if NOTHING reportable happened a few nights in a row many other managers would accuse them of not reporting incidents. And upper management who can’t skim a report and chuckle over a ghost story. Ick.

    Reply
  52. Morag

    Training on judgement can be tough, especially when you don’t have daily face time. I’d suggest you spell it out on a report form and/or chart with categories and examples of what needs reporting and to whom. Minor light bulb replacement/office supplies stuff to you; plumbing issues, guest complaints etc. to incident report. Gradually as incidents that aren’t spelled out occur, your employees may be able to categorize them correctly based on similarity to items on the chart. Guests reporting ghosts goes on the Other line you’ll put at the end.

    Reply
  53. Crystal

    I’m a “seasoned” experienced person and I would put this in the report if multiple people mentioned it. That tells me the hotel needs to come up with a blanket response to this inquiry and/or start promoting it to ghosthunters and/or see if it’s peeping toms, etc. I think the OPs response here is off base.

    Reply
    1. LCL

      I agree with you. Coincidentally, our remote site that has the most rumors of being haunted just had a rash of break ins. Security wants us to report this stuff, even if we think it’s ‘just the ghost’.

      Reply
    2. Tuxedo Cat

      I agree. I think the response should be aware of who their guests are. That is, some people truly do believe in ghosts. One of my good friends lives in area and it seems like many people there believe in ghosts and claim to have seen them. He and all of the people in his circle are educated. It sounds ridiculous to a lot of people, but I think it’s like faith in many ways. They’ve been very offended when people mock them.

      Reply
  54. Nita

    I really don’t see a clear distinction between things that need to go in the report (maintenance problems) and things that don’t (a burned-out lamp, supplies running low). The latter two are also maintenance problems, just less severe ones than a burst water pipe… although really, a burned-out lamp could also be a severe problem if it results in a trip hazard. Seriously, either all “problem” things should be in the report, or there should be some kind of guidance with the report about what to include.

    And the ghosts… as amusing as this is, the employee didn’t write “someone saw a ghost”, she wrote that guests asked if there were rumors the place is haunted and reported seeing something. She could have phrased this better, but it seems pretty factual. If multiple guests saw a shadow through their doors, that’s something management should know – maybe someone was in the building that shouldn’t be, or someone from the staff behaved less than professionally (stopping at the doors, trying to peek in). Or maybe someone was just walking down the hallway very late and a door was ajar somewhere, and the backlighting made them look all creepy.

    Reply
    1. a1

      Not all things that require maintenance are a problem. Changing light bulbs, vacuuming, sweeping up trash are all par for the course. A tub flooding or a toilet not working are not. It seems pretty clear to me.

      Reply
  55. Yorick

    The front desk staff may have issues they need to bring to their boss’ attention and feel they have no other way than in the daily report. But some of these won’t need to go to the CEO. LW, you should have your staff make reports to you, and then the you can make reports to the CEO.

    Reply
  56. Raven

    I’m slightly surprised you don’t just lean into it. Maybe you do have ghosts! There’s a pretty good tourist industry based around “spooky” experiences, and maybe the ghost tours in your town could start incorporating your hotel into their tours, bringing in extra revenue for you both, etc…

    Reply
  57. Student

    Example of why I can’t ever be a manager:

    I’d have just told the employees that the hotel has regular quarterly exorcisms as part of normal hotel maintenance, so unless the haunting reaches infestation-level it shouldn’t be reported to management.

    Reply
  58. ResuMAYDAY

    The OP is expecting multiple people, with different brains, experience and training to have the same judgement as her. Unless she improves the procedure, she’s always going to be facepalming mode.
    I wish the OP had acknowledge that her employees are trying to comply. They’re doing their job and that means that a happy conclusion is not that far off. Instead, she could be complaining that the report never gets done. If I were an employee, I would err on the side of ‘more information is better than less’.
    I agree with the other people who have said that a chart or spreadsheet needs to be made, that shows which type of situation goes on the report or are only verbally reported to the shift manager, etc. As new issues arise, the OP can decide under which column of the chart they belong. If something makes it to the report that doesn’t belong, the OP should stand up for her team and explain that it’s an ongoing process, rather than throwing them under the bus (which is what it sounds like she did).
    As a business owner and manager, I constantly have to remind myself that my employees do not have my same brain, so the way they solve problems and come to certain conclusions is going to be different than me, and that’s a really good thing.

    Reply
    1. a1

      This is not the OPs procedure. Per the letter it’s something the new CEO has implemented. Also, the OP has responded several times, fyi, if you want more info.

      Reply
  59. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    For training, you could start at the end result and work backward. For example, if the “incident” didn’t require any action (like, a guest noted that they heard a noise) that doesn’t get included; if it requires prompt, but not immediate or emergency attention (like refilling the paper in the printer or changing a light bulb), it also doesn’t get included; if the incident requires immediate attention, but the situation is easily resolved by staff and no further action is required (like a noisy group in the lobby) that also doesn’t get reported; anything requiring emergency maintenance/police/fire/manager intervention/a member of the clergy, that does get included.

    Reply
  60. Emma

    I came to the comments to see people laughing about the ghost part, but I’m surprised to see we’ve got a lot of ghost defenders here! This is totally weird to report and displays a remarkable lack of judgment to send a report like that to the head of a company!!

    Reply
    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      Did you read the comments that suggested there could be mundane and potentially dangerous explanations for the “ghost sightings”?

      Reply
    2. Aiani

      Yeah I am sort of surprised by that as well. I wonder if a lot people haven’t worked nights before because my experience working nights as a security officer tells me that you will get so many weird reports like this in any building where people have to work at night. It’s inevitable. If there is building security they should still investigate just in case something is going on but I would take it with a grain of salt.

      Reply
      1. SallytooShort

        I worked nights in a hotel through out college. If you are in hospitality you can NOT just ignore guest complaints because they are weird if you are in hospitality. They almost always reflect a genuine concern. Like a facilities problem or a rodent problem or a human beings being where they shouldn’t problem.

        Reply
        1. Aiani

          Oh no, I definitely wouldn’t ignore reports like this working in security either. Someone would go and check the situation/area of the incident. I just wouldn’t send something like this to the company CEO either. But from the OP’s updates it sounds like really there are much bigger problems going on where they work and they don’t have the power to change things.

          Reply
          1. SallytooShort

            I think most of us wouldn’t send any reports to the CEO ever at that stage of our careers. But in this job they are being forced to do that every shift. So it becomes about what is worthy of reporting.

            Reply
            1. LBK

              Right – on a daily basis, I’ve literally never done something at work that I thought would be worth telling the CEO of my company about. But the CEO’s already requested more information than a CEO typically needs, so that makes the line very blurry.

              Reply
    3. LBK

      I think if you actually read most of those comments there’s pretty good, realistic explanations from people who aren’t bonkers supernatural believers for why you might want to report something like that. Maybe give that a shot instead of just skimming and then being incredulous when you have the information at your disposal to explain the logic behind it.

      Reply
    4. Catabodua

      This is a hospitality business. If multiple guests are taking the time to talk to someone about noises or thinking there is someone outside their door that is really serious and as a higher up I’d want to know. You don’t want to ignore that and have the customer reviews later say they reported someone outside their door and management didn’t do anything.

      Reply
  61. Bananka

    What really stood out to me is the fact that non managerial employees send reports to upper management without having these reports checked by the manager prior to sending. I understand that this is shift work, but the LW as a manager should find a way to vet (and adjust if necessary ) any report from her subordinates going out to the company. I would assign the review duty to more senior/trustworthy employee on LW’s days off. Nothing to say on the ghosts, but my guess would be don’t bring them up to the CEO unless customers are leaving because of them.

    Reply
    1. Goya de la Mancha

      Agreed, if this is something that’s going to the higher ups, it should not be coming from the shift staff. Our shift reports come direct to the admin office and we delegate/problem solve from there. If the company head needs to be brought into the loop, then it’s done by our Supervisor.

      Reply
    2. Curious Cat

      Absolutely, sounds like they need a review process. And it sounds like other managers are on staff when LW isn’t there, so it could definitely be going through them. And doing it on the spot before going to upper management would allow the problems to be addressed and fixed immediately.

      Reply
  62. Not Here for It

    Is there a local hospitality professional group the OP can network through? I worked in hospitality management for a little over ten years and there was usually a standard template that every hotel would use for these reports and would not leave a lot of room for these kinds of notes. Through a group the OP could find a few other managers happy to share their templates. It’s good to stress that these reports are for the most urgent information as well. Ghosts are just kind of a part of the hotels, especially in older buildings. Employees will collect stories from guests and have a few “experiences” of their own. You will occasionally have a guest that has extreme sensitivity and strongly request a ghost free room. It is not unusual either to have employees who are part of cultures that take them a little more seriously. At the end of the day, it’s recreation and that’s it.

    Reply
  63. Wrench Turner

    I’ve worked very late in plenty of Spooky Old Buildings and heard things go bump in the night. It’s usually just rats. When asked about ghosts I usually shrug and say “Don’t know, not my expertise. If they don’t break anything, I don’t care.” There should just be 1 person these reports go to that decides if something needs to be escalated, and an appointed person to handle vacations/weekends if it can’t wait til they get back. Only things that required police/fire response would leapfrog me, and only if I wasn’t available. Non-emergency security concerns should be consolidated with one person and addressed.

    Reviewing grainy security camera footage of middle of the night empty buildings is a good way to spook yourself out though. It’s still usually rats.

    Reply
    1. FD

      /snicker/

      Issues: Two twins spontaneously appeared in the hallway around 9:30 PM. Reminded them of hotel policy requiring parental supervision.

      Reply
      1. Cochrane

        A shift log filled with nothing but “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” would certainly get the notice of the boss.

        Reply
  64. De Minimis

    This reminded me of my last job. Almost every time we had a meeting of any kind, we’d start telling stories about spooky incidents in our building [and especially in our previous building.]

    Apparently this was agency wide, we were meeting some people who worked in another facility out-of-state, and the first thing they did was start sharing the spooky incidents from their workplace!

    Reply
    1. Radio Girl

      Every workplace has its legends, and those legends become part of workplace culture. Frankly, they make work life fun.

      Not for hotel guests, maybe.

      Reply
  65. GreenDoor

    Perhaps your employees aren’t able to discern what *specifically* needs to be reported and what should simply be passed on to you. What do your reports look like? Is it possible to create a template of sorts where your employees could check a box from a list of categories that you do want reported? You could add a text box of specific things that should not be included, too. Perhaps seeing a list of things would help reinforce what should be included from what should not. I know, in their shoes, I’d air on the side of overreporting rather than be accused of withholding information…

    Also, do these reports go right from the front line staff up to the Executives? If so, it’s weird that they’d bypass you. If possible, can they be sent to you or another manager at your level first so that you can have the opportunity to address less important issues (like being out of staples) or even delete things that absolutely don’t need to be documented (like bumps in the night)?

    Reply
  66. tangerineRose

    How about the worker prepares a report for the manager, and then the manager uses that to send up the chain? A report that goes to so many people so far up the chain of command seems like something that should go through the manager first.

    Reply
  67. Elizabeth West

    Too bad the ghost tuner in my book isn’t real. My protagonist could just waltz right in and turn the dial and then they’d know for sure if they had a ghost. If so, they could raise their prices and make a killing. #sorrynotsorry :)

    But seriously, this process seems really messed up. A checklist would indeed make it easier for the employees to do a daily report, and I do think they need to go through middle management before they get to the CEO. I’ve never been in any workplace where stuff like this goes right to upper management, not even in food service. It strikes me as bizarre. But I see the letter writer did say this was a small family business, and as we’ve seen repeatedly, those can be really strange.

    Good luck, OP; I hope you find a better place to work soon.

    Reply
  68. Radio Girl

    I once worked in an old train station built about 1890. I’d often come in on weekends and hear noises in other parts of the building. Once, the upstairs alarm even went on. I figured the noises were the building settling and the alarm was caused by HVAC fans.

    Years later (now in a new job) I read that the area near my desk was allegedly a spot were paranormal activity was observed.

    My point is: People believe in ghosts. Management needs to take their complaints seriously, though with a grain of salt, too.

    Reply
  69. Technical_Kitty

    I’d be concerned that the staff member was dealing with multiple reports of a strange incident from different guests. It might be silly to be “ooooo ghosts!” but it might also be an indicator of a different issue.

    Reply
  70. Granny K

    FYI, if you do have ghosts, try burning some dried sage after thoroughly cleaning the haunted area. If this area is closed off and may set off smoke detectors, try mixing sage essential oil with some distilled water and spraying the area. Depending on how often the hauntings, you may have to repeat this process, say 1x per month. (Hey…some buildings have roaches… )

    Reply
  71. HR Here

    I sympathize, I have similar judgement issues with my staff and I am in a union environment so harder to address.
    I’d probably just tweak the reporting process so I could write the reports myself or review them before they go out.

    Reply
  72. FD

    All the advice is good, though I’ll admit part of me heard “hospitality” and “overnight” and went “Yeah, there’s your problem.”

    I have worked night audit to cover and it’s not easy! But man, you do tend to get some…odd people sometimes.

    My favorite was a woman who insisted on dragging four massive plant pots–massive, as in, they were ceramic and the pots came up to her waist and had small indoor trees in them–into the manager’s office every night so they could sleep. But she showed up every day and didn’t get high so management decided that was a fair trade off.

    Reply
  73. Just a Concerned Third Party

    Dismissing for a moment that the employee listed it as “ghosts” in an official report, I wonder if it wasn’t correct to bring this sort of problem up as a maintenance or facilities issue. Old buildings like these often have a lot of very fun (read: unpleasant) surprises lurking in unexpected places, and some of them can do strange things to the human body.

    We’re all aware of what flickering lights and mysterious creaking can do to your mind, especially in an empty, closed-in hallway in the middle of the night. But there was some research done in the late 90s (and likely also much earlier than that) suggesting it’s the stuff you can’t hear – infrasound, which is audio below 20Hz – that might be responsible for a lot of it. It’s suggested that infrasound can be linked directly to some ghost sightings due to the way these low-frequency vibrations induce resonant vibrations in certain organs like the eyes, and infrasound can be generated by old machinery like outdated and broken-down ventilation systems. It’s really quite interesting.

    Reply
  74. Chatterby

    Three thoughts:
    1) Has this staff member worked for a different hotel before? When I did front desk, we had a notebook where we reported things other shifts or the manager may need to know. A typical day’s report for a shift went something like: “101 complained of noise @ 4pm, I called room 102 and asked them to be quiet. Watch 411, she may have tried to sneak a dog in; she’s a bit mean, so be careful if confronting. Front desk needs new pens. Guest, last name Smith, stayed 1/1-1/7 called to say they were double charged. I pulled receipts and put them in the green folder, please address.”
    If this staff member worked at a hotel with a similar practice, she may be having difficulty breaking the old habit and adjusting to the new required content.
    2) The LW seems to be mainly upset since this report goes to the CEO and owner, and may make her look bad. Sometimes, this type of information is what the super high ups are looking for. They are so distanced from the employees on the ground, that they may be using daily reports to stay current.
    If an entire department was out of printer paper and staples *again*, as the owner, I’d want to know because that indicates someone in the middle management isn’t giving the employees what they need to do their jobs, or there is an ordering issue which may need addressing before it effects more important things.
    Of course, they could also be the type of upper management who are swamped and just want a three word “No major instances.” The LW should ask what type of information they want to know, if they haven’t made that clear.
    3) Switching to a premade, checklist-style report may solve a lot of issues.
    Then staff can mark off what kind of complaints they got and how many, and stick exactly to the script as they fill it in.
    “Food complaints? Yes /No Total complaints: ____ Affected room#s_____ Details________
    Water/plumbing complaints? Yes /No Total complaints: ____ Affected room#s_____ Details________” and so on.

    Reply
    1. Rhirhi

      Checklist style reports YES! Best way to get people to give you the right sort of information is to make it easy for them to tell which information you want/need instead of just relying on peoples better judgement. This never works for any sort of standardised reporting because peoples judgement on these sorts of things varies WILDLY.

      Reply
  75. SS Express

    I actually think this is a really reasonable thing to report. Suddenly numerous guests are asking whether the place is haunted and reporting strange things going on, when this has never happened in the past? If I ran this place I’d want to know that! There could be someone squatting, it could be a thief, or a guest sneaking around trying to spy on people, or it could be carbon monoxide or something else causing guests to see things, or maybe there’s been something in the media recently about possible hauntings that put the thought into people’s heads. Whatever the reason, I’d want to be aware so I could investigate if necessary and work out how to handle future questions.

    Reply
    1. Rhirhi

      Agreed! Fair the member of staff didn’t present it in the right way, but lots of sudden complaints when this hasn’t happened before? Especially citing noise and shadows outside their door? I’d definitely be looking in to it (with a sceptical lense ofc) if I was the manager!

      Reply
    1. Chinook

      Hey, for some places on North America, 1925 is old because anything before that was made quick and and dirty or burned down in a fire. Plus, ghosts can occur in a structure of any age.

      Reply
      1. Y

        Quite apart from the topic of ghosts, a general building can’t reasonably be described as ‘old’ until it’s been around for at least 500 years.

        And a church, I don’t know, maybe twelfth century?

        Reply
      2. This IS My Real Name, Darn It

        Or, to get even more specific: North America had (and has) lots of old structures…just, most of them were destroyed and built over when the Europeans came along.

        (Am Native American, and enjoying your username)

        Reply
  76. Rhirhi

    I know it probably was nothing, but have they actually checked CCTV etc to make sure there wasn’t an issue? I’m not saying it was a ghost, but if I had lots of guests suddenly complaining about noises in the corridor and shadows by their doors, I would at least do a cursory check to make sure it wasn’t one of our staff members (in which case you may need to change the timing of certain services, or remind your staff about best practice in regards to noise in corridors at night) or another guest messing about (in which case staff should have noticed and asked them to keep it down on behalf of other guests).

    Reply
  77. Shrub

    Is it possible that you or someone with good judgement edit this report before it goes out? Something like that would be easier than training people to have good judgement.

    Reply
  78. nnn

    Another thing to be looked at here is: are the employees empowered to promptly address the things that are too petty to be included in the memo? If not, can they be? What would happen if they were?

    For example, running out of printer paper would never be included in the memo if the employee could get more printer paper themselves. A burned-out lightbulb would never be included in the memo if the employee could change the lightbulb themselves or put in a work order themselves.

    As others have mentioned, the ghost reports are properly addressed by having maintenance and security look over the area. Is the ghost-reporting employee empowered to order this themselves?

    I know LW doesn’t have control over the chain of command in this organization, but insofar as anything can be addressed, it might be worth taking a second look at whether employees are sufficiently empowered.

    Reply
  79. HigherEddy

    Just a memory re: what’s generally considered reportable and what is not: a former employee, who was the receptionist for our group, attended our bi-weekly staff meetings. We would go around the table and share important updates or new info that everyone should be aware of.
    If you had nothing of note, you would just pass. Not her. EVER SINGLE TIME for four-ish years, she would say “I have been answering the phone and emails.” It’s a very critical role for us, but she just never got it- nor was she ever told – that she could just pass on commenting. I really wish our manager – or her supervisor – would have let her know that she needn’t reiterate her job duties every. single. time.

    Reply
    1. Y

      Yeah but ‘I have been answering the phone and emails’ doesn’t actually take that much longer to say than, ‘Nothing to report’, so to be fair to her she was conveying exactly the same information in pretty much the same time, so it’s not like she was holding anything up.

      Reply
  80. Because, ghosts

    OK can we all just agree that AAM really, really needs a good (read: legit) ghost question from a reader… every time one comes up you can see she’s dying to respond to a haunted situation!

    Mine doesn’t really count but I’ll share anyway. I briefly (for a year) worked in a museum which had about 16 heritage buildings relocated to the site and was next to a cemetery. There had been stories of dolls that had to be placed in storage because they would always end up in different locations than where they were kept overnight – since I left it’s been designated as one of the haunted locations in the city (previously they had avoided it out of respect for the families that had lived in the houses.. not sure what changed). There were seriously creepy sounds – I usually worked until 5pm or so (later than most) and sometimes I would literally run out of there during the time of year it was after dark.

    You had to walk past the cemetery to get to the parking lot so you didn’t dare look anywhere but towards the parking. And you had to lock a gate next to a cornfield… just so much scary. Sometimes there’d be wild animals too so it wouldn’t be unheard of to see eyes watching you (headlights of your car would be on to see the lock at the gate – that part wasn’t really a haunted thing, corn fields just creep me out!). Most of the buildings didn’t have electricity (or it wasn’t usually on) so I was also terrified to look into the windows as I walked. I like to stay in a solid state of denial about the paranormal but it still creeps me out to this day.

    Reply
  81. It's ghosty in here

    So creepy!! One of my first jobs in college was the evening shift at the front desk of a historic ‘haunted’ hotel. Teams would actually come in from around the country with all kinds of equipment to measure the activity there. Most common issue was guests getting locked inside their rooms, although there were plenty of other reports. I actually got hired when the previous employee quit on the spot during a particularly creepy evening. Electricity went out during a big storm and guests kept flooding into the pitch black lobby freaked out about all sorts of things happening upstairs. Pretty sure she was like “peace out” when our manager finally arrived!

    Reply

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