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When It Comes To Human Resources, One Size Does Not Fit All.
Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
Friday, 13th October 2006
 
Alignment and innovation were the focal elements of the third Human Resources Roundtable, at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

'I was particularly struck by the variability in the approaches used by our industry participants,' said Associate Professor Bruce Tracey, who organized the Roundtable. 'Training and outsourcing, for example, drew considerable involvement and debate. What we found as those discussions unfolded was that each company was using a model that fit its own particular business strategy and competitive needs. As such, there was no silver bullet for any of the issues we covered.'

Tracey added that the companies even had different ways of determining their HR priorities. 'Some companies were focused on demonstrating that their HR practices provided clear and convincing value for their company, complete with forecasting and rigorous program evaluation,' Tracey explained. 'Others took a more philosophical approach and simply focused on what they thought was right for their firm. However, all participants were pushing to think differently about their current and future HR needs.'

Left to right: Andy Harman, Vice President, Organizational Development, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and Roger Ahlfeld, Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Training, Uno Restaurants, LLC

Two aspects of this year's Roundtable served as springboards for discussion. First, Cornell faculty members presented recent research studies, including training and compensation practices. Second, Hotel School students participated in the sessions. The students' presence provided more of the collegiate experience sought by Roundtable participants and opened additional discussions.

Professor Tracey explained that the Roundtables are a learning experience for students and faculty alike. For example, the discussion on training began with research that examined the utility of various proactive efforts that were designed to help employees transfer what they learned to their jobs. However, the ensuing discussion revealed that firms were focused on a wide array of both formal and informal activities that could be taken to improve training effectiveness-from enhancing managerial involvement throughout the training process, to making jobs more flexible so that employees have the opportunity to use what they have learned.

The table is sponsored by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, along with co-sponsors eCornell and Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the Roundtable connects industry leaders with Cornell's faculty and students. Its goal is to crystallize the key issues facing the industry's human resources professionals.

Among the industry participants were Roger Ahlfeld, Uno Restaurants; Allison Barber, Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Abigail Charpentier, ARAMARK; Andy Harmon, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.; Keith Kefgen, HVS Executive Search; Jo-Anne Kruse, Travelport; Stacy Lezaja, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo; Mark Lomanno, Smith Travel Research; Henrik Mansson, Mövenpick; Alan Momeyer, Loews Corporation, Janice Schnabel, Marsh USA; David Shoemaker, eCornell; Paul Wagner, Shea Stokes; Sandra Ward, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Steven Wells, American Food and Vending Corporation; and Emily Yen, ClubCorp.

Other CHR Roundtables have examined the latest currents in hospitality law and marketing. For more information about future roundtables at the Cornell Hotel School, please visit:

www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/chr/news/roundtables.html.
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