The “New Norm” in Career Development: Motivating and Developing Top Talent in a Changing Workplace

By Kathleen Chiechi Flores Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Wyndham Hotel Group | December 25, 2011

The economic challenges of the past four years have led many companies to re-examine the ways in which they do business and how they deploy talent. In many cases, the work did not go away and fewer people were left to carry on the tasks that had previously been shared among many.

As we work our way out of the recession and look forward to a healthier economic environment, there is an understanding that despite recovering business levels, we may never see the return of former staffing levels.
This "new norm" of operating with leaner teams has led Human Resources professionals and people managers to look at career development and growth opportunities in a new light. The traditional view of advancement through promotion may no longer apply and might not meet the expectations of high potential individuals who seek recognition and growth on a faster timeline.

As a result, it is incumbent upon those of us responsible for retaining our best talent to find new and different ways to answer the need for individual and career development. It may no longer be about climbing the ladder, but rather about seeking new and different experiences that add skills and enrich one's professional credentials. The following are several ways that we as leaders, can help facilitate exactly that.

Opportunity through Lateral Assignments

Cross-training is one example of how lateral assignments can provide experiential development. In some cases cross-training can occur to allow an individual to backfill a gap in another area on an interim basis. For example, in the hotel business, if one area of the hotel is being closed for renovation (i.e. a restaurant or casino), it creates an opportunity to redeploy the team members normally working in that area to another part of the property. In doing so, associates are able to discover new and different jobs that they enjoy while learning new skills.

Similar to cross-training, a job rotation affords someone the chance to become skilled at performing more than one role and thereby enhance their value to the organization. This requires a commitment on the part of managers to allow for the mobility of associates who they would otherwise want to hold in a particular role. Doing so not only expands skill sets, but affords someone the opportunity to change the direction of their career. With fewer individuals looking for typically prescribed career paths, job rotation introduces new ideas and possibilities for developing expertise.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.