• Sector responds to Millennials

Millennials are willing to reject companies which don’t share their values, according to CBRE’s recent Lean In event.

The current ‘war for talent’, which is being felt particularly strongly in the UK as a result of Brexit, has seen groups within the sector change their hiring and operating practices to attract this growing section of the workforce.

BLP’s head of hotels group, Karen Friebe, told the event: “Millennials are keen on sucking as much training out of the organisations they are working in and they also want to make sure that their values match the company. Taking juniors to meetings is the only way they can learn behaviour and strategy and it’s also the only way that they can learn who they don’t want to be – by looking at the senior employees. We encourage them to call people out if they don’t like what they see.”

Attendees were told that companies could be as demanding as Millennials when hiring and advised that while A-Level students were happy to learn on the job – “those with the 2:1 from Oxford can take longer to adapt to the commercial environment”. Those applying for positions “should demonstrate that you want to learn”.

The event presented findings from CBRE’s Millennials, Myths and Realities study, which highlighted that Millennials would make up half the global workforce by 2020 and would be connected, tech savvy and educated but, as a result of the latter – in debt. However, instead of job hopping, they are looking to work for a small, rather than large number of companies.

Talking to Hotel Analyst, Michael Levie, COO, Citizen M, said: “Millennials and other human beings only get their motivation from three elements at work; 1) I want to belong to an organisation, 2) I want to contribute to that organisation and 3) I want to be recognised by that organisation.  Salary, title, vacations days, secondary benefits and so on are important but should be seen as necessary foundation for employment.

“Who is the boss is usually the biggest question. At citizenM we only see the guest as our focus and their satisfaction counts.  Other than that we each are responsible for contributing our specialty to this cause.  At the hotels this is only guest satisfaction, very much like retail. At our support offices (some companies call it headquarters) specific disciplines contribute to supporting the hotels to deliver guest satisfaction.”

He added: “The hotel industry is governed by many that have learned the business by experience, few by education or degree. The impact of that is that often hotel organisations are run like political old boys’ networks.  Top-down organisations, always sliced into the same divisions, departments and layers. Making a career is a fine balance between pleasing upwards, while maintaining just enough support for those that carry the service delivery. Contemporary organisations run on trust, empowerment and passion, which comes only to life by common purpose, shared values and clear demarcation.

“All CitizenM employees from support offices will participate in two shifts in the hotels to experience the face-to-face feeling.  A night shift, a night stay at the hotel as guest, followed by a morning shift provides that hands-on feeling.  This can be repeated whenever deemed necessary.”

Levie concluded: “CitizenM is an organisation that will only welcome nice employees.  Nice is in your genes and when provided with the right environment will always deliver great guest service.”

Cornelia Kausch, VP, development, Pandox, added: “Working for a Swedish hotel-owning company, Lean In is part of our daily lives. Equality for men and women is something we live by. It is deeply ingrained in the culture. The Swedes have created a kind of caring society, which in general is a much more feminine model than masculine. Maybe I am idealising a little, however for me as a German working woman, it has become a natural that I am valued for what I am, how I perform and how I add value, regardless of my gender.”

Within Pandox, Kausch said that the company focused around individual development and educational programmes for all, open communication and work spaces, transparency on all levels, paternity as well as maternity leave, promotional opportunities based on qualification and knowledge not on gender and flexible work schedules with options for working from home.

Kausch said that the group also looks to the wider globe, commenting: “Sustainability is a natural part of our business and rests on our fundamental values. That is why we call our sustainability work, Pandox Fair Play”.

HA Perspective [by Katherine Doggrell]: Millennials get a bad press. Viewed as fickle, quick to jump ship, utterly lacking in loyalty, the temptation is not to hire them at all. This is not an option as they start to dominate the workforce, so the good news is that they are merely eager to work somewhere that they are valued and where they can learn.

That they are not looking for a job for life should not be seen as a threat. If anyone out there can find a job for life, do pick up the phone and pass on the good news. Millennials can be viewed merely as responding to the prevailing work conditions and, as we learned at last week’s Hotel Distribution Event, there are plenty of talented bits of software out there looking to take your job.

As with the women-in-the-workplace debate, what’s good for the group in question is usually good for the workforce as a whole. Lean In strategies may be viewed as a fluffy add-on, but as the war for talent intensifies, companies need to shine up their CVs as much as their potential employees.

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