What are the recent technologies entering the HR space, and how are they helping your day-to-day operations?

Among the many technologies changing the recruitment space, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is particularly beneficial for streamlining Human Resources workflow. ATS  assists us in a multitude of areas, including recruitment,  managing cost and compliance, distribution of employment contracts, and improving payroll management. It also helps us track all the applicants on a single platform, which saves resources and funds. 

Although technology in HR enables the department to be more forward-thinking, implementing it might not always be simple and often requires meticulous planning. When implementing such technologies, cost, compliance, and usability are the main factors that need to be considered. We must learn about the relevant technology, what it can and cannot do, and if it is feasible to implement on a day-to-day basis.

Capella Sydney (the first property for Capella Hotels and Resorts in Australia) will open in early 2023. The fact that I am a part of the pre-opening team here provided an excellent opportunity to research systems that comply with local requirements and focus on three key  business areas: cost, compliance, and usability.

What challenges do you have to deal with when pre-opening a space in the hospitality industry?

Organisations in the pre-opening phase need to demonstrate a stable recruitment strategy. Knowing the local legal requirements of the regions we are targeting for recruitment and understanding the platforms with the most significant reach are essential to delivering the best results. Leaders must be involved with the recruitment team from the onset and understand the culture of the candidate's country. They also need a platform with the highest audience reach. Extensive groundwork and preparation go a long way to recruit the best people, particularly when filling 100 to 200 job vacancies during a pre-opening. At Capella, we achieve this by facilitating seamless coordination between various departments, enabling greater efficiency during the recruitment process.

As business strategies depend heavily on their workforce and the environment, how do you get HR initiatives to align with those strategies?

Organizations need to adopt the most effective strategies to reduce costs and improve each employee's remmuneration. Recruitment and training are significant expenses to organisations, and these strategies are implemented to ensure they achieve targets. In our case, we try to understand and research our local market and use surveys (like the Mercer Total Remuneration Surveys) to find out what our competitors are doing, have a good relationship network, and be creative in our work. Our HR division focuses on a retention strategy by working with other key managers and department heads within the hotel to retain staff. Based on how we recruit, grow, develop, and maintain the team, we can avoid the additional costs associated with high turnover and training new staff.

“Having a great mentoring program within the organisation is a great strategy to retain talent as the newer generation is quick to be reactive with their work, progress, and how they value themselves”

What are your organization's strategies to retain employees during the great resignation?

Having a great mentoring program within the organisation is a great strategy to retain talent since the newer generation is quick to be reactive with their work, progress, and how they value themselves. The mentoring program is essential because passionate and experienced individuals aspire to progress in their career, impart their knowledge to new people, and have formal and informal conversations with people inside and outside the organisation. Training new people entering the hospitality industry for the first time as soon as possible is also essential as the hospitality space bounces back quickly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, with the top talent taking over the company and industry one day, building the right culture and understanding people's needs is one of our strategies. The mentoring programs also help managers who want to develop their skills, and cross-departmental mentoring allows everyone to appreciate different roles as we all work collaboratively to achieve common goals.

Do you have any advice that you would like to share with our readers or your peers?

With the current economic situation, travel and tourism and the hospitality industry, in general, are thriving again, and opportunities are now abundant.

I believe it is essential to remain approachable, genuine, and authentic while recruiting. We were all once in the same position, interviewing for our first ever job, our first job in a new industry, or for a job we desperately wanted. Ensuring every candidate feels comfortable, respected, and valued allows me to get the most from every interaction I have with them. First impressions count, and I feel the candidate is interviewing us just as much as we are interviewing the candidate.

My advice to readers would be to always act with integrity, respect, and be a great listener, consistently. We are all ambassadors for our brands, not strictly in the workplace but also far beyond. I know the positive role models I have met as my career progressed all had these qualities and certainly helped shape and mould the leader I have become. It is my goal to have the same positive impact with each candidate I come into contact with.