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Growing Talent Does Not Happen Without Focused Effort in Hospitality

publication date: Dec 2, 2011
author/source: Dr. John Hogan CHA CHE CMHS

Lessons From the FieldTM

Growing Talent Does Not Happen Without Focused Effort  in Hospitality

(Part 2 of Meeting the Need for Talent)

Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

As the economy in much of the world is beginning to show more optimistic results in hospitality and other industries, the need to identify, hire, train, and retain quality staff has resurfaced as a major issue.

Part 1 of
Meeting the Need for Talent included A Baker's Dozen of Questions that was created to provide feedback to reader requests for specific ideas on this topic. This Baker's Dozen is comprehensive for some smaller facilities, yet it was created to provide feedback to reader requests for specific ideas on the topic. Those inquiries came from hoteliers working in all sizes of hotels, with mixed market bases, with a range of brands as well as some independent properties and in multiple countries.

The questions were:

  1. Who will the person specifically report to and how often will they interact?
  2. What is the specific accountability in attaining results?
  3. Are those results in line with the organization's "big" picture?
  4. Are there strategic goals identified or in the process of being refined for the organization?
  5. How much enterprise is preferred or expected? Is initiative a positive or negative trait in the organization?
  6. What is the sense of competitive spirit? Is it everyone for themselves?
  7. Markets and economies change - how do you expect the new hire to stay focused?
  8. How are decision made? Are authority lines refined and reasonable?
  9. What are your organization's performance expectations in Key Result Areas? How many KRAs are there and are they consistent?
  10. How are results measured in associate engagement, in guest service, in market penetration, in facility quality and of course, profitability?
  11. Does the organization have clearly identified values that support the mission and vision?
  12. How does communication really happen?
  13. How does change happen? Can it be fast paced or must it go through a committee? Does one person overshadow all decisions or is there reasonable flexibility that provides unbiased professional opportunity for growth, recognition and reward for agreed upon achievement of success?

Part 2 - Growing Talent Does Not Happen Without Focused Effort  in Hospitality
includes observations from several management company executives who kindly agreed to share some of their thoughts. I was pleased to have responses from four very different type of hospitality professionals who discussed some of their approaches in developing and retaining talent. With turnover traditionally at very high numbers in many companies, these professionals offered some proven success strategies on how to deal with this issue, while delivering exceptional results.

From Raman (R.P.) Rama Executive Vice President & CTO/CIO , JHM Hotels, Inc

   Thanks for thinking about me

All I can say is we grow our associates talents, based on their aspirations.

Doing the same work day in and day out becomes boring, hence cross training is a very good way to expose the staff members to different skills and helps them understand how what they do impacts other departments . That makes them more conscious of what they do and how they perform their duties and it also creates a feeling of teamwork.

We create compassion in them so that they do theory work with compassion and care. We bring out theory hidden talents by getting them involved.

The staff members are trustees of their hotels hence success pays them with sense of gratitude.

I hope this helps you write your article. Our associate satisfaction scores speak for themselves and We have to address issues head on instead of hiding them or ignoring them

  From Fred Hirschovits, President, Twenty/Twenty Worldwide Hospitality, LLC,

Expect what you Inspect

With responsibility goes consummarate authority

Ten smallest words - if it is to be, it is up to me

Truth is the safest lie
From James E. Roos President at Ayres Hotels of Southern California

Ask the newly hired or promoted employee for committment to their new responsibilities in this way:  "Can I count on you?"

I have learned when one person makes a face to face commitment to another the probabilty of the desired result being achieved is far greater than if the committment is only assumed.
From Curt Baker, Director of Operations - Consultant at Ivy Inns Inc. and PhD Student in Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University

Hi Professor,

I had a chance to read your article the other day, so I was happy to see this invitation.

I have used the following in several different venues with solid returns.

As a front office manager, I created a clear set of standards for different levels of desk staff. It combined a combination of training, performance, and extra duties.

As a manager it gave me opportunity to view how my staff handled different challenges and provided me with opportunities to coach them and develop them further. Additionally, because the different tiers had clear cut responsibilities and expectations, it developed my next generation of leaders and provided us with a clear understanding of their skills and abilities.

It also allowed me to delegate more responsibilities and to best engage my staff. I was pleasantly surprised by many of the staff (especially those who were not looking for careers such as students) that took on the challenges just for pride in themselves and their work.

The process takes time to work well, but for a very small investment in money it makes everyone in the department from the FOM down much more effective and efficient.


Hospitality Tip of the WeekTM: Understanding The Role of Talent Development

"My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too."

Jack Welch

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONSTM, Lessons from the FieldTM, Hotel Common SenseTM and Principles for Success

Feel free to share an idea for a column at
john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ... And remember - we all need a regular dose of common sense.

  John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.

 He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them to Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  2. Customer Service
  3. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  4. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  5. Medical Lodging Consulting
  6. Sales Management and training
  7. Turn-around and revenue management

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.


Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations



Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS

United States - Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375

Email: info@hoganhospitality.com

JHM Hotels, Inc. is a national multi-brand hotel company that has developed, acquired, owned, and operated hotels throughout the United States for more than 36 years. These years of growth have earned the company rich and varied experience in every facet of modern hotel development and management. JHM Hotels has 40 properties with over 6,520 rooms and 1,500 associates with a concentration in key U.S. destinations such as Orlando, Atlanta, Miami, Charleston, SC and soon Washington, DC, along with a five-star luxury hotel in Surat, India. Operating under top performing franchise flags such as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood, JHM is committed to being a premier lodging company. The company's mission statement shares this commitment with guests, associates and ownership.

2 Twenty/Twenty Worldwide Hospitality, LLC specializes in creating a point of difference and a strategic competitive advantage for hospitality and related industries.

Ayres Hotels, setting a new standard in comfortable, inviting accommodations and warm, personalized service for business and leisure travelers at an affordable price. Choose from our 20 inspired European-style boutique hotels artfully located just where you want to be in Southern California.

4 Ivy Inns Consulting is available to customize this idea

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