Re-training Your Approach to Talent Procurement and Growth

By Kevin Wilhelmsen Dean, University of Phoenix School of Business | February 22, 2015

All employers face challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining qualified talent, but hospitality workers often enter the field with particularly diverse backgrounds and experience, which can make talent management even more demanding. Ultimately this diversity stands to benefit hospitality employers because it can spur innovation and help companies be more relevant to a diverse customer base. There is no doubt however that procuring and growing talent is often difficult in an industry with so many career paths. In fact, as University of Phoenix was developing its new Hospitality Fundamentals associate degree and certificate curriculum, we spoke with hotel leaders around the country who often expressed the hiring process can feel more like a "casting call."

As the economy improves and workers get more confident to test the job market, recruitment and retention strategies are critical. Training and education are evolving to be more customized and finding the right mix for your organization is crucial in attracting and growing the talent that will be vital to your success.

Start by Attracting the Right Talent – Your Employment Brand

There is no doubt there are dynamic hospitality career opportunities, but to many, this is somewhat of a secret. A strong employment brand can be instrumental in attracting the right talent and competing with other industries for this talent. Where do you start? The answer is close to home. Your employees – particularly those you have identified as strong performers possess very valuable information. Engage them in honest dialogue about what drew them to the organization or a hospitality career in general, what surprised them, what makes their employment experience unique and what they think others do not understand about the career opportunities that exist in the sector.

You likely conduct regular employee opinion surveys. Don't limit your questions to job satisfaction, use the opportunity to gain insight about promoting your employment brand. If you want to get more targeted, identify employees throughout the organization in roles and levels who are seen as top performers and investigate this with them through in-person interviews and surveys. Consider creating a committee that includes these top performers and give them the opportunity to affect the organization in new ways. Not only will you gain valuable insight, but you can also contribute to job satisfaction for your most valued employees because they will know their voices are being heard.

You may find in this assessment that your employment brand isn't exactly what you hoped. Be careful about overstating it. Instead, do the due diligence to introduce programs, policies and training that embody your unique brand.

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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.