Hiring: About time it evolved?

Gurmeet Singh, Senior Area Director of HR – South Asia, Marriott International, pens down contemporary problems faced by the Human Resources department while hiring people for hotels.

The changing face of Indian hospitality presents a great paradox of our times, where industry practices and work dynamics are trying to play catch-up with the expectations and mindset of potential next-generation talent. We speak endlessly about the millennial workforce and how they prioritise in making a choice between abundantly available career options, yet the hotel industry is falling short in being agile and receptive to those expectations.

Too many demands, little compensation
The contemporary HR and acquisition team in the industry is constantly coming across hospitality students not willing to make hotels their number-one choice. The reason is quite straightforward: long working hours, labour-intensive work, a six-day work week (still widely practised), and a comparatively less-competitive pay range for fresh graduates in contrast to industries like FMCG, banking, retail, etc. The hotel industry’s need for candidates with excellent communication skills, presentation skills, and high aspirations for career progression is undeniable. When we couple these attributes and equate them with the starting compensation and other work demands, we observe that these potential employees are drifting further from their aspiration to join the industry.

Dated processes
We live in a digital age where everything moves at top speed and our potential talent expects their career to advance at a similar pace. Although it is heartening to see that the industry has made considerable progress, we still have a long road ahead. However, when it comes to the recruitment process, we still find a less-progressive approach employed by many of the current players to manage this process, such as lengthy technical rounds, unilateral decision making, classical interviewing techniques, etc.

An innovative approach
Marriott has made tremendous leap in attracting the right talent at the right time by introducing a mobile-friendly App for the application process, chatbots to engage potential talent, a formal approach to social media presence for employer branding, use of behavioural interviewing tools, interviewer’s training, Marriotternship (the group’s internship programme), and PIE (Partner in Excellence) college relationship activities that are aligned with new-age talent acquisition trends and form an essential part of HR strategy. Another example is our Voyage Global University management training programme that encompasses a perfect blend of self-paced curriculum as well as leadership facetime to curate the success of young university graduates to join the junior managerial workforce within 18 months of starting the programme. We also mirror an opportune programme for our line-level associates to accelerate their career advancement at various levels.