Hotel companies step up their HR game to win intense talent war

Hotel companies eager to rebuild a strong team to support revived operations and intensified portfolio expansion post-lockdown are coming up with new and improved ways to recruit, retain and upskill talents.

Hilton, which was recognised as one of the World’s Best Workplaces by Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work in Asia Pacific for the seventh consecutive year in 2023, has developed a recruitment procedure that allows candidates to use their smartphones to book interview slots and record a pre-screening presentation as well as implemented an AI-driven assessment tool that screens candidates who are a better fit for the job traits, Hilton culture, and the hospitality environment.

Hotel companies are coming up with new and improved ways to recruit, retain and upskill talents

Patsy Ng, vice president for human resources – Asia-Pacific, Hilton, said: “To attract talents to join us, we need to focus on delivering a great candidate experience and will leverage recruitment technology to achieve that. We have reduced the number of touchpoints for candidates’ online applications and introduced new tools such as HireVue and Traitify to enable same-day hires, which for high volume jobs has become a critical competitive advantage.”

Once talents are in, they are embraced by the company’s “environment of inclusion”, shared Ng.

Hilton has several Team Member Resource Groups (TMRGs) to support staff at work and at home. The Women’s TMRG, for instance, is a community of allyship where female team members can tap on different leaders for support and counsel.

Soon to come in early 2024 are Abilities TMRG and Generations TMRG, built to facilitate Hilton’s move to hire differently-abled individuals and retirees/matured workers, respectively.

Recognising that the talent war is a battle that involves every hotelier, not just Hilton’s leadership, the company has initiated two global recruitment campaigns to build brand equity for the hospitality industry.

In May this year, Hilton launched Every Job Makes The Stay, a campaign that “conveys the message that behind every magical moment a guest experiences in the hotel are hundreds of exceptional people working together to make that happen”, detailed Ng.

Supporting this campaign is Find Your Thing, launched in 2022 to inform talents that “hospitality is the place where you can have a global career, working in iconic places”.

Over at Onyx Hospitality Group, compulsory training will come into effect in 2024. All staff must complete 60 hours of training every year in order to advance on their personal career track in the organisation. This requirement is part of the new Onyx Academy, which will launch with instructor-led as well as online courses that are jointly developed with a range of partners such as eCornell and Harvard Business School Online.

There will also be cross-training opportunities, where staff may be assigned to work and learn at other properties.

Yuthachai Charanachitta, owner and CEO of Onyx Hospitality Group, said: “At the end of it all, they will be better ready to move forward on their career track.”

Completion of courses will earn participants certification with reputable institutions.

He believes the programme will appeal to the younger generation, as they “want to learn and rise up quickly in the company, and the academy provides such career development opportunities”.

Meanwhile, Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG) has its eyes on the future of hotel work. It has engaged human resources consulting firm Mercer to study how work processes could be redesigned with practicality, staff well-being and resource considerations in mind. The project involves three beta-testing hotels and scrutinises all processes across departments, from front office to kitchens.

Choe Peng Sum, CEO of PPHG, emphasised that while innovation can help to create a better workplace, a strong work culture remains critical.

“To have a strong workplace culture, every team member needs to feel like they own the business,” Choe told TTG Asia.

Performance incentive schemes come in handy to encourage staff buy-ins. Across PPHG’s hotel operated restaurants, for instance, team members enjoy profit sharing.

“Some individuals can make up to 40 per cent more of their monthly income,” said Choe, who added that team members have become very motivated to come up with innovative ideas to excite and impress guests.

“We have 6,000 staff all over the world. If everyone feels that they own the business, I can sleep well at night,” remarked Choe.

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