If you’re looking to make a job change this year, here are a few things to look for when differentiating a good hospitality company from a great one.
With the continuous birth of new hotel brands each promising to be better than others, it’s becoming difficult for a first-time hotelier, or even a seasoned one, to make a decision when the time has come to jump ship.
As a new year has started and many are planning a new career or going for greener pastures, here are some tips to help you differentiate a great hospitality company from just a good one.
Vision, purpose, values, pillars, credo, etc., are all well-known terms to us hoteliers. Each and every company has all of those posted on the walls of the heart of the house, staff restaurant, HR offices, and areas where staff are typically passing through all the time, to make sure they do not forget why they have chosen to work there.
But this is not all you need from a company that is serious about doing business and looks after their employees as much as they do for their guests.
So what are the traits you need to look for in a company that is worth joining?
In every relationship, be it personal or work, trust is the foundation of a long-term engagement and one that will produce results.
Make it a point during the interview process to ask about it to the person who is recruiting you. See what they do to earn trust from employees but also how much trust do they provide to employees.
I know that trust must be earned, but someone has to go first; someone has to make the first step forward. My opinion is that trust must first be given in order to be earned.
To mention Patrick Lencioni and one of his books, ‘’The five dysfunctions of a team,” trust comes first in order to build a strong and performing team in any organization.
We all seem to finally have woken up from the fact that something has to be done in order to save the only planet where we can all live. And I am not talking about only removing plastic bottles or amenities in refillable containers. Here’s what a sustainable company is in three steps.
1. Investment in education. There is no point to remove plastic bottles if we do not educate people already from elementary school. The kids are the future generations, and we need to invest to educate kids on the impact of pollution, contamination and environmental impact. Teaching in schools and the company’s effort to assist schools in doing so is 10 steps forward when it comes to sustainability. The other area of education where we can make a difference is in teaching people how to manage money. It’s all well and good for a company to provide livelihood to the local community, but in the case of developing countries, the impact to a household from earning $200 a month to earning $700 a month is huge. What do companies do in order to teach their employees how to manage their income and not fall into consumerism and get into financial debt very fast?
2. Use of resources. How does a company use resources like energy and water, and what do they do to conserve and make it most efficient or even recycle it? For example, is the company recycling its waste water for its irrigation plant? Or is electricity in full or part harvested through other means (solar, wind, etc.) or even purchased through suppliers that use only sustainable energy production and not fossil fuels?
3. To actually be sustainable. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “sustained” as “maintained at length without interruption or weakening.” Therefore, if we build a business that cannot survive in the very long run, there is no point in doing so. Ask your company what are their (very) long-term plans, who are the owners, and why have they built the project in the first place?
Human resources is not a department, it is people working for people. Ensure that you question a company’s HR practices. How do they train and develop staff? What’s their policy for inclusion and diversity? Ask them to show you the staff facilities (changing rooms, staff restaurant, leisure room, training room, etc.). Ask to speak to other staff members and see what they tell you about the company.
A company that gives you room to be yourself
I can mention one company that in one of their statements claims ‘’room to be yourself.” This is InterContinental Hotels Group, and when I worked for them some 10 years back, it was one of the statements that struck me.
There is nothing worse than to work for a company that does not give you the freedom to be who you are. Everyone has a personality and the right to display his or her best part.
Modern elders and the rest
I am sure you have all heard of Chip Conley. He founded the Modern Elder Academy, a learning platform (actually a real place where you stay for a week and learn) in Baja California Sur where the ‘’modern elders’’ or the people like me of the age of 50 and around it, can learn how to work with other generations in order not to feel like their experience isn’t valued and are looking for directions.
There are more and more younger generations working with Generation X (my generation), and we are due to work with them for the next 10 to 15 years at least. If we are not prepared to learn how to handle this new movement, we can be out of work very soon.
The point I am making here is to understand what your company—or prospective company—is doing about this. How do they manage the relationship and work between different generations? What kind of support do they provide?
This is my take on what it’s worth to know about a company and what values it should have. At the end of the day, you should ask yourself if it’s more relevant to work for the people (behind a brand) or the brand itself to enjoy a long-term relationship with your employer.
Predictions seem to say that the sea of brands is only growing bigger and the choice will only get more difficult, so get your facts, question as much as possible and get clarity. This will help you decide about your career and future.
Rocco Bova, an Italian-born hotelier, is a passionate, energetic and enthusiastic professional, with experience from classic hotels to cutting edge design, from business city properties to resorts operations and from golf resorts to destination wellness with over 25 years of experience. Currently Mr. Bova is the GM of Chable' Resort & SPA, a luxury wellness resort set in the Yucatan jungle of Mexico.
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