Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Jacobs

Heather Jacobs

VP Human Resources Europe/Middle East/ Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Heather Jacobs first started with Four Seasons by working summers - initially as a Front Office Intern in 1992 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and then as Hostess in 1993 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles. She began her career in earnest as a Manager In Training in 1994 in the Rooms Division of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (a Four Seasons Hotel). She then made her way to Human Resources via Housekeeping and the Front Office, and was appointed Human Resources Manager in 1995. In November 1996, Ms. Jacobs relocated to The Pierre Hotel (then a Four Seasons Hotel), starting as Employee Relations & Benefits Manager, Assistant Director and then, Director of Human Resources in October 1998. Interested in the global aspects of Human Resources, Heather was promoted to Director of Human Resources Administration in January 2000, helping develop and implement global Human Resources policies, procedures and competitive practices. She has helped to shepherd the employment brand and has instilled the Four Seasons culture into our international portfolio, all with an eye to aligning HR practices with the global business strategies of the company. In June 2004, Ms. Jacobs and her family relocated to Geneva, Switzerland as Area Director of Human Resources for Europe, the Middle East and Africa where she tackled the complex issues of new development, pre-opening assistance, and general Human Resources responsibilities. Ms. Jacobs was promoted to Vice President in July 2007. In her current role, she assists in the selection and development of Senior leaders for the region and leads the Human Resources professionals in 30 properties, spanning over 20 countries with responsibility for more than 10,000 employees. In this role she has responsibility for the development and implementation of Human Resources policy, process and procedure including recruitment, selection, retention, learning and development, legal compliance, employee benefits, employee relations, employment practices and procedures, and employee communications. Ms. Jacobs holds a BS, Hotel Management, Cornell University, 1994. She is a Certified Global Professional in Human Resources (“GPHR”) - 2006, and active with the International Tourism Partnership, acting as Chair of Executive Committee 2012-2014. She has been on the Executive Committee since 2005 (leading hospitality companies dedicated to environmental and social responsibility in the industry).

Ms. Jacobs can be contacted at 41-22-707-8274 or heather.jacobs@fourseasons.com

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.