WE LOVE YOU, WE CARE FOR YOU BUT ONLY IF YOU WORK FOR US.
As an industry that has huge issues in attracting people to work in our industry, why is it that those that profess to be human resources professional are our industry's worst enemies.
Much care has been taken by many corporations to frame employees in a new light. They are now referred to as Associates, Partners, Colleagues and other glowing descriptions that infer that they really belong as professional equals and are a part of a much bigger family.
With some inside knowledge from my former position as the CEO of the International Hotel Association, I am very aware of the very serious shortage of workers who are attracted to our hospitality industry that was estimated to be between 12 and 15 million workers worldwide. This is not only an issue in the developed countries of the world but also in the more populous but fast growing countries like China and India. Much care and millions of dollars are spent to reduce turnover, retain employees, nurture employees and provide good working conditions.
It is my view & strongly held that we do not do a great job of attracting young people to our industry. A large number of applicants for jobs in our industry are without experience but have the right qualifications. A large number of graduates from hospitality programs never enter the industry. They are lured away by other industries who seek young people with people skills.
Do the Human Resource Professionals in Hospitality get that? Do they not believe that they have a responsibility to the industry at large as marketers of our industry?
As the Front Line of our industry....... or can I call them the marketing sharp-end in the recruitment of employees at all levels, I question their commitment to the general good of our industry by the process that they all seem to follow when recruiting new employees.
I refer to the practice of contacting only those that are considered as 'good candidates'. On occasions, this fact is announced within the online application. All the other less fortunate candidates are left hanging with no explanation, only mounting disappointment as the days and weeks pass and no response is received.
Here is why I believe that we are missing an opportunity. A position opens and we seek applicants. Many people are attracted to the position and believe that they are suitable. The qualifications seem to fit the applicants and they enthusiastically apply for the position. They imagine their life in this glamorous industry with huge opportunities for growth.
A selection is made from amongst the applicants.
The rest are ignored. They are overlooked. Their interest and enthusiasm has fallen on 'deaf eyes'. It is a crime because there is......
- No explanation,
- No thank you for your interest,
- No congratulations on your experience to date, you have the talent to succeed,
- No suggestion for alternate opportunities,
- No suggestion for academic opportunities for upgrading,
- No referral to a central job bank or a competitor,
- No marketing message about the wonder of a job in this industry,
- No encouragement to keep looking with some suggestions of how and where,
With the assumption that for each job, there are sometimes between 10 and 20 applicants in the developed countries, and up to 250 employees in other areas, this represents a huge number of people (many young) who are interested in our industry, an industry that desperately needs new, young and mature workers but we systematically ignore their interest.
What might we do with these 'discards' from our HR process?
Are they truly an embarrassment lined up at our back doors, unworthy of our courtesy?
Are there no opportunities to nurture them to success?
For any of my readers who have experienced this silent rejection, I feel your pain. This has been my own personal experience in recent years,
Enthusiastic to teach, present or guest lecture after over 50 years in the industry in a couple of dozen countries, I have in the past 10 or so years applied to several colleges, universities and hospitality schools offering my services.
I have been vigourously encouraged to do this by colleagues and senior academics.
In some cases, I responded to specific job openings. In others I wrote and offered my services.
As a British-born spokesman for the hotel and restaurant industry as recognised by the United Nations, I have developed fairly good communications skills.......and can speak relatively well in both French and Spanish.
I have not received one single response.
It is not the same thing as a worker or manager applying for a job. It is however perhaps indicative of the inertia that has created this lackadaisical process of seeking out the best employees for a job rather than the more responsible strategy of developing all employees for growth. But above all we miss the opportunity of a hospitable response.
The Harvard Business Review recently Tweeted,
When you’re recruiting, your goal is to find one person who really fits your needs, not to get thousands to apply s.hbr.org/1MAxGw4
My Re-Tweet was,
Disagree. The goal - find one that you develop into one that exceeds your needs & motivate the rest to keep trying.
Now I grant that the Harvard Business Review was not specifically addressing the hospitality industry but it is my belief that unemployment in the developed world is an ailment that is seriously entrenched and for which there are many contributing factors and many resulting negative outcomes.
If it is mankind's responsibility to envision a collaborative plan to decrease or eliminate unemployment and by extension poverty, then the best place to start would be at the front-line of the people industry.
At least, that is my view.