Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gilbert

David Gilbert

President - Hospitality Group, Heartland Payment Systems

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience and a track record of leading successful growth while developing and maintaining brand identity and implementing strategic change, David Gilbert is responsible for the growth and development of Heartland's portfolio and services within several industries, including restaurants, lodging and affiliated markets. Prior to joining Heartland, the nation's 5th largest payment processor, Mr. Gilbert was the chief operating officer of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the restaurant industry's largest and most respected trade organization. In this role from 2009-2012, Mr. Gilbert focused on guiding the organization in its ongoing efforts to provide and develop valuable products, services and benefits to help the industry and the Association's members. He was also responsible for all operations, sales, business/product development, strategic relationships and financial analysis of the association and its subsidiaries. Before the NRA, Mr. Gilbert spent several years as a restaurant and hospitality industry consultant, and held several executive positions with national chains, including chief administrative officer with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., executive vice president and chief administrative officer with Shoney's Inc., and executive director of development with Applebee's International, Inc. His background also includes operations, product development and management experience in the quick service, casual dining and family dining segments. A resident of Nashville, TN, Mr. Gilbert holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Florida State University. He is also a member of the National Restaurant Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the West Virginia University Hospitality Board of Advisors.

Mr. Gilbert can be contacted at 88879831312281 or david.gilbert@e-hps.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.