Ensuring Hotel Career Opportunities and Upward Mobility Get Shared in a Positive Way
By Joy Rothschild Chief Human Resources Officer, Omni Hotels and Resorts | August 09, 2015
Hospitality is a unique career calling with many different paths including: rooms, food & beverage, sales, finance, engineering, associate services and revenue management, to name a few. Our training programs have a successful track record of creating hospitality professionals despite a lack of industry experience. A passion to serve and a strong work ethic are key ingredients to success in our space.
However, we do have recruiting challenges in the face of misconceptions about our industry: long hours, minimum wage pay, and minimal growth opportunities. Many individuals perceive that hospitality is the place where their relatives cleaned rooms or washed dishes – not a career path. The truth is that this incredible industry allows for flexible schedules, competitive pay and growth opportunities. We have successfully recruited talent by sharing real career growth stories focused on real challenges and real career advancements for associates at every level.
Highlighting the positive aspects of working in the hospitality industry starts with recruiting. The applicant experience needs to mirror the guest experience. The way we interact with our applicants, whether in person or on-line, needs to be a customer-focused experience. The first impression of the Omni applicant needs to be a positive one. We call this the "mirror image" – the way we treat you is the way you will treat our guests. Applicants should be appropriately greeted, escorted when possible, be waiting in pleasant surroundings and be responded to promptly. These are basic courtesies to be extended to every individual that passes through Omni's doors, be it a guest or future associate. Meeting your future leader doesn't stop with the department head. The general manager of every property meets all top candidates as the final step in the approval process. This says "you are an important part of my operation."
On day one, all new associates start their career on the right foot with a formal orientation. We have developed several learning tools including in-depth training videos with testimonials from our own associates, interactive group discussions, and one on one sessions that clearly explain our policies, benefits and opportunities for upward mobility. Senior operations leaders also participate in the orientation. Considerable time is spent teaching Omni's Power of One, the essence of our service philosophy. It empowers our associates to do everything possible to ensure our guests have a memorable experience. This philosophy is also immersed in our own associate community to foster a real sense of family and ownership in the company.
In addition to these points, during the onset we also educate new associates about our very powerful Manager in Development (MID) and Leader in Development (LID) programs that continue to turn out success stories year after year. It is customary for our team to present case studies of associates who have "worked their way up" from entry-level positions to management and even executive level positions. My goal in sharing these stories at orientation is to encourage associates to strive for that next level position and to believe it is possible to achieve.