“I can’t tie them up and ask them to swim”

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BERLIN — As the European and global hotel industries begin to achieve something close to normal business after two years of pandemic turmoil, executives at the helm of their hotel businesses have said lingering struggles around staff can largely be resolved by emphasizing career building, working out and making time for fun.

Federico J. González Tejera, President and CEO of Radisson Hotel Group, said during the CEO’s opening session at the International Hotel Investment Forum, that success will be determined by clarity of principles and values. business, career development and educational improvements. .

Sustainability in all its senses being the best takeout of the whole conferencethis notion also applies to staffing, the CEOs said.

“We have to show them the opportunities for growth. People left the industry because they couldn’t see their future in it,” said González Tejera.

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels and Group CEO of Minor International, said it all comes down to the value proposition of employees, adding that hospitality companies cannot retain talent in restricted work practices.

“You can’t tie them up and then ask them to swim,” he said.

“Yes, some people can’t adapt to this way of doing things, but we need these creative elements. In addition, it will be about what employees see hospitality companies doing for their companies, communities and in [environmental social and governance],” he added.

Larry Cuculic, President and CEO of BWH Hotel Group, agreed that honesty, integrity, fairness and diversity underpin the thinking of new generations about the companies they want to work for and the sectors which they wish to enter.

“During the pandemic, it was about transparency. What is the company’s financial situation? What is your position and your future? This open reliability must continue. It’s easy to quit if you don’t feel like family, and you have to allow staff to add value. It’s not easy, but this challenge is something I think hoteliers are good at,” he said.


Rajakarier said if the pandemic has taught anything, it’s that leaders need to keep their businesses going.

“Surround yourself with people smarter and stronger than you who make you look good,” he said. “Communicate efficiently, effectively and quickly.”

González Tejera said the critical quality of leadership during the pandemic is the ability to energize teams, and he said this trait must continue to be exercised.

“We also need to better communicate what the mission is [of the firm] …and execute that,” he said.

Cuculic said a CEO’s ability to change is equally important, as is the ability for staff to embrace that change and see themselves as part of it.

“My initial training was in the military, which is very much inside the box, but we have to change and adapt as leaders. The principles remain, but the way we lead change does not. is not,” he said.

Rajakarier said one example of an industry shift that could embody this notion is in take-out food and drink items.

“Initially, some food items entered hotels ‘just in case’. Then someone said, we can do better, and it became “just in time”. Then someone said no, it would be a ‘fair price’, and now it’s ‘just a click’,” he said.

Highlighting everything, however, González Tejera said everyone — executives, management, new hires — needs to see what they’re doing is fun.

“I would add another ‘E’ to enable, energize, execute and the like, and that’s the fun. Especially considering the last two years. If you don’t like what you’re doing, what’s the point?” he said.

“And be nice,” Cuculic added.

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