CIM 2018/5 Spotlight

Red carpet for trainees

In a „people business” employees are a company’s most important resource. The hotel industry demonstrates how to train and retain them.

Mövenpick feiert den "Next Generation Leader's Day". Photo: Mövenpick

"Day to Stay": Otto Lindner gibt sein Übernahmeversprechen Photo: Lindner Hotels

Freude nach zwei Einführungswochen im Palatin Wiesloch. Photo: Best Western plus Hotel Palatin Wiesloch

Next generation. Digital transformation and a shortage of skilled staff are slowing economic growth and presenting companies with significant challenges when it comes to personnel planning. Investment in further training is a big priority now. Those wanting to push forward with the digitalisation of workflows need well-functioning teams and often have to identify and harmonise the demands of different generations. “Stuttgart Convention Bureau has staff from four different generations. They are all individual and unique. You have to develop a culture out of that,” says Convention Marketing Director Karina Grützner.

The priorities of young people have changed dramatically, and you have to address these, asserts Antje Münsterberg of Mainzplus, who is also the Press Officer of the industry association EVVC. As a co-initiator of the quality offensive 100pro, a joint event industry training initiative of the EVVC, AUMA, VPLT and FAMAB, Münsterbert knows the problems of young people in the industry. The industry regards itself as a people business, which makes new recruitment strategies all the more urgent. The hotel industry indicates how to do this successfully.

The Next Generation Leaders Day organised by Mövenpick Hotels at a cost of 100,000 euros, took place from 9 to 11 March 2018 in Stuttgart. The aim was to meet the expanding hotel group’s increasing demand for well-trained staff. 107 second- and third-year trainees from Mövenpick hotels in Germany and Switzerland and 50 Mövenpick executives from all over the world were invited. The trainees were given the opportunity to make their way through eight Mövenpick “career spaces” and talk to experienced Mövenpick staff and external experts. This successful initiative earned the hotel group first place in the training category of the Hospitality HR Award of the Deutsche Hotelakademie (DHA) on 20 September 2018 in Frankfurt.

The “Hotalents” initiative of the Best Western Plus Hotel Palatin in Wiesloch came third in the same category. The award’s aim is to recognise pioneering HR initiatives in the hotel industry. Klaus Michael Schindlmeier, the hotel’s Director, dealt with any career-related anxieties the 250 conference delegates might have. “Family friendliness and an everyday working life that can be planned around are important to trainees. Beekeeper, the innovative staff app, helps with that. And it goes without saying that we, as the employer, want skilled staff to stay with us,” says Hotalents Project Manager Lisa Aenis. Preparations are already under way for the next Hotalents from 1 to 2 April 2019. Aenis also wants to do more on the day people arrive. The Palatin will also be shaping the content of the AHGZ hotel convention in Berlin on 5 February 2019. You can see just how good the in-house training of the Wiesloch conference hotel is from the happy faces of the 14 talented young people who completed their two-week induction period at the Palatin. They were among the 290 to apply for a place.

Marriott International rolls out the red carpet at its annual trainee conference for the best trainees at all its hotels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “We encourage our trainees to show initiative, and we make it clear to them that you don’t find the same variety of great opportunities in other industries that you do in the hotel business,” said Markus Lewe, Marriott International’s Area Vice President for Central Europe, at the 15th trainee conference at the Westin Grand Munich in July 2018. 123 trainees were able to educate themselves at workshops and lectures, get information on international opportunities and make contact with executives in speed-dating sessions.

In addition to the Top Performer Award presented to 26 trainees, four trainees received a Special Recognition Award. Each of these awards comes with prize money of 1,000 euros to be spent on vocational further training or to cover costs incurred when transferring elsewhere within the Marriott group. Placements were also on offer at the conference.

The trainee conference is often the highlight of the three-year training period for those training to be hotel managers, chefs or event managers, for example. “We are proud of Marriott International’s programme of training and further training and of the fact that we have so many highly motivated trainees. We put the focus on people, and that’s also why we have so many personal success stories to tell. We want our values to inspire trainees right from the outset,” explained Lewe.

Retainifng skilled staff is also the declared goal of Lindner Hotels. The family-run hotel group has 36 hotels in seven different countries and has already offered permanent employment to 48 trainees this year. The retention rate of 68.6 per cent was due also to the intensive support offered and the dual study programme (working and studying) Lindner offers. Back in 2012 Lindner introduced the “Day to Stay”, on which Otto Lindner, the Chairman, makes a commitment to retain chosen trainees.

In 2018, for the first time, trainees have had the support of a mentor from the central HR department or of one of the Regional Directors. “Offering training and further training to young people in the hotel industry is an important priority for us. We make great efforts to offer trainees long-term prospects with us,” says Otto Lindner, explaining this initiative. Lindner recently demonstrated its openness to young employees’ innovative ideas by implementing the health and safety suggestions of two trainees participating in the “Querdenker” initiative of the food and gastronomy industry’s employers’ liability insurance association. The ideas were put into practice at the Lindner Congress Hotel Potsdam.