The Human Resources department is notorious for making, or breaking, a hotel. The culture, employee extrinsic motivation, and more- is all on HR. When this breaks down, what is the key to restoring it? The answer is to bring in a trusted, experienced, and reputable outside resource with objective, fresh eyes. The following case study is illustrative.
The problem: misalignment with corporate values
Company A was experiencing a large disconnect between their HR discipline and their hotels’ operations teams. Based on a large amount of negative feedback, lack of responsiveness, and general inferior performance, in a nutshell, HR was perceived as out of touch with the real needs of their “customers” – the operations team.
From the onset, much of the negative perception appeared to be based on the poor alignment of many programs, processes and tactics with the overarching corporate strategy and values. From within HR, “success” was seen as compliance and adherence with processes – many of which had no meaningful purpose – to the traditional execution of feel good activities like the “3 Ps” – posters, picnics, and parties. Measuring the impact of providing targeted operational support and how it directly affects the P&L was a completely foreign concept to many of the property HRDs.
To ensure credibility and trust, Company A brought in a consulting outside resource to:
- Identify / validate / prioritize root causes creating the current environment.
- Eliminate the culture of “status quo is acceptable”.
- Through collaboration with respective discipline leaders, develop and implement a detailed plan to address deficiencies and align HR with the overall corporate strategy, mission, and values.
The shift in strategy
With meaningful and relevant metrics as an integral component of the plan, Company A was able to quantifiably and qualitatively see a positive improvement amongst property human resource leaders, the impact of their efforts on the P&L, and perception of the discipline as a true business partner.
Here is how effectiveness and value changes were measured:
- Developed and implemented an objective Talent Assessment Tool, administered to all property based HRDs/HRMs; based on a skill set aligned with corporate strategy and goals.
a. Targeted baseline for success
b. Provided current aptitude score for HR leaders
2. HR leaders with low aptitude scores were paired with mentors.
Over an extended period of time, approximately 25% of existing HR leaders were replaced due to the inability to achieve at baseline performance levels.
Revamped SOPs: With fresh eyes and perspective in place, standard operating procedures (SOPs) were completely updated with current governmental requirements as well as to address critical issues – effectively eliminated a significant number of SOPs identified as outdated or hampering ability to perform/thrive in the new environment.
Implemented Dashboard System: A dashboard system was put in place to track progress of key metrics on a monthly basis – reviewed with EC, Corp, and as part of the month end package and P&L call.
Change from the top: Corporate Communications consistently socialized change in direction/philosophy and successes/challenges.
After 18 months, credibility of discipline was greatly restored. Utilizing an outside source ensured the issues were seen from a fair point of view to (1) support the property goals, (2) support Leadership and Management needs, and (3) advocate for the associates – all measured through associate and management opinion surveys.
About the author
With a proven track record of creating enthusiastic and cohesive teams, Bob Holland brings over 40 years of diverse hospitality experience to Strategic Solution Partners, a single source hospitality solutions provider comprised of top tier industry executives. Among his significant accomplishments are: overseeing the hurricane restoration, rebranding, and re-launching the Resort at Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas; tenure as VP Human Resources at Interstate Hotels; and successfully overseeing more than 150 global hotel openings as VP Openings for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts including directing the significant renovation and rebranding of the group’s Grand Chicago Riverfront Hotel. Holland currently heads the Operations Support Services business line for Strategic Solution Partners.