Winning the Race for Talent in 2017

Last year, the hospitality industry added an average of 181,000 jobs per month. According to Deloitte’s Annual Travel & Hospitality Outlook, the labor market continues to strengthen. When the market grows strong with new job offerings, life is good for everyone, right? Not necessarily. This current scenario now presents hotels with a new challenge to find, attract, and retain talent when everyone wants a best-in-class team and candidates have more options.

Find: Change Your Perspective and Broaden Your Pool
By now, most of us know that the former method of posting a job ad and waiting for the talent to come no longer applies in an employee-driven market. Finding talent today involves a much more continual, strategic approach that involves internet and social media research, engaging with passive candidates, cold calling, getting involved in associations and industry groups, and attending networking events.

Given this market, the need to think outside of the box and explore the untapped, ready-to-work talent pool is essential. Consider how some professional functions may transfer across industries. The brightest and best talent in one industry could possibly learn the ins-and-outs of hotel operations more quickly. Consider the benefits of replacing “hotel experience required” with “hotel experience preferred” on applicable jobs.


Attract: Build a Place They’ll Want to Stay
In the hotel business, you spend most of your time thinking about how to attract guests and build repeat customers who want to come back and stay with you again. But, it’s important to also pay mind to the prospect of those who are more permanent—potential employees.

It is the leadership’s responsibility to develop a value proposition not only for hotel guests but also to attract employees. Start by asking, what makes our hotel the employer of choice? Satisfied employees can be the greatest advocates and ambassadors of your hotel.

Offering flexible work schedules, locations, and remote opportunities could increase employee satisfaction as well as the talent pool exponentially. As an industry that caters to all guests’ needs, why should it be any different for more permanent guests who may require work accommodations? Consider how a hotel’s bottom line may grow by sparing the cost of office space and increasing productivity.

Retain: Keep an Eye Towards Urgency and Value
When great talent has been successfully identified and attracted, immediate action is required with a sense of urgency to get the prospect through the interview process. Too often, candidates are left hanging after the initial interviews while the decision makers get caught up managing their day-to-day duties. This is a risky game. You may find that when you reconnect, the candidate has already accepted another position. It’s a race for talent and time is not on your side.

The race is a marathon and, it doesn’t end when the offer is accepted. You’ve worked hard and invested time and money into placing the right talent. Don’t lose sight of the fact that, as an employer of choice, you have a responsibility to add value to your employee. Your benefit is your employee’s loyalty and output. Their benefit is not a one size fits all answer. Your employees are unique with differing motivations, drivers, and needs. Know your top talents’ needs and be prepared to deliver the highest level of service.

Author and hospitality guru, Micah Solomon once said, “‘People are our most important resource’ is the most cynical of platitudes, ignored as openly as, say ‘Safety is our first priority.’” But, in the hospitality industry, “no truer words could ever be spoken.” A hospitality organization cannot succeed until it can effectively recruit, retain, and develop employees.


About the Author
Young Jean (YJ) Ransdell, PHR, is the director of recruiting at TalentServed, a recruiting firm serving organizations within the hospitality industry. Based in Miami, Ransdell specializes in executive talent acquisition for hotels and hospitality organizations in Florida and across the nation.