The Hospitality Industry’s Intense Eye on Human Capital: A Hot Topic in Strategic Circles
April 7, 2016 9:51am
By: Thomas Mielke | Andrew Hazelton
At the recent Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai, Marc Blazer, Chairman & CEO of Overture Investments and co-owner of Noma, was heard saying, “I am not in the investment management business, I am in the talent management business”. This comment nicely sets the scene and actually summarises the key takeaways from a number of different industry events AETHOS attended across the globe as of late. Whether it was the HR in Hospitality Conference in Scottsdale/Arizona, the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin/Germany or the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai/UAE, one thing was clear: Human Capital is back on top of everyone’s agenda.
Operators and owners both agree that the way organisations handle Human Capital has a tremendous impact on their profitability and often comes to define them. So it should be no surprise that the best practices for recruiting, training, mentoring and supporting people have been amongst the prevailing themes at the conferences.
Of course, it should not be ‘big news’ to anyone working in the hospitality industry that there has always been an intense struggle for sourcing the right talent. So, why has Human Capital crept back up on the agenda of most hospitality company boards? Arguably, three major factors help to explain the current interest:
It is encouraging to see that industry players are again paying closer attention to Talent Management and recognising the strategic value it brings to the table. However, discussions should not be purely centred around hiring, training and retaining the best possible candidates – we have had those discussions in the past and whilst those have been productive it would be important for other Talent Management issues to be broached in board rooms and at conferences around the world. For example, it would be beneficial to hear more about the value proposition of diversity in attracting top talent and informing better decision-making by guarding against ‘group think’.
Think about it: If you were to map out the people you know at work, how likely will it be that you will come up with a highly diverse list of individuals of different ages, gender, socio-economic, ethnical or cultural backgrounds? Is your organisation providing equal opportunities to abled and disabled employees? How about any prevalence of ivy-league school graduates? Sure enough, the hospitality industry provides employment to individuals from a plethora of backgrounds and its workforce is an extremely international one. However, does it give enough opportunities for individuals to move up the ranks? Are there glass-ceilings not only for women but also for other groups? And, does the industry do enough to capitalise on an aging workforce whilst keeping the Millennials engaged?
Keeping in mind the heightened M&A activity and the international buy-out or take-over activity that the hospitality industry is currently witnessing: How well do you think your organisation would fair if it were made up of likeminded individuals not used to be challenged or questioned by a different perspective? By individuals who predominantly come from the Western world and, although having gained international work experience, who have first and foremost made their careers in European or American institutions with belief systems quite distinct from their Asian counterparts?
What companies and industry leaders should really talk about and address is how modernisation (in emerging markets) does not necessarily mean Westernisation; how growth does not necessarily need to be managed in the same old ways by the same old people; how leadership values in one country may differ to another and how talent management programs may (and should) be vastly different from one region to another. In short: Copy-pasting tried and tested processes (or ‘plug-and playing’ successful business leaders) may not always work. Embracing diversity is key and finding and retaining those individuals who are adaptable and open to change with an ability to constantly re-invent themselves. The conversation should hereby steer away from the typical gender-focused diversification. Instead, it should be focused on incorporating as many diverse perspectives as possible.
Tags: andrew hazelton,
human capital management
As a founding partner of AETHOS Consulting Group, Thomas has a track record in successfully placing senior executives at leading hospitality companies across the EMEA region. He is an AESC certified consultant and is working together with travel wholesalers, real estate development firms, investment companies and sovereign wealth funds as well as leading restaurant brands in identifying key talent and has joined forces with clients in establishing compensation schemes as well as organisational structures and workflows.
Contact: Thomas Mielke
Andrew Hazelton is Managing Director at AETHOS Consulting Group. An experienced recruitment consultant, he has over a decade of retained executive search experience in a variety of industries, including hotel, restaurant, gaming, real estate, finance, and technology. Prior to joining AETHOS Consulting Group Andrew was with HVS Executive Search and spent six years with Korn/Ferry International. Throughout his career he has been responsible for completing a number of C-suite searches globally. He has authored a number of articles on executive selection, general HR trends and compensation for the hospitality industry. Andrew is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, an active alumni member, and a member of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society.
Contact: Andrew Hazelton
+1 (267) 335-3419
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