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GMs point to lenient visa laws and poaching by new hotels as problems

Speaking during a panel at last week's Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate 2013, general managers from hotels across the UAE were keen to discuss staffing and recruitment challenges in the country.

Empowerment through delegation was a key point of the session, with Patrick Antaki, complex general manager of the Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort and Al Maha A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa commenting: “People talk about empowerment but there is no real delegation. We tell service staff they are empowered, but we delegate them no responsibility.”

Antaki went on to stress the importantance of developing standard operating procedures to empower colleagues and encourage them to make their own decisions: “Give them the framework, give them the protection, write the SOP, write the procedure, and then the system has to be followed.”

Radisson Blu Hotel Deira Creek general manager Tim Cordon agreed: “People have to believe in themselves as well and not just the product. Empowerment has to exist.”

The GMs also lamented on the practice of new hotels poaching staff with higher salaries.

Antaki complained: “One thing I've found is that every time a hotel opens, they raise the bar in the salaries so the pool of employees are moving from one hotel to the newest one because they are paying an extra AED100 for the waiters.”

“We really need to look at new pools of recruitment, we also need to start looking at educating the new recruits, educating the new generation of people,” he added, echoing Jumeirah’s Gerald Lawless’ comments earlier in the day about encouraging ambition among the new generation and junior employees.

The Oberoi Dubai general manager Karim Bizid revealed the Indian hotel group also has a school of development in Delhi, India and that the company has a policy of developing 50 colleagues in house every year.

The panellists also pointed to the lenient visa rules in Dubai, which allow hotel employees to move between companies with ease as a reason for the high turnover, prompting them to seek new ways to foster loyalty.

“As hoteliers, we have to start investing in our colleagues, investing in their welfare, investing in their accommodation,” said Bizid.

“The benefits should be more than the salaries, to make them feel better, to make them more loyal and make them perform better,” agreed Cordon.

Atlantis the Palm president and managing director Serge Zaalof said: “The benefits are definitely more important. And I think slowly as we gear towards 2020, payroll and benefits will become an issue for us in Dubai as operators, which was not an issue in the old days. “

Article Context: 
Parinaaz Navdar
Story Relations: 
Hotelier GM Debate 2013 attracts 200 UAE GMs
Room rate cap a hot topic at Hotelier GM Debate
Published Date: 
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 09:45
Parent Source id: 
Modified Date: 
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 10:05
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