Hiring and Training the Millennial Hotel Employee

By Suzanne McIntosh President, McIntosh Human Capital Management | February 28, 2016

What attracts the Millennial colleague? How do we keep them engaged during the hiring process? How do we on-board them to ensure they assimilate quickly within our organizations. What's important to them to feel part of our team as quickly as possible? How do we keep them for the long term?

Millennials will make up 50% of our workforce within the next several years. Our hiring managers need to understand how to attract, develop, and retain this new talent. Methods are changing and we must change with them to attract the best of the best. To hire and retain the Millennial who has the core competencies and values that "fit" with the job, most organizations and managers must shift how they interview and engage employees. They also need to consider what strong Millennial candidates look for in an employer and what their organization has to offer. They are interviewing us just as much as we are interviewing them.

This generation looks for jobs through social media channels, among friends, by working their alumni. They network to understand the best companies to work for and word travels faster than ever before. Clearly if you have a work environment that is collaborative, creative and supportive, your current satisfied Millennials will attract their high performing friends to your company. The social media channels they employ will communicate that your company is a good place to work. (Conversely, if they are not challenged or rewarded, this news will also travel fast.)

The hiring process needs to be thorough and timely. They expect us to communicate with them differently and rapidly. It is important to engage with Millennials on the social media platforms they use in their daily lives. By creating and maintaining Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin company profiles, potential employees will easily get to know your company, its products, and services. Blogs and pages must be kept up to date and ideally managed by a colleague that understands the target audience. Millennials want to know that they are engaging with real people like them not corporate identities. Ultimately, a Millennial wants to know why they should take this job. How will it help them with their overall goals? Creating a company Linkedin page and not keeping it current will reflect negatively on your organization.

Millennials want to know they will be challenged, have a sense of purpose, a sense of community and are being sought after. Companies must sell Millennials not on just why they should join, but what their career progression will be, and most importantly how they'll make an impact on the organization. Companies also need to be seen as socially aware. This communication needs to be as rapid and immediately impactful. If you don't engage them quickly, they will move onto the next job posting with the next click.

Your interview process needs to reflect the culture you want to promote about your organization. A lengthy, process-oriented interview process will not work for the Millennial candidate. If you are a fast paced, innovative lifestyle hospitality company, you can't put candidates through an arduous, bureaucratic series of interviews. It will reflect negatively on what they can expect upon hiring. They must have a personal feel for the person that they will ultimately report to and have free access to asking questions. To assign the negotiations to a third party or if they feel disconnected from who will be their immediate leader will promote a sense of old style "top down" style management. They must have a sense of collaboration and speaking with current employees just like them will help them to get a sense of the community they would be joining.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.