Emotional Intelligence: Key Challenges of Recruiting, Retaining and Rewarding Talent

By Bernadette Scott Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Business Management, Glasgow School for Business & Society/Glasgow Caledonian University | March 18, 2018

Much is written about the importance of adoption of a watertight, strategic approach to managing our talent capital. It is one which keeps us identifying, assessing and measuring talent outputs in a performance driven culture.

The reality however, is that this can never be fully achieved because we are seeking to take a static measurement of something which is in constant flux and forever moving forward. What if our approach is wrong? What if the strategists and their preoccupation with taking static performance snapshots are contributing to the industry’s challenges in attracting and keeping our talent?

A focus on facilitating excellence in the consumption experience for guests is an essential trait for any talent in hospitality management. The talent who provide this level of experiential excellence are using their creativity through action orientation. They engage a high level of emotional intelligence which is allows them to relate intimately with both guests and colleagues to pre-empt and respond to needs and desires which influence the experience.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been long argued as a core criterion between operating successfully and in developing a satisfying career in the industry. It is a basic indicator of just how well a candidate can deliver this excellence in the consumption experience and also in how the individual will cope in working with others in the essential team environments, which so characterise the industry. EI then becomes a quintessential link between performance and potential and potential and performance, depending on whether you are looking at things from recruitment-in or appraisal-out. It is crucial in identifying the value elements of talent for our industry and should therefore be at the centre of how we go about managing our talent.

Since effective talent management is considered a key tool in the competitiveness of organizations, as a concept it becomes an enabler in providing the HR function with the ability to navigate with the demands of a new workforce which is characteristically more diverse, global in outlook, autonomous, independent and yet lacking in essential experience (skills). The focus of successful talent management activity therefore for both talent and organization must logically become about the individual, which is a significant move away from the homogeneity associated with traditional HRM practices.

Standardization of talent initiatives is an ineffective practice. A scatter-gun approach wastes time and resources which would be better focused on those with identified potential within the organization’s (often changing) definition of what constitutes talent. Therefore it is arguable that an exclusive approach to managing talent is a safer bet, despite the contra-arguments of it being divisory and de-motivational etc. As long as staff, not identified as being eligible for entry to talent pools within current descriptions of organizational talent criteria, can see a clear and developmental way forward, then arguably motivation to achieve talent status will still exist. The most successful businesses know where their critical talent is and how they will deploy it, highlighting the importance of talent pipelines for succession activity and the ability to operate in an agile way.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.