The group of human resources experts gathered together at ITP Media Group on October 31 to discuss pertinent issues. The group of human resources experts gathered together at ITP Media Group on October 31 to discuss pertinent issues.

Now, let’s talk engagement.

David: We work with Aon. Our engagement is based on six questions that relate to pride in the job: willingness to stay, willingness to recommend jobs to friends and family... satisfaction is a measure, but engagement is not driven by satisfaction.

Traditionally, we’ve been perceived as a lower-paying industry, but we compensate that through the engagement, environment, culture, and L&D that we deliver. We make it a great place to be, that’s why people keep coming into this industry, and stay with us for such a long time.

Lynne: Once you get into the industry, it’s an addictive place to be. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Peter: From a service industry point of view, you have a number of benefits that are tangible. We have the best of both worlds: we’re probably mid-market payers when it comes to industries, but we’ve got a lot of other tangible things that most people would grab with both hands. There’s not many other industries where you can say that. Once you fit in to the culture, you stay here for a long, long time.

Lynne: It comes down to leadership, as well. Leaders are key to creating a culture in which people are treated well. You need good leaders that will take care of guests, and take care of your team.

David: The career opportunities in this industry are  significant, more so than in others. Leaders in our industry often rise through the ranks. The industry develops them, and education is supplementary rather than necessary.

Peter: From a student point of view, they need to have all the information about what different companies provide, because they need to understand what opportunities a particular company will be able to offer them, compared to another company.

Laura: A hotel is like an island, and the general manager is the chief; he is an influencer. If the culture that is being presented to new recruits is not followed up, it causes disillusionment, so the brands that are able to try to differentiate themselves. The die-hard employees who stay with a certain company not only promote the culture, but also do the follow-up.

David: I get cautious talking about age, because you can still be 60 and be millennial at heart.

Peter: To me it’s a mind-set.

David: The ability to ‘gen blend’.

Peter: You’re 100% right. It is the individual. Although there are generational themes, there’s still an individual. Even if I look at my style, certain aspects of my behaviour are indicative of my age, but in other things, I think differently. The requirements are the same for all generations; we just need to recognise that we need to move towards things that meet the needs of the specific generation that we’re targeting.

Mark: The literature shows that it’s actually the challenges that drive people to choose this sector.

Lynne: I agree; yesterday, three of our eight new joinees were engaged when it came to cross-training and learning.

Peter: We have a programme that we call ‘ExCom Y’. When we talk about this in relation to new starters; they always ask when they can apply to it. We have 10 individuals on it, six internal, and four external. They meet and mirror our normal ExCom; they are engaged in the discussion, and are involved in conversations that the ExCom has. They want to be involved in areas where they can add value, getting involved in programmes that can meet their needs, drive their careers, take them to the next position, earn them more money, you name it.

We’ve got opportunities that link with people’s individual needs and motivate them. They have what’s required; we just need to provide the opportunity.

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