Retention & Recruitment: Lessons from Your Guests

Flipsides of the Same Coin: Getting and Keeping Employees and Guests

By Eileen McDargh Chief Energy Officer, The Resiliency Group | March 08, 2015

Co-authored by Dr. Beverly Kaye, Founder of Career Systems International

We both travel much in our work as consultants and keynote speakers. We watch for ideas to help our clients create environments that support, nurture, and retain talent. We seek insights to nurture resilient organizations that grow through engagement challenges. We realize one source of continual insights often comes from our experience as guests in hotels around the world.

When asked to write this article, our collective brains hit upon an idea that many of you already have in place: superb training to enhance the guest experience and encourage repeat visits.

We marvel at the "guest" training that hotel employees receive and we wonder why we aren't doing a better job of treating our employees as "guests." Think about it: We want our employees to return day in and day out (just like a guest) We want them to feel as though the organization needs, values and respects them (just like a guest). We want employees to spread the word about the great place they work –just like we want a guest to speak highly of our property. What if those same methods were used with employees.

Eric Schmidt, co-founder and co-author of the book, Google, pulls no punches when he states that mangers spend a lot of time in the hiring process to recruit just the right person. " How do they pay you back? By leaving. That's right. News Flash: When you hire great people, many may come to realize that there is a world beyond yours. This isn't a bad's an inevitable by product of a healthy, innovative team. Still, fight like hell to keep them."

The hospitality field for HR professionals is being slammed with the need to replace an aging workforce, find and develop talent among significantly different generations of workers, create career paths to grow the next generation of leaders, plus measure and manage budgets that must be justified for recruitment and retention.
Getting these tasks done-tasks that will result in a vibrant, resilient organization--seems overwhelming. Yet, it is often the elegant, simple approach to keeping and attracting talent that wins the day.

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Coming up in 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.