Blog “Talent management and its role in the development of a customer centric culture within the hospitality sector”
HR in hospitality event 07 June 2018 (Esther O’Halloran)
Kindly hosted by DAM at the ‘In & Out Club’ St James Square
Peter Reilly from the Institute of Employment Studies provided some great context to the start of the discussion. We work in culture of instant gratification where people are impatient and want to see change happening. Is talent management a strategic priority in your business? One of the challenges is that talent is hard to define and it means different things to different organisations, so where is your focus? Do you look at everyone as talent or just leaders, critical roles, HIPO’s or who has the potential to become future leaders? The model you choose to adopt will become your focus on talent development.
There is a shift change in more bespoke products and development and a move from standardisation, so stretch what you offer. Rethink the way in which you organise yourself, structures, processes, incentives and building capability. Talent management needs to be reimagined so it will be a fundamental change from what you currently do if you want to stay ahead.
There are some interesting themes that emerged through a recent study in ‘Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes’ edited by Norma D’Annunzio-Green that challenge some assumptions and raised a number of questions:
• Is hospitality a hire and fire sort of sector?
• Do we make people go through so many hoops and ‘audition’ for roles?
• Are the sort of jobs we are asking people to do a ‘big ask’ considering the wages we pay?
• Have we shifted the power dynamic enough from employer to employee?
• Do we put too many processes in place as we love a process, (but it can stop effective work)?
• Have we been explicit enough in our definition of the behaviours we require and how we recognise them?
After all, we are now in the experience economy where people expect to be ‘delighted’ by our service. So we now need to look at a different approach to talent management from the Supply side; hire for attitude and train for skills, build more than buy (set targets for the proportion of jobs filled internally). To Business integration; flexible development and deployment to Cultural development; performance management and reward.
The panel discussion continued the debate further expertly led by respected industry journalist Katie Jacobs, alongside Andrew Stembridge, Eamonn Cole and Liz Cave. Some of the advice, insight and tips that came through from our experts really resonated with the audience;
• Culture & Strategy – ensure talent management is part of your culture where everyone lives and breathes it, ensure it is embedded in your strategy documents. Healthy to have a debate around talent in the senior team, disagree and challenge each other. The younger generation will not adapt to your organisation you need to adapt to them and senior leaders need to be aware of this. One talent management strategy for the whole business does not work, there is no ‘one size fits all’, this approach is no longer relevant. Make it fit for the different departments, teams and individual needs. Leadership skills has become harder for line managers, the diversity of the skills they need today is 100 times greater than before, they are stretched in so many ways, so you need to set your strategy to know where as HR you need to closely manage talent and equally know where it can go wrong (those pinch points).
• Talent exists in every individual – Consider how you structure your L&D, nurture and grow your talent from your KP’s, Housekeeping to FnB. Your philosophy should be to treat every individual as being equally important. Talk regularly to your people about how you can support their development, not just once a year. Ensure you have the tools and mechanisms to support them to be the best they can be. Consider how prepared are you to support the wider hospitality industry, think outside your own organisation.
• Can you change the supply of people into your organisation? The retail sector is going through a tough time at the moment with many well known high street brands closing or shrinking their footprint. Many skills are transferrable between retail and hospitality, both are customer facing and provide service. We have some great stories to tell in our sector of how we develop talent, so can we tap into this and attract more talent from outside such as from the retail sector? After all we are a more attractive sector in comparison to retail!
Interesting areas for us to explore and I would encourage your HR teams to really think wider about talent management and what this actually means for you and your organisation as well as the wider sector. Are we doing enough?
The slides from Peter’s presentation will also be available on the HR in Hospitality website.