Attracting and Retaining Talent in Turbulent Times
By Giovanni Angelini - Exclusive for 4Hoteliers.com
Thursday, 14th September 2023

Giovanni Angelini, is a senior and well respected professional within the Hospitality industry world-wide and with a wealth of experiences of over 50 years acquired in 3 Continents, Asia in particular. A former executive and the CEO of the Shangri-La Hotels and ResortsExclusive Feature: Fostering human-centric cultures in the era of disengagement.

In the wake of the "great resignation" and the growing trend of "quiet quitting", the travel and tourism industry faces unprecedented challenges. Organizations are confronted with decisive action now to turn the tide and secure a sustainable future.

From talent shortages and fluctuations in the workforce to growing "disengagement" among employees, many companies are struggling to meet demand and uphold their brand promises.

To thrive in this ever-changing landscape, organizations are faced with decisive actions to attract and retain passionate and committed individuals, especially the next generation of talent. But how can they set themselves apart in a crowded marketplace and position their brand as an attractive and forward-thinking workplace where talented individuals want to remain and flourish?

In the hospitality sector, success has always hinged on its people and this is not going to change any sooner. People are the ones who drive and deliver exceptional customer experiences day in and day out. It is a people business, and building a strong human-centric company culture is paramount to sustainable and inclusive growth.

History tells us that robust organizational culture depends on leaders who possess skills and human-centric sensitivity beyond traditional business knowledge and performance metrics. In most cases, it all revolves around capable and consistent leadership.

By prioritizing the cultivation of a positive, creative, and supporting culture, and with unwavering support from the board of directors, these leaders become architects of thriving teams, catalysts for transformative change, champions of innovation, and skilled navigators through uncertain terrain.

In today's world, leadership models prioritizing profit margins at the expense of investing in human capital will simply not work. The industry needs leaders with a sense of purpose who inspire greater engagement, loyalty, and productivity. As such, leadership must evolve to meet these new expectations and this means that some leaders may need to 'unlearn' some entrenched habits from the past. (quote; leadership is a continuous learning process - lifelong learners).

Authentic empathy is one of the most critical qualities a leader can possess, it's not a policy but a fundamental value that earns respect and appreciation from team members. It is a fact that most people 'quiet quit' because of the nature of their work. There is nothing new that in many cases, workers are stuck in jobs they don't like or don't care and gradually they simply disengage at the expense of the company.

Miserable employees yield poor results, as simple as that. In those cases, leaders have a big role to play in addressing the problem and finding ways to engage the whole workforce. One of the reasons why a strong human-centric culture is essential.

Companies can't afford to stifle talent with outdated working practices or undervalue their people. Business dynamics have shifted, and organizations must address these new expectations which may include;

  • A supportive and inclusive company culture; ensuring employees want to "be part of it".
  • Purpose-driven work; Clear career growth opportunity and a sense of value at work.
  • Job flexibility; Embracing new and efficient ways of working & operating.
  • Opportunities to make an impact; Recognising and rewarding contributions.
  • Practical training and development programs; Investing in employees' skills & growth.
  • Human-led and empathetic leadership models; Prioritising the well-being of employees.
  • Top-of-the-line compensation, (money); Recognizing the value employees bring and rewarding it.

The industry tends to measure the difficulties and the cost of acquiring and retaining customers, but perhaps a much stronger focus should be placed on the challenges of attracting and retaining good talent - including time and the high costs associated with employee turnover and replacements.

Amidst inflationary pressures, businesses must emphasize strong values and team culture built on motivation, alignment, loyalty, productivity, communication, and satisfaction. A team of outperformers is crucial in delivering consistent and profitable growth.

Have to recognize that a sense of fun is highly valuable to the modern workforce. Working in a fun environment is a key element of employees' happiness, encouraging communication and collaboration, and fostering positive mindsets, well-being, and better mental health.

In the end, it's simple; if you don't enjoy what you do, what's the point? Instilling a human-centric company culture is not just a choice; it is a necessity.

Giovanni Angelini
A 50 year veteran of the Hotel-Hospitality-travel industry with a wealth of experience acquired in 4 Continents, Asia in particular. A long term resident of Hong Kong and Retired Chief Executive Officer of Shangri-La International.

A board member of several large corporations and member of many industry related and quality management organisations. Founder of Angelini Hospitality, providing consultancy and advisory work to developers and hotels-travel-tourism organisations.

Recipient of two Honoris Causa (Doctorate) in Business Administration and in Global Business Leadership, four Lifetime Achievement Awards, the 2006 Corporate Hotelier of the World, Maestro del Lavoro (2014) and of several other recognitions and awards.


Book: Winning Hospitality - Practical advice for sustainable success (Kindle Edition)
In Winning Hospitality, Giovanni Angelini condenses around 60 years of international hospitality experience into tips and advice for hotel operators and owners, senior and young executives, students, teachers, and anyone striving for excellence in the demanding and dynamic world of travel and tourism planning and management.

The text serves as a vital reference for anyone seeking to develop the business activities, teams, brands, skills and hotels necessary to delight guests, customers, employees, and owners alike – today, and for many years to come.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

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