Interview: HMH HR director Liz Regan

As company goes through busy phase, Regan reveals her recruitment strategy

Liz Regan, director of HR & training, HMH.
Liz Regan, director of HR & training, HMH.

Liz Regan, director of HR & training at Hospitality Management Holdings, reveals her recruitment strategy during a busy time for the group

What is your career background?

I have more than 26 years of experience in the hospitality sector. My initial posting in the Middle East was as regional training manager for IHG in Egypt, after which I joined Le Royal Méridien Bahrain as director of HR and training. I then re-joined IHG as area training manager based in Nairobi before returning to the Arabian Gulf to head up HR and training for the Rezidor Hotel Group. Before joining Hospitality Management Holdings (HMH), I was director of training at Emirates Palace for about five years.

When did you join HMH and what are your responsibilities?

I joined HMH in March this year. My key responsibilities include the shaping and implementation of HR and training strategy at HMH, recruitment of senior executives, managing and supporting the team at the various hotels, as well as talent management and leadership training.

What’s the recruitment strategy?

While recruiting staff, the most important consideration is to ensure HMH’s signature standards are maintained. Therefore, we have put in place a recruitment strategy that is going to be critical for our long-term success. We carry out both in-house recruitment and we use recruitment agencies. Openings are announced on our brand websites and on key industry online and offline platforms. Shortlisted applicants are invited for assessment. Once appointed, they go through a training process that makes them aware that they are valuable from the day they are hired.

What is the Emiratisation policy at HMH?

We are a home-grown Emirati company and our doors have always been open to all nationalities, including Emiratis. We do have some Emirati staff, however, it is quite hard to attract nationals to work for hotels. Moving forward, we are definitely looking at developing an Emiratisation programme at HMH in keeping with the objectives of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). In addition, it will enhance guest experience as Emirati staff serve as cultural ambassadors for the country.

Interview continues on next page...

What HR policies have you implemented since joining HMH?

We can proudly say that we provide beginners and established staff with world-class training and the necessary opportunities and environment for career development. At the heart of it all is our commitment to serving our guests better because the real secret to success in our industry is providing the best guest experience.

That often translates to how a staff member caters to a guest’s needs, which depends on how well the staff member is trained. HMH’s proven track record and excellent experience is reflected in our unique training modules, standards and policies.

Interactive sessions, up-to-date programmes and a mix of nationalities bring richness and depth of international perspective to our trainings. We are committed to innovation and seek to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and ownership at all levels of employees.

My Best & Worst

The best advice I was ever given: Be yourself, trust yourself and always be honest to yourself.

My best career move: I don’t think that there has been one best career move, as at the time, each move has been the best move. What I do believe is that all the moves and experiences are cumulative and give shape to who I am today.

My worst career move: My first job in the Gulf. I arrived and shortly thereafter my boss was fired. Needless to say I left within a few months as well!

My worst HR nightmare: During the pre-opening of Sheraton Gaborone, tables and chairs were hired from an external company for a recruitment event. When we arrived there were lots of people outside sitting on the grass. When we went into the hall, there were no tables or chairs. The company had got the collection time and date wrong. They had collected the tables and chairs the previous evening! We got them back and finally got the tests rolling two hours later.

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