Kaani Hotels - exemplary work place in a local island

As Kaani celebrated their 10-year anniversary on 09th December, 2022, one of the things that were highlighted by their staff was the positive environment provided by Kaani for their staff.

MFR writers visited Maafushi and sat down with Mr. Abdullah Nasheed, owner of Kaani Hotels, and other staff of Kaani Hotels, as they were preparing to celebrate their 10th Anniversary.

Please also read our Report: 10 Years of Kaani Hotels.

With the country celebrating the successful 50 years in the tourism industry, one thing that has been evolving and getting better within these 50 years is definitely the service provided in this industry. Kaani Hotels in Maafushi is no different. According to the owner of Kaani Hotels, Abdullah Nasheed, the secret behind their great service provided to their guests, is the staff who are behind all the hard work; the real heroes of their 10 year success.

In the traditional tourist resorts in the Maldives, resort staff who put a smile on their face every day and provide the most unforgettable service to every single guest that visits their facilities live a very different life from those in other industries.

Giving up the life they could live in their own homes and their own islands, the staff of the tourism industry often live in staff accommodations, visiting their homes only a handful of times a year, and spending the rest of the time at work. This leads many to wonder how exactly staff accommodation is and if the staff are happy with the service that is being provided for them by their employers.

Guest house tourism in local islands has provided the opportunity for Maldivians to work and live in their own island, while earning a decent income. Kaani Hotels in Maafushi has built just that - a friendly and family-like work environment where everybody works towards a common goal. 

Attractive work place

Kaani Hotels employ a total of 181 staff in their four properties and guest operations in Maafushi. While Maldivians contribute to 27 percent, all Maldivian staff from out of Maafushi and expatriate staff are provided with accommodation by the hotel.

According to Ms. Zainath Shihab, HR Manager of Kaani Hotels, one of the biggest challenges faced by Kaani Hotels, was difficulty in finding manpower, especially when it comes to finding Maldivians. As Kaani has developed over the years from its single 12-bedroom guesthouse to owning multiple guesthouses in Maafushi, Kaani Hotels largely focuses on employing locals and providing the staff with the necessary tools to learn and develop in order to get into higher positions.

“Now that we have grown bigger and our packages have become more attractive we are getting more Maldivians, especially in managerial posts. We are also seeing an interest in fresh graduates being interested in working for Kaani as well as getting internships from Kaani Hotels. With around 181 staff as of now, Maldivians make up for around 50 of the staff. But even now one of our biggest challenges is the lack of experience in the industry” - Zainath Shihab - HR Manager

A place for positive development

Unlike a lot of jobs where you wait to see progress and development, staff who work for Kaani Hotels reported that they have gotten their due promotion over the years. Even though the Maldivian tourism industry is the largest sector of the Maldives, there is an obvious gap when it comes to training and development of staff in this sector, leading to many staff feeling stuck in their beginner role for years.

At Kaani Hotels they strive to achieve better when staff get annual training and on-the-job training from their managers and heads of departments to shape them into taking a bigger role in the future.

“I joined Kaani in 2015 as a spa receptionist and then I was promoted to the front desk officer within five months and then after four years, I was promoted to a senior role. Now that I have worked at Kaani for seven years I have been promoted to the front office manager role. I would say, everything I have learnt is from Kaani as this is still my first work place and I have to give credit for the largest part of my training to my seniors” - Ahmed Raamie, Front Office Manager. 

Ahmed Raamie, Front Office Manager. 

One of the main things that have helped Kaani develop to the stage that it is in today is definitely the teamwork and team effort by the staff of Kaani Hotels. Helping each other grow from day one and teaching the newcomers what they have learnt along their journey acts as one of the biggest factors towards the great service and friendly work environment that has been developed in Kaani over the years.

“I was mostly involved with the inter operations such as sales, front office and implementation of the new systems, policies and procedures to run the place smoothly and I would say that without the teamwork we could not have anything. The staff here have helped a lot.”  Danura Kumarasiri, Operations Manager

Danura Kumarasiri, Operations Manager

What are some of the benefits?

One of the things that employees look for in addition to a good salary when applying for a job is definitely the benefits that come along with it. When it comes to Kaani Hotels, some of the major benefits that all the employees highlighted were the friendly work environment that has helped them learn and develop from day one in addition to the great sense of togetherness and importance that they feel working for the Kaani team.

However, there are a lot more benefits to working for Kaani Hotels than just good food and a good work environment!

“In terms of employee development, Kaani gives a lot of benefits including good salaries and wages. We focus a lot on paying the employees on time and that is one of the most important factors for us. Aside from that we also give service charges and when it comes to the food and everything all the employees eat from the guest buffet because we do not want the staff to feel any form of differentiation. As all the staff are away from their families for this job, so we are like a family to them. As much as we can at the management level, we are trying to take care of them.”  Danura Kumarasiri, Operations Manager

Over the years, Kaani Hotels has grown to become an integral part of the tourism industry, especially in Maafushi, and the need for hiring more staff has increased. With the need for a bigger workforce, the need for a bigger staff accommodation facility has also been raised, and as a company that treats its team like a family, Kaani Hotels has major plans when it comes to their next staff accommodation as well.

“As we provide accommodation for all our staff, whether they are local or foreigners. So in order to cater to staff accommodation, we have recently built a new building for staff accommodation” Abdulla Nasheed – Owner, Kaani Hotels

Abdullah Nasheed

As Kaani continues to grow, it's worth noting the major service provided by Kaani Hotels towards the development of amazing staff for the tourism industry in the Maldives by giving them the training and care that they need to be motivated to reach their goals within the tourism industry of the Maldives.

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