This week the 9th annual HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo was held at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas and was attended by approximately 550 human resource professionals across the U.S. The sessions were led by hospitality industry human resource executives, industry experts from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, legal professionals and human resource consultants. Sessions included panels of HR Executives sharing best practices and their most pressing concerns, and legal professionals discussing and debating the latest regulatory changes and Supreme Court decisions such as the joint employer relationship and the potential impact and challenges for human resources in the hospitality industry.
The conference focused on the greatest challenges for human resources today including how to remain competitive with shrinking labor pools as the economy returns to pre-recession levels, how to recruit for brand and culture and how to appeal to millennials who will be over 50% of the workforce by 2020. Diversity was still a top concern of the hospitality HR Executives with a large percentage of ethnic groups working in the ranks and over 50% of management trainees female, yet as you move up through the management levels to executives, this drops drastically. There are still fewer than 10% female General Managers on average. These hospitality companies have identified some of the obstacles that impede movement of more ethnicities and women into upper management levels of their companies and they are focusing on programs and policies that promote the inclusion of all diversity categories such as recruiting sources and management training programs that target ethnic groups and on various work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work schedules that make it easier for women to succeed in top management positions such as General Manager.
Innovation and out of the box thinking were themes that ran through many of the sessions as human resources look to keep up with the fast pace of change such as new and pending regulations, state and city living wage ordinances, state sick leave regulations, employer health care, methods of communicating to employees and future employees that is effective to the varying needs and motivations of each of the four generations in the workforce today. They are striving to embrace failure and the lessons that emerge, nurture all ideas versus immediately dismissing, try things – don’t wait for perfection, include non-experts who can add fresh new out-of-the-box ideas to old processes. These HR leaders are thinking about and piloting some new ideas and approaches to many of the HR challenges such as the performance review process. Some are piloting no reviews, no ratings. The majority are looking to simplify the review and make the conversation the biggest part of the process. It was felt that feedback should be frequent, forward looking and built into the culture where it is spontaneous, positive and valued.
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