Consequently, Covid-19 has also changed the landscape of hospitality recruitment. Hiring activity has been hit hard in our industry, with so many properties, hotels, and resorts forced into closing and resulting in human capital redundancies at all levels.
So, the big question now is: “what will the ‘new normal’ consist of?”. We can expect incredible competition for top hospitality talent as global lockdowns and travel restrictions relax, and hotels, fine dining and restaurants begin to open, vacations will be booked, and hospitality will pick up and begin to thrive again.
Corporate and VP HR’s will play a central role in readapting and rebuilding hospitality organisations: previous talent management strategies and trends will need to be reimagined for the post-pandemic world.
Where work-from-home and other workplace rearrangements have become “normal” consequences for a majority of industries, this does not apply to the hospitality sector, where direct human contact is and remains the practice that sustains hospitality’s brand and service standards.
Major international hotel groups will automatically have access to their own internal resources, before considering recruiting external skillsets. They will certainly target this at first, not only from a brand loyalty perspective but also because of budget restrictions, which are consequential of the dire financial situation the hospitality industry has endured in 2020.
So in post-Covid-19 hospitality, the talent base will change, not only because of an abundance of available candidates “on the market”, but also because hospitality properties will need to plan on additional Human Capital spending as they will replace talents that may have been lost during the pandemic, as well as they will need to improve its senior leadership skills to address a whole range of different skills and strategies needed to emerge successfully in the new-normal world. (in many cases this will require pre-opening and crisis management experience).
“Hospitality leadership needs to think outside the box in order to re-establish the attractiveness of its box. That will take bigger people and bigger boxes – not smaller boxes with smaller talents”.
This up-skilling and up-scaling situation automatically opens the door to the renewed need for “Talent Assessment”.
The quality of new hiring policies will be a top priority. What was actually the “expected normal” i.e., finding and hiring the right people, has now become a must as a “condicio sine qua non”.
Critical roles will receive priority since delivering the business agenda and the required leadership are absolutely key conditions for hospitality’s successful return to an active market.
There will be new business priorities to rethink and reconfigure adaptations to business needs and guest experiences, which if approached correctly by the right people, will deliver tremendous business opportunity.
One will need to develop a roadmap towards an innovative talent strategy aimed both at the guest’s preferences as well as a property’s profile and brand. The best talent executives will be those who adapt swiftly to the urgent requirements of the ‘new normal’, while simultaneously considering cost and productivity standpoints. Hospitality’s ‘new normal’ will seek profiles who look outside the box, who can build a new win-win strategy, who are pro-active and intuitive in their personal approach rather than opting towards pre-pandemic generic solutions.
Talent assessment becomes therefore increasingly important. Senior leadership will have to be focused and decisive about Human Capital strategies. Leaders will have to break away from traditional SOP’s to achieve new objectives.
The attraction of top talent will be considered as an indirect marketing tool, with human capital’s immediate reflection on the property’s branding, its image, and will automatically bring the much-needed differentiation from its competitors. The important argument in our post-Covid-19 era will also be one of budget and financial requirements: indeed, not only attract top-talented executives but retain them, which in itself is already a cost-saving aspect.
There will also be a need for readdressing bonus plans and compensation, given that so many properties have been closed over the last year and that the RevPAR for 2021 is and will remain an unknown factor. However, this aspect does not belong in our specific focus of talent assessment.
And furthermore, when new investment projects are in their development phase and the due diligence process is ongoing, one of the most important aspects and priorities will consist of knowing that the right management with the fitting leadership capabilities is part of the project. And if not, need to be identified, assessed and recruited as a priority.
Again: “Talent Assessment”.
Talent must be attracted, but also must be retained: which brings us to the concept of the creation of a talent pipeline, which will protect an employer. 2020 has taught us that one should always be prepared for when fast changes arrive, ensuring that there will be no shortage of talent when needed. The talent pipeline is in itself an interesting subject for future articles.
RLA Global has over the years - due to its broad international exposure with an impressive client reference list composed of high -profile and successful brands and properties throughout the world - already delivered the benefits of best-practice-leadership strategy through its experience and collaborations.
RLA Global’s respected reputation is therefore well placed, not only to identify these very unique out of the box thinking top-level executives but also to offer hospitality leadership’s best practices to those properties committed to market dominance after COVID-19.
About the author: Rita Levy, Senior Associate Partner of HR & Executive Search
Rita is the Senior Associate Partner for Human Resources and Executive Search of RLAglobal. Since 2009 she has selected and placed management profiles throughout the EMEA region representing owners, international hotel groups for various hospitality and leisure assets as well as for upscale and luxury developments. Her linguistic skills of 7-languages are combined with an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Human Capital in the hospitality and tourism industry.