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Education is Preparing HR Practitioners to Better Weather Economic Storm

Need advice on how to stay grounded when ill economic winds blow? Turn to the 3rd Annual HR in Hospitality™ Conference for tips and tools to keep your team moving full steam ahead;  Disney’s Contemporary Resort, March 17-19, 2009

by Dean Harry Katz, December 15, 2008

As an educator, there are four words that I hear routinely day in and day out: “I need your advice.” Students are encouraged to turn to their teachers and counselors for guidance with a host of issues, from career planning and course instruction to life lessons and social interaction. Coincidently, these same four words are ringing loudly in the ears of Human Resources professionals through the hospitality industry. In this case, owners and operators of hotels, restaurants and casinos are desperately turning to HR practitioners in search of hope, guidance and rescue from the economic storm.

How can HR directors and managers in hospitality better prepare to answer these business-critical questions? By attending the HR in Hospitality™Conference & Expo, March 17-19, 2009, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This third-annual event, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, brings together some of the best and brightest minds in the human resources field – industry professors and hospitality peers who have worked side-by-side in the trenches to protect against economic turbulence every day. There is no better way to maintain a strong foothold in the market when ill economic winds blow than to arm oneself with education and shared expertise – and HR in Hospitality™ has these in abundance.

Today’s HR practitioners have a direct influence on the success or failure of an operation. In many cases, they are primarily responsible for selecting the company’s most valuable resources – employees. As an industry, we no longer can hire people just because they look good on paper, or because they have a long track record of working in hospitality. It all comes down to talent – and really knowing the people that are being hired.

HR in Hospitality™ will offer laser-focused strategic advice on where to find talent-rich candidates and how to better recruit and build relationships between employees and management. Hiring the wrong employee from the get-go is a sure-fire way to set up either that person or the business for failure. HR in Hospitality™ makes the future stronger for everyone involved in the hotel, restaurant and foodservice industries. It provides a forum for human resource practitioners to network and learn from top educators and executives from some of hospitality’s most successful schools and companies. It also provides direct access to the people and ideas that are shaping the hospitality industry’s future, ideas that can be put into action immediately.

Over the course of two-and-a-half days, attendees can select from more than 25 sessions across five tracks: HR Hot Topics; HR in Hotels; HR in Restaurants; Labor Relations and new for 2009, HR Best Practices. Each track has its own educational sessions targeting that particular discipline. A compelling and thought-provoking panel discussion, Anticipating Change: Political, Social and Economic Forces That Will Shape the Industry, is expected to be a big draw and should generate some great debates. Those who are worried what passage of the Employee Free Choice Act might mean for their organization and employee relations should plan to attend. In addition, general session presentations by industry notables such as Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton Hotels Corp., and Kelli Valade, SVP, PeopleWorks, Chili’s and Brinker International, also will provide valuable insight.

Other sessions include: Leading Courageously Through Tough Times; Employee Development as a Strategy for Growth; and Executing an Integrated Talent Management Strategy. Executives from companies such as Four Seasons Hotels, Joie de Vivre Hotels, B.F. Saul Hotel Division, Outback Steakhouse and Hard Rock International will share their success stories on how to Enhance the Corporate Culture; Build Customer and Employee Loyalty; Build the Employment Brand; Create Great Guest and Employee Experiences; and simply Provide Service that Rocks! 

The amount of talent under one roof, and the vast knowledge and experience shared at HR in Hospitality™ is astounding. In addition to the educational forum, HR practitioners can visit the Expo hall to learn about products and services related to: Benefits Administration, Compensation Systems & Services, Diversity Hiring/Compliance Training, Employee Assistance Programs, HR Consulting, HRO, Insurance, Payroll Software & Services, Recruitment, Retirement & 401(K) Services, Safety & Security Services, Training, Wealth Benefits & Group Life, Disability & Workers’ Compensation and more.

So, if you were to ask me for business-survival advice during this recession, here it is: Attend the HR in Hospitality™ conference in March. It’s the best place for HR professionals to acquire tools and knowledge that will help their organizations weather these tough economic times. And, if you register by Jan. 16, 2009, you can save $350.00 on the registration cost. Visit for details.

Harry Charles Katz is the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean/Jack Sheinkman Professor of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. His major fields of interest are industrial relations and labor economics. Katz joined Cornell in 1985 as an associate professor in the ILR School and in 1989 was named director of Cornell's Institute of Collective Bargaining. Katz had been a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1977 to 1985. He also was director of the National Telecommunications Research and Policy Consortium from 1993 to 1996. He earned his A.B. degree in 1973 and his Ph.D. in 1977, both in economics, from the University of California-Berkeley. He has written, co-written or co-edited more than 14 books and numerous articles in his field and is the associate editor of Industrial and Labor Relations Review as well as a member of the editorial board of Revista Latinoamerica de Estudios del Trabajo.

About HR in Hospitality™

HR in Hospitality™ is developed and produced by Human Resource Executive® magazine, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University ILR School. 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: HR in Hospitality™ Conference & Expo, March 17 - 19, 2009; NY HR Week™, May 4-6, 2009; and HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, September 30 - October 2, 2009. 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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