Recruiting the best talent for the hotel industry
At a time when things are slowly picking up in the hotel industry, employers are becoming increasingly selective with whom they hire. The quality of employees, after-all, reflects the quality of service, which in turn determines whether a hotel is going to be successful or not since experience is a consumer's bottom line.
Many hotels have begun treating employee recruitment at the same level as their corporate branding efforts, realizing that the two go hand in hand.
In fact, the traditional recruitment effort has completely shifted over the last several years. Today, you won't find so many hotel jobs advertised in the classified section of newspapers. Hotels are now using colorful full-page ads, job aggregators, and industry specific job boards to attract candidates to appealing "careers" rather than jobs.
John Schadler, managing partner of Schadler Kramer Group says in a BNET article that this type of recruitment is no doubt a large investment. "But when a company is looking to find the highest quality people to bring their brand to life and deliver its promise on a daily basis, the investment is nothing short of critical," he says.
Schadler writes that historically, hotels have not put a significant amount of emphasis on creative recruitment campaigns assuming that potential employees would be motivated by simple classified ads.
But, he comments that if your hotel/resort needs to fill thousands of jobs and is looking for the best in those positions in a competitive market, you'll need to reach out to a large number of applicants and convince potential employees that the brand is "commensurate with their aspirations."
Schadler states there are many challenges when trying to motivate a highly skilled employee to leave a job they already have, or to attract college students to start as part-time employees and begin their careers at your establishment.
It's important for the employer to convey specific messages to convince potential applicants to join a new company. Schadler indicates in his article the importance of treating a prospective employee as you would a potential guest.
"In essence, the potential employee becomes your customer," he says, "the initial messages you deliver should come from an emotional place, not just a tactical one." Schadler advises that the hotel's corporate communication department should creatively advocate what your hotel/resort brand stands for and provide a sense for how your company represents a better opportunity, a better work environment or an overall enhancement of life for the prospective employee.
Monica Rojas, a human resources manager at the Marriott in Anaheim, California agrees with Schadler. She says recruitment strategies have changed significantly over the last 14 years of her career, especially since Marriott's jobs went online.
Rojas says a majority of today's employees are hired from online applications. Interestingly, she says many Marriott properties continue to have walk-in applicants, helping local properties have a steady flow of interested candidates that are often local.
Rojas observes that jobs are usually filled quickly at the Marriot because the company is branded as an excellent place to work with great company culture, compensation and benefits. When a position goes unfilled, she says it's usually due to lack of advertising or lack of movement on the hiring manager's part.
Landing a job at the Marriott is competitive. First and foremost, Rojas says a desirable candidate's background should show that they are genuinely interested in the hospitality industry.
"The Marriott really looks for somebody that's looking to make their job a career," Rojas says. "It's a goal of the company to keep employees and let them grow within the company," she says. Rojas states that it's not uncommon for associates to stay with the company for more than 20 years.
Many times she says employees explore different areas of the hospitality industry within the Marriot brand and employees are constantly encouraged to broaden their skills and background. Rojas says recruitment at the Marriot is a rigorous process, but it reflects the company's desire to retain quality personnel.
The type of recruitment a hotel or resort does is certainly important, because once a corporation has established an employee base, it is not easy to change it.
In an article entitled InterContinental Hotels: Global Branding Suite Success, Peter Gowers, Executive Vice President (EVP) of Strategy for InterContinental Hotels Group, says even if this is the case, recruitment professionals, can still influence the new people that come on board.
To do this, Gowers states in the article that there are many ways a corporation's brand values influence the recruitment process and he says recruiters are able to screen against a particular pattern of brand attributes. "For example, at Holiday Inn, we tend to recruit people who are extrovert and have a friendly demeanor and all the other things that go with our brand," he states. "At InterContinental, we try to recruit people that know how to deliver discreet service."
In the article, Gower says the company has people whose personalities reflect the brand that they run and that turns out to be very effective. "When you are trying to sell a new hotel (or get a travel agent to decide to book people into your property), there is nothing that makes them feel more comfortable about it than seeing the personality of the brand come through in the people who are going to deliver it," he comments.
Gowers says there are certain brand values that are important for InterContinental in recruitment. For one, the company looks for people who are "respectful but not sycophantic, have a degree of appreciation for the world, rather than just their local market," he notes in the interview.
He says the company tends to recruit people who know how to work with different nationalities. He states a good InterContinental General Manager will probably have worked in at least three countries and three continents.
Gowers says starting with a clear brand identity is the first way to guarantee the guest's experience. "You translate that into who you hire and you then monitor that into how they deliver," he says.