March FOCUS: Human Resources

March, 2019

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.

This month's feature articles...

Bernadette Scott

The Human Resource professional needed in hotel operations today has evolved from a role which focused on the administrative, to one which provides strategic specialist leadership across a whole plethora of key activities, aimed at keeping organizational blood-lines pumping with the right calibre of talent. The challenge to achieve organizational outcomes in times of unsurpassed change across dynamic global markets, accelerated technological advancement and on-going talent shortage. The hotel industry needs the best people and the best people leaders. It needs to look at its wider context of operation and invest in the right caliber of talent to future proof operations. READ MORE

Raul  Chacon

With the unemployment rate at a historic low, a recent survey from EMPLOYERS found small business owners may be underselling an important factor that could give them a recruiting edge: their workplace safety record. This article outlines the array of potential hazards hotel employees are susceptible given the variety of occupations and workplaces in a hotel. It also provides steps hotel owners and managers can take to reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries or illnesses to keep current employees safe as well as to create an attractive workplace for prospective candidates. READ MORE

Sheetal Singh

Considering the fast pace of the market and constantly evolving guest tastes, we cannot avoid change. We must not only learn to manage it, but also embrace it, and learn from it. Openness and commitment to change by team members can make change go smoother and the likelihood that it will be successful much higher. Rick Maurer introduced the three main reasons why people resist change-they don't get it, they don't like it, or they don't like you. In this article we draw from these ideas and provide practical advice for hospitality professionals for reducing resistance to change. READ MORE

Renie  Cavallari

Today dynamic organizations are not just led by dynamic leaders, these leaders are fanatically committed to paving a new way of thinking about leadership. The new leadership paradigm is EVERYONE LEADS. Creating an organization where everyone leads allows for higher levels of accountability, and strengthens alignment which is at the heart of agility, innovation and profitability. Organizational silos disrupt optimal performance. When everyone is working in tandem, they are more productive, and the organization finds a stronger beat. This beat is your cultural heart beat and it determines alignment and creates an "all in" culture. READ MORE

Eugenio Pirri

The traditional view of talent, whether you believe it is misconceived or not, was an individual who demonstrated the skills and traits of a future leader. Yet, with challenging economies, uncertain futures and fewer individuals desiring to be a 'leader', has the time come to re-think the definition of talent? Eugenio Pirri, Chief People and Culture Officer of luxury hotel management organisation, Dorchester Collection believes so and, in this piece, argues that it's time all employees were seen as talent, treated as individuals and supported on their own personalized learning journeys. READ MORE

Ken Greger

Top human resources executives are often frustrated with their organizations and their organizations are often frustrated with them. The HR executive doesn't feel valued and his or her value isn't always clear to the organization. There are frequent disconnects, and corporate politics plus job security muddy the waters. The HR executive wants a seat at the table, but is often denied. And, if one attains a seat at the table, what should that mean? This article reviews such dynamics and presents the most critical area on which HR executives should focus. READ MORE

Rebecca Barnes-Hogg

Recruiting is not what it used to be. Unless you've been asleep at the wheel for the past 10 years, you know employers are no longer in the driver's seat. The days when top talent lined up for a seat on your bus dying to work for you are a distant speck in your rearview window. Today, the reality is candidates pick you. This means employers need to be proactive, creative, and innovative to adapt to a talent market with the candidate in the driver's seat. READ MORE

Sherri Merbach

Gallup tells us eye-popping differences between organizations that score in the top 25% for engagement versus those that score in the bottom 25%...specifically that the best ones produce 22% more profits and 21% more productivity. Most organizations see employee engagement as a score, as a marker to compare to other organizations to see if their own "engagement programs" work. Putting engagement into dollars drives home that scores on their own mean little, yet the dollars engagement drives are huge. Simply said, employee engagement is about every employee bringing their best, every day. So, how do first-line supervisors drive engagement? READ MORE

Rita Barreto Craig

Do you want to have a quantum leap in success? Do you want to attract and retain top talent? Do you want to be known as a class of one in a very crowded field? Today's successful businesses develop and execute well-planned strategies in the midst of rapid fire and constant change. They have a crystallized and shared vision, mission, and values. Don't rely on luck! If your competitors are spending time assessing the environment and writing detailed plans, who do you think will be most successful? READ MORE

Daniel Link

Sustainability is a priority in the hotel industry. Hotels work hard to reduce their carbon footprint and address their guests' growing concerns for hotels to be more environmentally friendly. However, as hotel executives introduce sustainability initiatives, they should work with their risk managers to identify how those policies can affect their workforce and workers' compensation costs. With the job market shift of an aging workforce coupled with less experience, it is imperative to identify sound claim practices to navigate the claims landscape, limit costs, and ultimately, return the employee to work to safely service your clientele. READ MORE

Cara Silletto

Today's new workforce is in a state of rapid transformation. The influx of the millennial generation has forced many companies and leaders to change their approach regarding retention efforts as best practices continue to evolve and long-term employment becomes a thing of the past. What does it take to be a sustainable organization moving forward, amidst the shift to a shorter-term employer-employee relationship? For managers, it takes a mindset shift around how to lead employees, plan for the future, and operate a department. For greater staffing stability and for creating a culture where employees want to stick around, here are six management strategies on which to focus. READ MORE

Suzanne McIntosh

The definition of work/life balance has a different meaning to the newer generations entering the workforce. The hospitality business has always been a time intensive one for the leaders and colleagues working in our hotels. Work/life balance is now expected in other ways. While the newer generations are always available on their phones, responding to emails and texts at any time of day and night, they also expect to have flexibility in when and where they work. Working remotely and taking personal time are some of the concessions that need to be implemented to keep these employees engaged and motivated. READ MORE

Lisa  Cain

This article explores the relationship between hospitality academia and the hospitality industry. It discusses past trends in Hospitality Resource Management and ways in which talent has previously been identified, recruited, and retained, with a particular focus on the way in which hospitality students were evaluated. This article also identifies contemporary trends among university hospitality programs and the relationship with industry, including a discussion on the importance of work experience and internships. Finally, the article highlights future areas that both hospitality educators and industry practitioners should consider including technological shifts in the landscape and work-life balance. READ MORE

Dennis Rizzo

Depending on who you are, the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the hiring process is either a plus, or a minus. For overburdened human resource managers, the promise is that it will be a boon for productivity. If you are on the other end of the process-a candidate, looking for work-it means your chance to be identified for anything more than just metrics, diminishes. Dennis P. Rizzo, a recruiter in the hospitality sector for more than 4 decades, gives his take on the present and the future of AI-assisted hiring. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

Hospitality programs seek to offer sound educational curriculums that provide relevant educational experiences to students, alumni, and industry partners. In the new work world, educational programs need to offer both academic and experiential forms of education and, more specifically for the hospitality industry, do so by utilizing the industry as a classroom in hotels, restaurants, resorts and all shapes and sizes of hospitality and tourism businesses. READ MORE

Eileen McDargh

This article provides a different perspective on resiliency and why it is critical in these 24-7, constantly changing times. Discover four resiliency skills and what it will take for leaders to begin to cultivate them in themselves and their organization. Discover the danger of arrogance in leaders and how it can kill organizational resiliency. Lastly, consider the role of purpose and legacy as a foundation for attracting and keeping both employees and customers. Remember, resiliency is a life skill-not just a skill for times of chaos. READ MORE

Patrick Connolly

Today's consumers are demanding more personalized services and unique experiences than ever before. This continues to create rapid change and heavy competition across many industries as they struggle to meet these new challenges, and hospitality is no exception. But how do you keep pace with the ever-changing demands of your guests? Although certain technologies can help you plan for and anticipate these needs, it's your people that will make the most difference. Learn how Holiday Inn Club Vacations engages, invests in, and provides its team the skills and knowledge to be one of the fastest-growing timeshare companies in the industry. READ MORE

David Ashen

A rising renaissance in the roadside motel has prompted a growing trend in the transformation of the formerly dated designs to reinvented brands for the modern traveler. Building on nostalgia, the millennials' desire for authenticity and romance combined with wanderlust, David Ashen, principal and founder of interior design and brand consulting firm dash design, explores some of the more interesting trends in this category, including, for instance, the conversion of a typical Super 8 motel into an independent and funky property offering local and unique experiences that pay homage to the brand's past while highlighting today's conveniences and tastes. READ MORE

Nancy Brown

Disaster resilience is a core concept for contemporary hotel disaster/crisis management objectives. Resilience building provides flexibility, improved capacity to adapt, and leverage against the continually changing tourism environment. Understanding the value of resilience can make the difference in prioritizing this vital tool. The interconnectedness of the tourism sector worldwide requires novel approaches to assessing organizational strengths - organizations' face the need to develop potential solutions to unknown challenges. Building disaster resilience offers a potentially multi-faceted solution sets to todays', and tomorrows', challenges. This is the first article in a four-part series... READ MORE

Philia Tounta

Human Resource Management in a small business can be a vital task leading to success. Specifically in the service sector, service quality depends mostly on the quality of personnel since it is labor intensive and requires face-to-face interaction with customers. Unfortunately, small-sized hotels are faced with unfavorable conditions but they have opportunities to expand using their strengths as small firms with high levels of flexibility. Smaller organizations need to change HR practices compared to larger organizations because of the different workforce requirements and legal. Specifically, they must focus on improving customer satisfaction and the quality of service through a procedure of well organized HR management. READ MORE

Lily Mockerman

How can hotels successfully expand their revenue strategy beyond occupancy? Is heads-in-beds truly the only method for increasing revenue and profits? When should occupancy be a priority, and when should hotels minimize occupancy for maximum revenue? With expert advice, years of experience and thoughtful analysis, president and CEO of Total Customized Revenue Management Lily Mockerman discusses both the benefits and the drawbacks of relying on occupancy as the sole indicator of a hotel's performance. READ MORE

Gino  Engels

In order to best position your hotel in a competitive marketplace, it is essential to have an airtight revenue strategy so that room prices are priced right every time. While that sounds simple enough, it is important to remember that there are four key factors (events, timing, trends and competition) that need to be accounted for in order to accurately forecast demand and maximize revenue for a hotel. In this article, Gino Engels, CCO and co-founder at OTA Insight, discusses why these factors matter and how to extract exploitable data and insights from each. READ MORE

Mia A. Mackman

This article reviews contributing factors to rising capital expenditures and investment demands in relationship to progressively important guest experiences and wellness attributes. As increasing wellness and lifestyle features continue to emerge across the hospitality sector focused on well-being, new value propositions continue to evolve. This article reviews Capex spending increases amid rising construction costs, and consumer demand with an emphasis on the value of incorporating enhanced spa and wellness-oriented property features. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

In simplest terms, optimization means consistently delivering against customer expectations to drive revenue, while managing costs to maximize profitability. With the economy projected by some to soften by year-end, the hospitality industry must prepare for short-term growth while planning for longer-term slowing - and be flexible enough to respond to unexpected events. Combine this with the continued challenges of attracting and retaining talent and the priority for hotel operators becomes clear: workforce optimization. You see in this article how a deeper understanding of the specific factors driving both guest satisfaction and employee engagement will give you creative options to optimize operations. READ MORE

Paul van Meerendonk

Get as much heads in beds as possible while optimizing your hotel's profit potential. This straightforward definition of a revenue manager's job probably rings true for many of us in the industry. However, if a revenue manager is solely focused on guest-room pricing, then who's in charge of enhancing revenue for the rest of your property? Hotels can generate more than half of their revenue on non-room revenue streams, yet traditional revenue managers and revenue management systems still take a limited "heads-in-beds" approach. So, how do we best decide what business to accept when faced with the complexities of multiple revenue stream considerations like function-space booking? READ MORE

Ed Fuller

Hospitality industry leader Ed Fuller shares his expertise on the importance of hotel safety and security preparedness in today's tumultuous times. The need for hotels, both large and small, to have crisis management and a crisis communications management plan in place at all times has never been more urgent. Hopefully, hotel executives will never need to activate these plans but being prepared is paramount. Additionally, Fuller highlights several news stories that sparked a media relations nightmare for several national brands offering readers insight on how local incidents can become front page news thanks to people's smart phones. READ MORE

Nancy Snyder

As technology continues to permeate households across North America, consumers are looking for hospitality settings to mirror these conveniences for a premium guest experience. However, in addition to remaining attractive to discerning guests, hospitality executives will find a compelling business benefit to incorporating tech upgrades into hospitality spaces: hotel properties that incorporate Internet of Things technology and high-quality, tech-forward tools experience significant reductions in energy consumption, saving resources, money and time to increase net profits. Nancy Snyder, Sales Manager at Legrand, explores ways hotel decision makers can incorporate IoT to enhance the guest experience and, ultimately, improve the bottom line. READ MORE

Court Williams

New hotel brands are being developed on an almost daily basis, to the point that it becomes confusing for guests and the public to identify what brand belongs to whom. In some instances, hotel groups are buying out existing brands to get their reservations book, while in others they are building new brands from the ground up. Is there a solid business case to be made for the proliferation in new brands, or is it overkill? Court Williams, CEO of HVS Executive Search analyses the benefits and disadvantages to all stakeholders, to determine whether this state of affairs is good for the hospitality industry over the long-term, or simply a short-sighted strategy without a future. READ MORE

Rick Garlick

Regardless of how technologically driven or popular a hotel brand is, customer service can truly make or break a hospitality experience. While our homes and daily lives can be reliant upon Alexa, hotel experiences still require personal touches and a "ready to serve" experience. What can we do to consistently deliver high customer satisfaction rates? This article takes a deeper dive into a variety of different approaches which hotel management can implement to continually motivate their employees leaving customers feeling positive, satisfied and fulfilled from the overall experience. READ MORE

John Welty

Those who don't have an Amazon Alexa or similar smart device in their homes likely know family or friends who do. These new smart speakers and their Google and Apple counterparts are quickly becoming a part of daily routines as many go to their smart speakers first to check the weather, set alarms or play their favorite songs. Now, hotels are adopting this and other new technologies to help guests stay connected through the technology they have become accustomed to at home. Although providing this new level of service can be a win-win for many hotel owners and operators, hotels who implement this new technology could be increasing their exposures to new risks. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2022...

Hotel Spa: Now More Than Ever

In the aftermath of the global health crisis, there is a newfound appreciation for the need to be fit - both in body and mind - and hotels that provide a spa or wellness clinic will reap the rewards. What are clients seeking? Better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness. It is no longer sufficient for spas to only offer massages or facials; clients are demanding more for the benefit of their overall well-being. For example, a medical spa might offer services such as botox, dermal fillers, body sculpting, and microdermabrasion. Other spas are emphasizing the importance of preventative therapeutics and are using technologies such as body scanners to evaluate their clients' health. Some spas are enlisting osteopaths, naturopaths, fitness coaches, yoga masters, even psychologists, to promote vitality, stress management, and emotional balance. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other advancements, and document how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.