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Overcoming the Odds – With Millenials
By Marcia Bradley, President, Hotel Division, The Hospitality Resource Group International

This decade certainly presents new opportunities within the hotel industry regarding recruitment, staffing and training, especially for seasoned veterans. The bright, cheery, innovative thinking of the millennial generation, 20-28 year olds born in the late 1970’s, will test the skills, abilities and creativity of all hotel management. The current labor pool demands a series of changes in recruitment, training and management styles to attract and retain the brightest candidates available. The “millennials” are seemingly well-adjusted, socially engaged, global networkers who are great at teamwork and the utilization of technology to identify rapid solutions to any challenge. They are willing and cooperative with a tremendous sensitivity toward work/life balance. How this translates for the hospitality industry presents an entirely new set of challenges. Any old style of management will be forced to change, which is exciting. The workforce of “millennial” managers/leaders truly care about others and invigorate their teams to overcome the odds and produce a profit not by force, but because they want to. The boomers mastered the art of networking throughout America. The millenials are mastering the art of global networking at warp speed. They are driven by the cause and are aggressively responding to worthy goals that make sense. They embrace change in a way that is refreshing and for those dedicated to the development of human resources, this decade provides legions of new recruits ready to learn and maximize their potentials. Their global network has created a confidence in their net worth, which those of us in the hospitality industry must take seriously or they will move on. They want the strategies and secrets of success, and the environment that fosters that belief, through its corporate philosophies, management cultures and human resource departments. Training must be adapted to appeal to this brilliant generation through human resource developments designed to respect their work/life balance. The rewards will be dramatic and will encourage current issues within other cultures among the hospitality workforce to adapt to fresh new perspectives.West Boca -- Boca West Country Club wants to add a 60,000-square-foot spa, featuring 12 manicure stations, 15 massage rooms and six shampoo and chemical treatment quarters. In addition, the fitness center would double in size and a restaurant pavilion would be expanded to seat 412 members and guests.

Recognition is still the number one human want above money and advancement. This generation and other cultures know that and are not willing to tolerate any hypocritical thinking. The corporate philosophies of companies like Starbucks are attracting and retaining the best talent available because they are flexible in their approach to human resources. They are willing to trust their associates, listen to them and reward them in the ways most applicable to their work/life balance. They recognize the fact that this treasured associate will move on quickly if they do not receive the resources, recognition and rewards designed to foster the achievement of their ultimate work/life goals. Preferred employer status is changing. People are no longer willing to exchange their work/life balance for corporate stress and unreasonable demands. This means the hospitality industry must address their systems and processes to ensure the job requirements are identifiable, attainable and applicable.

Tom Peters, author of, “In Search of Excellence”, identified “moments of truth” in the service process as any moment the customer has the opportunity to form an opinion of a business. Hundreds of “moments of truth” were documented. Telephone etiquette, signage, uniforms, cleanliness, staff attitude and every detail from the first impression to the last, were identified as a “moment of truth”. The book established the new service model for businesses serious about future success. Reflecting on the hotel and restaurant industry, the moments of truth throughout the day are enormous. There are over 10,000 moments of truth in one dining experience, not to mention a two or three day stay in a hotel. It would require an enormous training budget to address every “moment of truth” in the hospitality industry; however, the corporations with significant training budgets are reaping the rewards. These hospitality tycoons have made training a priority with significant budgets for research, analysis and redevelopment of service systems and processes designed for maximum human resource achievement. The Chinese symbol for crisis and opportunity are the same. The hotel industry certainly has the opportunity to access global resources to embrace the most opportunistic time in our history by establishing superior human resource achievement departments. Globalization demands cultural awareness training to ensure our hospitality standards are culturally correct. Cultural awareness training requires research and analysis or the training programs may be diametrically opposed to the desired results.

The hotel tycoons of the future have established systems and processes in place to ensure they are ready for the nanosecond changes in technology, society and their most valuable asset – human resources. The Hospitality Resource Group International is dedicated to providing solutions to ensure hospitality service excellence within all segments of the hospitality industry.

---Marcia Bradley


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