On a global level, Hilton employs more than 360,000 people around the world. Keeping its people happy and productive, therefore, is important for the hotel operator.

Under CEO Christopher Nassetta’s leadership, Hilton has rolled out a number of programmes to help its team members thrive both personally and professionally, from benefits related to parental leave, travel discounts perks, through to appreciation programmes and ongoing learning and development resources, and more.

In May this year, Hilton worked on its annual global career event called ‘Careers @ Hilton Week’, which was designed to showcase the many opportunities available in the hospitality industry for young people and other job seekers. Youth employment is a key issue in the Middle East, and as such, it has become a focus for Hilton. The importance of youth and their issues is something Nassetta highlighted during his visit to AHIC 2017 and in his interview with Hotelier Middle East (see June 2017 issue), and it’s something that even the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey HQ believes in.

Leading the human resources operations of the Middle East, Africa & Turkey is Koray Genckul, Hilton’s senior director of human resources for those regions, and takes direction from the global programmes the operator works on.

As an example, just this summer, Hilton launched a global initiative called ‘Thrive@Hilton’ to focus on its team members’ well-being. In a public statement by Nassetta, the operator has re-affirmed that its team members are its “greatest asset”. Genckul tells Hotelier: “Over the years we have seen an increase in resources and benefits for all of the team members, and we believe that these are rising our customer satisfaction, which is very important.” That is why, he says, this new value proposition was launched: “It’s about doing the right thing, giving the right tools to our team members so they can optimise the quality of their life while they are optimising their health. It’s all about having a work-life balance and giving them opportunities so that they will feel better and be better.

“Look at it, not only from the existing team members’ perspective, but also at what is important today for the youth. It’s also important that they see that they can flourish in a work environment.”

The youth issue brings up the millennial issue — who are now an integral part of all workforces. Genckul says that with the change in the mindset of talent, there has been a strategy change in how recruitment takes place. “We knew, because we do continuous research and studies, that what a job means for a young person today is different from what it was 20-25 years ago.” Highlighting that Hilton worked on events specifically to meet and engage with millennials, he says that it’s also about educating them as well as their families about the opportunities the hospitality industry has to offer.

He explains: “If you ask a parent if they want their kids to work in a hotel, most of them will think, ‘Do I want my kid to be a waiter or a receptionist or a chef?’ But the reality is very different today. In a hotel today we have a hundred-plus different roles at so many different levels, in so many different departments. So it’s hospitality beyond F&B or organising accommodation. It’s our responsibility to educate everybody about what hospitality can offer to people.

“We have roles that people would not probably know about — consolidated revenue centres or we have people looking for energy efficiency. And we have people looking at very high-end marketing projects in our organisations. So we have lots to offer to young people. It’s key for millennials to understand the different opportunities in hospitality that they can actually get.”

And certainly, the company has been recognised by many for its workplace culture. In March this year, it jumped 30 places (to No. 26) on the 2017 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list; in 2016, it was named one of the World’s 25 Best Multinational Workplaces in 2016, according to global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work, and ranked first in Saudi Arabia.

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