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From Attracting, Retaining and Training Staff to Employer Branding
and Incentive Building, HR in Hospitality™ Conference
Tackles Tough Issues

Produced in association with Human Resource Executive® magazine, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration,and Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, ‘HR in Hotels’ track sheds light on hiring practices and building a competitive advantage Wynn Las Vegas, March 16 - 19, 2008 
HORSHAM, PA. — SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 — Human resource practices for hotels takes center stage when the 2nd Annual HR in Hospitality™ Conference ( kicks off March 16-19, 2008, at Wynn Las Vegas. The event is produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences and developed and co-sponsored by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. HR in Hospitality™ also is endorsed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The three-day conference tackles tough issues for hotel, restaurant and foodservice professionals in HR management, with customized tracks for each of the three segments. Six educational sessions dedicated to “HR in Hotels” have been crafted for this event:

  • “Employer Branding: Building Competitive Advantage” 
  • “Maximizing the Benefits of Incentive Compensation at Your Hotel”
  • “The West Paces Way: Care, Dream, Risk, Expect”
  • “Creating Effective Partnerships With Your Hiring Managers”
  • “Strategies to Attract and Retain “Back of the House” Employees”
  • “Creating a Consistent Service Culture in a Multi-Brand Environment”
“Human resource professionals no longer are just order takers – they need to step up their hiring practices and really know who they are hiring,” said Diana M. Meisenhelter, principal of Long Beach, Calif.-based Riviera Advisors, a management consultancy focused on talent-management issues. “The hotel business in particular demands that talent-seekers step up. We need to be strategic in finding the right people that provide desired results to our clients. That means not hiring based solely on longevity or experience, but on true talent.”

Meisenhelter will lead the session titled “Creating Effective Partnerships With Your Hiring Managers,” in which she offers advice on constructing service-level agreements, prioritizing competing recruitment activities and identifying critical recruiting process metrics. As a speaker at the inaugural event in March 2007, Meisenhelter said she received feedback from attendees asking for more laser-focused strategic advice on recruiting and building relationships.

“This session will help HR managers in hotels not only learn where to find candidates, but how to implement strategies with hiring managers to guarantee that we are finding the ‘best’ talent,” she said. “If the wrong person is put into a position from the beginning, we are just setting him or her up for failure. The HR in Hospitality™ conference is working to make the future stronger for everyone involved in the hotel, restaurant and foodservice industries, and I’m thrilled to take part in it.”

Sean Broderick, vice president of national sales development for talent-solutions provider Bernard Hodes Group, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., concurred. Together with Susan Halley, vice president of talent acquisition, Harrah’s, Las Vegas, he will kick off the Hotel track with the session: “Employer Branding: Building Competitive Advantage.” In this session, Broderick will show that for hotels committed to attracting top talent, it’s important to create a compelling employment branding message and a positive recruitment and selection experience for the candidate. Halley will then describe how Harrah’s has become an employer of choice and how the company builds loyalty and value through its employees. 

“Across the hospitality industry, the impact of employer branding is now being seen as a source of potential competitive advantage,” Broderick said. “This session brings the marketing and branding principles that are used on Madison Avenue to create the most successful consumer campaigns to the realm of talent acquisition. Building brand awareness is not new to hotels, but branding for employment sake is. Hotels need to look at employee candidates as the consumer, and create compelling, provocative buying experiences for candidates across every touch point of the organization as the candidates go through the hiring cycle.”

Once talent is found, keeping it is another overwhelming challenge in the hotel business. Margaret Dyekman, President and COO of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based WageWatch Inc., a provider of online compensation and benefits surveys, will discuss how tips, commissions and other performance-based cash incentives determine the standard of living for many hotel employees – and help in the attraction/retention process.

“‘Maximizing the Benefits of Incentive Compensation at Your Hotel’ targets anyone in HR who has responsibility for incentive plan design and administration,” Dyekman said. “It also targets those who are growing in their profession, because ‘if you don’t know what you don’t know,’ it will be harder to get to the next level career-wise.”

Incentive compensation design makes the HR professional’s jobs very complex, she said, and HR managers should be weighing in on decisions around compensation for many jobs that are very different.

“To do this, they need to be advisors to, and partners with, line management and the finance team to ensure the best plan is designed and implemented,” Dyekman said. “Plans should routinely be evaluated and changed as business needs change.”

Dyekman will be co-presenting with Sheila C. Sever, Director of Americas Compensation for InterContinental Hotels Corp. Sever will explain how Intercontinental Hotels Group designs, approves, communicates and administrates their property-level incentive plans. Attendees will leave this session knowing how to properly apply all incentive plans at their respective companies. 

As corporate director of human resources for Greenville, S.C.-based JHM Hotels, an operator of more than 29 multi-branded hotels, Cindy McPheeters attended the HR in Hospitality™ conference in March 2007. Impressed with the program, she returns in 2008 to lead “Creating a Consistent Service Culture in a Multi-Brand Environment.”  McPheeters will discuss the JHM culture and how it has been woven through the organization’s people, marketing and processes to become an integral part of its operation. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to attend conferences produced by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the past, but nothing compares to HR in Hospitality™,” McPheeters said. “This event is hospitality specific – and in my case, hotel specific. As we all know, the hotel field is unique, and it is very comforting to know there finally is an event that addresses issues I and my peers face every day. After attending the first conference, I returned to my office with specific goals that I immediately put into action. I’m thrilled to have been asked to speak at the 2008 conference because it’s an event that I truly believe in. What you take away is worth every penny – and the networking is priceless.”

For registration details, including early-bird registration and the conference’s full agenda, visit For exhibitor and sponsorship information, visit or contact Fred Kurst, trade show manager for Southeast, Southwest, West, N.Y. and Europe, at (703) 393-8304; or Nancy Sommar, trade show manager for New England, Midwest, Pa., N.J. and Canada, at (215) 784-0910, ext. 623. 

About HR in Hospitality™

HR in Hospitality™ is developed and produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. HR in Hospitality™ is the premier event specifically for professionals in the hospitality industry who handle employment law, human resource management and labor relations.

In addition to the conference, the HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to benefits, HRO, legal, payroll, screening and assessment, training, and recruiting.

About HRE® Conferences

Thousands of HR professionals network, research workforce solutions and make buying decisions at the three annual Human Resource Executive® events: NY HR Week™, April 15-17, 2008; HR in Hospitality™, March 16-19, 2008; and the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, October 10-12, 2007.  More information about these conferences can be accessed at

Note to editors: HR in Hospitality™ is produced by HRE® Conferences, a division of LRP Conferences, LLC. Trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein remain the property of their respective owners. A limited number of complimentary press passes are available for HR in Hospitality™. To request a press pass, please contact PRPRO.


Barb Worcester
Tel: (440) 930-5770



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