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 41227078274 or heather.jacobs@fourseasons.com

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.