Comment: Colleagues, front and centre

If anything, we need to make sure we are a happy industry

Opinion, Comment & analysis, Human resources, Employee engagement

Just before we signed off this magazine for print, I ended up visiting the new Marriott International MEA headquarters in Dubai. It wasn’t an “official” visit, but what I saw there impressed me to no end. From an open-plan, light-filled office filled with standing desks, and private phone ‘pods’, along with comfortable break-out spots, the offices looked like they were designed bearing its inhabitants in mind. A commendable new space to work in!

And this also plays into the fact that in this year’s Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey, the operator came at the top of the list of companies our respondents wanted to work for the most. Bravo.

Office space satisfaction is just one of the elements that keeps employees happy in their jobs. Throughout this edition, we have seen hoteliers discuss the importance of people at every step of the way. Whether through the tenth edition of the Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey, as mentioned, or the interview with Rachel Moosa from AccorHotels, or even the roundtable with the advisory panel for the Great GM Debate.

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In the Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey, for example, our respondents said that on a scale of one to 10, the average job satisfaction levels stood at seven. Which sounds pretty good, even though 30% said they were actively seeking new opportunities within the market. We also learned through TRI Consulting director Christopher Hewett that based on data from TopHotelProjects, there are 300,000 jobs expected to be added in the region — and this is just in direct employment.

So there are a lot of opportunities for the industry to impress newcomers, and hopefully be impressed as well. Which brings me to my next point: if we don’t put in the effort to find good candidates, we won’t get them. This is something hoteliers — notably Emaar Hospitality Group’s Olivier Harnisch and IHG’s Patria Puyat — said during the Great GM Debate advisory panel roundtable. As they are doing, hoteliers should be actively going into schools and universities and talking about the attractiveness of the hospitality industry as a career. As an industry, this sector offers long-term career prospects and a wide scope for creativity.

Like Harnisch also pointed out during the conversation, the industry is more than its stereotype. Whether you’re a marketeer or a chef, or a security expert or an engineer, or a canoe paddler (yes, this was a real hotelier job I saw advertised), you can find a place in this industry. So it’s up to the hoteliers to share the excitement that they themselves feel while working in this sector once team members are on-boarded.

And once they are in, don’t dust your hands off the matter. Engage with them to increase loyalty to your company. Look out for them. Make sure they are as happy as they can be. As AccorHotels’ Rachel Moosa said in her interview, it’s all about placing people at the centre. She said: “You have to put your people first. Because if you do, it will drive the rest of the results across your business.” People really are the most valuable resources we have, so let’s continue to treat them that way.

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