Article: "Hospitality industry needs heterogeneous talent force"

Talent Management

"Hospitality industry needs heterogeneous talent force"

In an interaction with People Matters, Vinay Jaswal, Vice President-HR at InterGlobe Hotels talks at length about the talent challenges in the hospitality industry & also how InterGlobe has adopted nuanced tool-kits to address such challenges.
"Hospitality industry needs heterogeneous talent force"

At any given point, InterGlobe Hotels ensures that there are 4 or 5 hotels under development. Not to mention the thousands of employees they have; the Hotel has also won the Aon’s Best Employer Award in 2017. Established in 2004, InterGlobe Hotels is a joint venture between InterGlobe Enterprises and Accor Asia Pacific. The company aims to have 19 operational hotels with room inventory of 3600 rooms by 2020 with a total investment of nearly Rs 2,000 crores. 

The hospitality industry is growing at a faster pace. And while there are scores of students interested in Hospitality management and the subsequent life in the hotel industry, People Matters in an interaction with Vinay Jaswal, VP-HR at InterGlobe Hotels tries to decipher the current talent challenges and how InterGlobe is managing to ‘wow’ the industry with its cost-effective measures. 

What are the biggest talent challenges in your industry? And how does InterGlobe manage these challenges? (Examples and anecdotes will be helpful)

InterGlobe Hotels (IGH) is uniquely placed as one of the leading Asset Development and Owning Company in the Hospitality industry. It leads the mid-market hotel segment in India with its Ibis brands of hotels.  Our industry needs a heterogeneous talent force which is good in financial modelling, Market mapping and Project management in asset construction. Each of these skills is unique and often scarce in the hospitality industry. Other than domain peculiarity, we also scout for talent which is high on cost consciousness and time management, given our penchant for delivering more in less. At IGH , we invest substantially in developing our talent domain and skill needs internally through on the job mentoring and lateral job deployments. Often key managers work on live projects that push them to seek and acquire ancillary skills that make their profile more rounded and specific to the business needs.

Any framework/toolkits adopted by talent leaders in solving current talent challenges?

Typically, we look at “Talent Challenges” through the triple lens of – Organisation Structure, Business Needs and Talent that exists. We, then contextualise these parameters with the kind of Culture we want to foster in our organisation. While the focus on the mentioned talent parameters provides us organisational dynamism and spread, our penchant for InterGlobe culture helps in building stability and depth in our talent endeavours.

What are the key people priorities for IGH this year?

IGH already features amongst the top quartile companies in the Aon Hewitt’s annual employee engagement survey. However this year we intend pushing the envelope by working on two important areas of building cultural alignment amongst our workforce and also at building predictive science in the area of departmental productivity. This directly aligns with our agenda of working with “Hearts & Minds” of our people.

How do you plan to go about the cultural alignment and how are you going to build predictive science in the area of departmental productivity?

Having addressed the process and structural issues at IGH, we are now focusing on building “Cultural Alignment” amongst the rank and file. As part of the Cultural Alignment, we are now working with an external agency that is trying to identify and build common culture anchors amongst the leaders, managers and team members at IGH. The idea is to seek convergent and divergent behaviours/rituals at workplace and try to create align them to the common IGH culture we intend building.

We already have various Balanced Scorecard-based departmental productivity metrics which we use for performance management. Now we are building the science of analytics in the same to help us predict some performance trends for future and help us take proactive measures to address deviations.

Can you elaborate what's "hearts & minds" agenda?

The “Hearts & Minds” agenda is to engage an employee at InterGlobe Hotels both at intellectual and altruistic level. While our career forums and learning initiatives focus on intellectual appetite of our teams, informal engagement  clubs and CSR volunteering opportunities help us look after the altruistic needs of our employees.

At IGH, creating health, safety and societal impact at workplace is paramount. How do you ensure this at IGH?

IGH assigns supreme importance to the safety and health & hygiene of its internal and external customers. Our work processes are not only aimed at being cent percent complaint with the law of the land but also at ensuring that as we operate we also meaningfully contribute to the society in our ecosystem. As part of our societal contribution, we mandatorily work towards main streaming a larger section of under-privileged youth from local communities in our hotels. We also assign our employees to work with local mohallas in developing fresh mind-set and infrastructure for ‘open defecation free’ communities. 

IGH has fully operationalised the health and safety aspects of our industry in our day to day SOPs. We are amongst the few in our industry who are ISO 9001:2008 certified in Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001cerified in Environment and ISO 18001 certified in Health & Safety.

Your industry is very demanding and dynamic. How do you ensure that your employees have work-life balance (something that every corporate has been talking about).

IGH  is a part of India’s leading travel and hospitality conglomerate, InterGlobe Enterprises. For the last ten years InterGlobe has led the market with great practices which dwell on wellbeing and productivity of its people. Accommodative working hours, effective health care and insurance plans, extending support in tough times and being responsive to changing career needs of our employees are some of the areas through which we provide work life balance to our teams. The fact that we regularly feature amongst Best Employers in India is a testimony to our efforts in this direction.

What is the advice that you would give who are joining this industry?

As a company IGH is at the confluence of three great industries, namely, travel, hospitality and construction. Interestingly, these three industries are also the key drivers for India’s next leap of growth. To succeed in these industries, employees will have to be mentally robust to stay updated with latest and to live upto the demands of strict delivery times. They also will have to look beyond their subject matter expertise and embrace the concept of collaboration and team-ship to deliver complex and demanding projects on time. 

Personally, I feel people who have an eye for detail, flair to connect with unknowns and an understanding of the financial cause & effect will lead the pack in an industry like ours.

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Topics: Talent Management, Strategic HR

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