What the Hospitality Industry Must do to Attract, Retain and Develop the Right Talent for Today and Tomorrow

At a recent HSMAI Foundation gathering chief human resource officers (CHROs) gained key insights into talent acquisition and retention from Matt Usdin of Deloitte Consulting’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice. Links to the resources Austin shared and highlights of his remarks to the HSMAI Foundation follow:

2019 Deloitte Human Capital Report – Executive Summary


2019 Deloitte Human Capital Report – Full Report


“Companies are realizing that they have more to do than just provide returns to their shareholders. We talk about how we attract people to the industry and that people aren’t looking for jobs, they’re looking for careers. I would argue they’re actually looking for more. They’re looking for a way to better themselves and to create new skills that can impact how they actually live their lives. So, for those of you that are operating hotels, you’re actually changing people’s lives because you’re able to not just give them a job, but give them the skills that they can use to enhance their personal lives in addition to their work lives.

“There is also a rise in individualism and the voice of the individual. And that’s at all levels in all organizations, in all parts of society. Because all you need is a Twitter account, all you need is Facebook, all you need is a phone, and you have a voice. You have a voice as an individual in a different way than ever before. That also means you have a voice to set expectations for what you want in that relationship with your employer or the person that pays your contractor wages. So, individuals have a very different voice and a very different set of expectations than they’ve ever had before.

“And there’s a decline in trust of governance. So, you’ve got this convergence of events where you’ve got CEOs and businesses realizing that it’s about a lot more than just driving shareholder return; it’s about making an impact and driving returns in the broader sense for everyone involved in your environment, including the communities in which you operate. You’ve got the rise of individual voice and technology, and declining trust in the government. So, the relationship that people have between work and themselves has changed considerably.

“What we’re actually doing is changing the nature of work in its entirety. And we call that the unleashed workforce. There are super jobs, where jobs are just fundamentally changing. How we piece together what someone does is very different than before, because technology can do different things. This is really about unleashing the workforce. What our research shows is that enduring human skills are becoming even more important. What are those enduring human skills? They’re things like empathy, humor, communication skills, problem-solving skills. And while there is an influx of automation and robotics, there’s also the need for an influx of human skills. And that’s what the future is about, the combination of all these types of things.

“There’s really three prongs. How we think about where work is going. If you think about talent acquisition and training work itself may change. The activities people do in their jobs when influenced by technology, when influenced by the amount of data that’s there, when influenced by changing customer expectations and guest expectations on your properties, work is changing. So, when you think about everything from how you build new teams in your organization, how you leverage technology, what you’re hiring for, really thinking about what the work is going to be like over the next bunch of years is really important.

“The workforce, who can do the work, is also evolving. It used to be you got hired by a company and you worked for them for 30 years. Now, there’s contract work. There’s gig work. There are all sorts of different talent models that are out there.

“Where it can be done is changing. Mobile check in and mobile keys, for example. What does that mean for who works at the front desk? Do you need as many people? Who supports all of that? Can they be remote, working from home, offshore, somewhere in lower-cost locations? There are all sorts of different ways to think about where the actual work happens.

“In our Human Capital Trends Report we surveyed and had over 10,000 respondents from companies headquartered all around the world across all different industries. Here’s what we found:

“People want meaning and they want to know how their work is contributing to their organization, to themselves. From their own personal growth to the communities they live in. So, organizations are starting to think about how do we provide more ability to connect what people do to the outcome it provides the company, the customers, the community so they get more personal meaning out of work.

Michelle Woodley, President of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is honored for her work on behalf of the HSMAI Foundation.
Pictured here: Greg Smith, CHRO Preferred Hotels & Resorts; Michelle Woodley, President Preferred Hotels & Resorts; Agnelo Fernandes, HSMAI Foundation Chair; and Fran Brasseux, HSMAI Foundation President

“The workforce wants learning. That’s the number one trend for 2019. As you think about recruiting and you think about the type of engagement that you want with potential employees. Think about the way that you can talk about and frame learning for them.

“Flexibility. By 2020, the number of self-employed workers will be 42 million. 80 percent of Gen Zee and Millennials are saying that gig work is an attractive option for them. But only 8% of companies do anything really strategic around this.

“Super jobs.  This is a trend that we’re seeing that given automation, given technology, given the amount of data that exists, there’s a lot of transactional work that’s gone away. You’re left with all these fractional people. So how do you actually think about not just combining what the people do, but rearchitecting what the jobs are? How do you actually think about work entirely in different ways? We’re seeing organizations start to think about that because they’re seeing work change. You’re seeing transactional work go away, yet they’re not yet rethinking about how can the jobs themselves be fundamentally different? Not incrementally different, but fundamentally different.

“Four trends going on in hospitality:

  • Hotels are increasingly providing experiences beyond the four walls of the hotel. It’s not just about the head in the bed, but it’s about how do I create those experiences that families and business travelers and others want?
  • Data is increasing and is leading to increased expectations guests have around personalization.
  • Smart hotels are rising. You start to see robots actually going down hallways in hotels.
  • Customers expect to see this experience across all the different channels, online, offline, physical, etc.

“When you think about the workforce and you’re trying to attract to fill that gap, you can do it in different ways. You can do it in different locations. You can think about how you engage folks differently. Being strategic around all of that impacts the ability to succeed. How do you build the models so that you develop people that can be those future leaders and build skills that you need both for service today, but also to service the guest expectations of tomorrow?”