Finding the Perfect Hotel Employee

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | January 06, 2019

Making the wrong hire can have ghastly repercussions for a hotel property or travel tech company. Between the costs associated with paying for poor performance, the drain on employee morale, time spent in training and onboarding, time needed to find another new employee, recruiter fees and the opportunity cost of not selecting the right person, getting it right the first time is critical. The US Department of Labor estimates that the cost of a bad hire is 30% of that person's income; for a startup in travel tech or an established property, this is a massive investment in… nothing.

However, nearly no company can succeed without bringing in outside talent. Whether it's replacing an employee who's moved into a new department (or new company), roles shifted because of technology, or even basics like retirement, companies in the travel space are required to make hires. Following are tips that help to ensure that a new hire is the right hire.

Know Your Team

The first step in the process of finding the right employee is to evaluate your existing team. It's important to have a realistic grasp on who they are, how they operate, where they are exceeding expectations and where they are lacking or need improvement. With this information, it is possible to shift the focus of the job description, allowing hiring managers to more easily find great candidates and also empowering the property or company to use the hiring window as an opportunity for growth, as opposed to lateral movement. In addition, there are corporate culture elements that should be considered when thinking about an existing team, after all, this is the group that will be handling a majority of training.

Having working knowledge of the team in place also makes it it possible for recruiters and hiring managers to offer a realistic view of the team to candidates. Not every property is willing to put potential hires through group interviews, or hire by committee. This places the onus on recruiters and HR folks to know exactly what an employee is getting into by accepting the role. After all, if potential employers paint a pretty picture and the candidate/new employee makes a potentially life altering decision to join a new company, the last thing they want to find out is that they were deceived. That is the quickest way to ruin your reputation as an employer and have people quit.

Develop a Referral Pipeline

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.