Hyatt Hotels: Making CSR Work in a Decentralized, Global Company
By Brigitta Witt Global Head, Corporate Responsibility, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts | June 17, 2012
Responsible business practices and a deep commitment to the well-being of our guests, associates and local communities has been central to Hyatt's culture since Jay Pritzker opened the first Hyatt House hotel in September 1957. Since that first hotel opening in the Los Angeles area, Hyatt has expanded into a global hospitality company that welcomes hundreds of thousands of travelers into its hotels every year.
As our company grew, so did our view of the critical link between the prosperity and health of our communities and the wellbeing of our business. After all, the communities in which we operate are home to many of our associates and are the focus of investment for our owners and the many small businesses that are vital to our operations.
Today, Hyatt is a global hospitality company that owns, manages or franchises over 480 hotels in more than 45 countries. Together, Hyatt hotels employ over 90,000 people around the world. This broad geographic reach means that our operations are very decentralized and that our people represent a mix of cultures, languages and ethnicities. It also means that we operate under many different local laws and regulations, manage a myriad of social, economic, and political conditions, and operate under varying levels of infrastructure capacity and development. All of these factors influence our ability to execute a one-size fits all strategy on a global scale.
When the time came to formalize Hyatt's long-standing commitment to the environment and society under a single global platform with a shared vision and common focus, we set out with the following objectives: 1) to allow the many local efforts already happening at our hotels to add up to make a big global impact, 2) to prioritize our focus on the issues and opportunities most material to our industry and most relevant and authentic to Hyatt, and 3) to engage our associates with a global strategy while allowing for its implementation to be uniquely local.
The journey that followed was much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle - it contained many parts and required looking through the lens of our decentralized operations, assembling many individual pieces, all which were important and unique, while identifying the commonalities and opportunities that together would unite Hyatt with a single vision and a shared focus. The result of this journey culminated in the 2011 launch of Hyatt Thrive, our commitment to make the communities in which we operate places that our employees want to work, our guests want to visit, our owners want to invest, and our neighbors want to live.
While every company's approach to corporate responsibility is shaped by its internal culture and business priorities, the strategic building blocks that Hyatt leveraged to develop its global platform can certainly be applied by other organizations with a similarly decentralized structure. These include: