Originally featured on HotelExecutive – https://lnkd.in/gGx9QJR
People, colleagues, human capital, teammates, coworkers (whatever you choose to call it) are the most important factor in executing against a hotel or travel tech company’s vision. As such, it’s imperative to attract the right candidates, and sell them on the long term goals.
Candidates that buy into the overall company vision will have a clear understanding of who they’ll be working for and what they’ll be spending all their time working towards. We do, after all, spend quite a bit more time at work then we do anywhere else, which means helping people see what they’re building towards, the vision, is incredibly important at every step of the employment lifecycle. Below are a few tips on how best to sell yourself as an employer to your candidates and future employees, as well as how to keep the vision alive for employees.
Brand Your Hotel
Today, a hotel’s brand is about more than the logo on the door, and more than the ‘customer promise’ that hotels publish on their website. It includes elements like location. Is a property in the middle of downtown or does it get a lot of foot traffic from convention center attendees? Is there a music hall nearby that brings in international guests? If the property is close to the capital of the state or any other unique tourist locations, these can be critical components in building a property’s brand. Candidates appreciate knowing what they’ll be packaging for their guests, and if they’re local, might even find out about places they were unaware of.
For current employees, it’s important for hotel leadership to keep its finger on the pulse of what’s happening in a neighborhood. If a new bar is opening up (one that doesn’t compete with the restaurant on the property), it may behoove the hotel management to be aware of it, and convey early thoughts. It’s always best when hotel employees can speak about their town based on their experience, but if the information can’t be first hand, management can offer basic feedback about local establishments.
A property’s bran also includes the key internal features. Does a hotel have free bikes for guests, a great award winning spa, a Michelin Star restaurant and/or anything else unique about it? If so, share this information with candidates and employees alike. If there are extra rooms now and then, treat them to the hotel experience. This is a great courting practice for candidates, and a reminder for employees about what they’re trying to accomplish. Again, this is about creating the ability to speak to the hotel on a personal level.
Partnerships are also critical, and hotels with many established relationships throughout a town can typically find better talent, and increase repeat guest bookings. Neighborhood relationships matter, and it’s far easier to establish them than most hotel leaders want to admit. By simply connecting with management at complementary establishments, it’s possible to build unofficial rewards programs and perks for guests. There is often a way to build reciprocal agreements with other restaurants, venue halls and attractions; that is, a hotel refers guests to certain attractions that may offer a discount. In return, these attractions can do the same, creating a new source of (largely direct) hotel bookings.
This is a great way to be connected and be part of the “what’s going on” in town. Being involved with the town chamber of commerce will also help keep a property remain connected. Candidates that love the town will really appreciate being a part of something bigger than just the hotel. Employees who are able to take advantage of these discounts will often consider them to be a perk of the job, and stay longer. Guests will often appreciate having an insider’s look (and discount) to what’s happening in town. Partnerships create wins for everyone.
Another type of partnership to consider is the hospitality related groups within the town and throughout your state. These organizations can play an important role for current employees by offering various certification and networking opportunities (meaning referral hiring). They can also be critical to candidates, in that they show a hotel’s seriousness about creating career growth and opportunity.
Regarding a hotel’s brand in the hiring and HR processes, it’s also important to be transparent with candidates and employees about where there is room for improvement. In hiring, this may sound counter-intuitive, but it will show that management is aware and has a plan to move forward. For current employees, taking stock of a hotel’s overall performance and identifying ways to be more in line with the hotel’s vision can lead to growth opportunities. Many of the most effective change agents across an organization’s staff simply need the opportunity to run with a project.
Spotlight Your Team
In hiring, it’s important to highlight the team and the leaders for candidates to have an understanding of who they’ll be working for and in what capacities. This will provide a full picture to the candidates of how decisions will be made and why. Hiring managers should go into detail about the manager’s background, and cover the successes and failures with the hotel. They should also provide similar information about the team members a candidate might be joining. Regardless of the role, these are the people candidates will be working with every day, and in the hiring process, it can help to set up a quick meet and greet with vetted candidates. Having potential team members connect with their future colleagues can lead them to feel comfortable about joining the team. It can really make the difference between a new employee or continuing your search.
Part of the team environment has to do with benefits. One one hand, classic benefits like standard medical and vacation benefits are important to all candidates, but for properties that offer something unique, there is an incredible opportunity to have their pick of the litter when it comes to candidates. Some of the more powerful offerings in the market include:
- Personal growth time – This is where the employee can spend a percentage of time focused on growth by volunteering, taking a class, just going to the gym or something similar.
- Training and a career path. Training helps employees become more knowledgeable of their current positions (as things are always changing). Cross training will help employees understand how the hotel company functions as a whole. Employees can fill in where needed and they’ll also know if they are interested in other roles.
- Fringe benefits. This includes everything from team events, such as “employee only” happy hours or food tastings, to the opportunity to take advantage of the partnerships mentioned earlier.
It’s also important for current employees to feel recognized and understood. Employee of the month programs may be cliche, but if they’re executed in a way that colleagues learn about each other (perhaps recognition comes with 3 odd facts about an employee), they can be great for team morale and employee longevity.
If they’re hosted in a public-facing manor, they can also help guests feel more comfortable with their stay. After all, the company/hotel team as a whole changes the everyday experience for the guests as well as other team members. Most people tend to avoid friction or any sign of it, so make sure to share how your teams are special and connected.
Sell the Vision
A hotel’s overall vision is based on a number of factors, and can be applied in a number of ways. In hiring, growth-oriented candidates want to hear about how this isn’t a job, but how a hotel plans to support their career path. How does an employee grow in a company, and what concrete steps does a hotel have in place to support this growth is a critical factor in finding the right employees. But it isn’t just about individual growth.
It’s important to provide a clear understanding of where the team is, where hotel leadership wants it to be, and how the potential hire fits into the desired outcome. Being transparent about the vision and how to get there will provide the candidate with a better understanding of what their role will entail. This is a time to skip the sugar coating. Goals can truly drive an employee. The candidate can see this as a challenge. If a candidate is not intrigued by the team goals and the works it takes to get there, then they are not the ideal candidate for a property.
The above also applies to the company/hotel team goals as a whole. While the team goals can be as simple as improving the time on a service, the hotel goals can be improving the star rating, becoming the new party spot in town or becoming more family friendly. Whatever the goals are, they matter to potential employees. This especially important because you want it to align with the types of properties the candidate wants to work for throughout their career. A simple example of this is if the property wants to become more family friendly and the employee wants to work for the “it” spot in town that hosts parties. This is a little difference that can change a candidate’s mind about joining a property.
Attracting the right candidates, and maintaining the right people, is all about having a cohesive, easily explained and demonstrated overall vision. Leaders who can effectively brand their hotel, spotlight their team, and truly sell the vision, will build long lasting teams that create experiences that keep guests coming back.
Originally featured on HotelExecutive – https://lnkd.in/gGx9QJR