Could you give a brief overview of your experience in the HR industry and also talk about the role that you play with the current organization you work in?
I am a hospitality professional by nature. I grew up through hotels came through operations and food and beverage. Moved into a sales role after I had my children. And from there really got into talent training and development. From there I went back to school got my HR credentials and then moved into more typical generalist roles. So I’ve held HR manager roles in singular properties at corporate above property. Then in the pandemic, I took a bit of a swing moved into luxury retail and worked for Louis Vuitton Canada, and really got to see a different business sector. I also dabbled in consumer packaged goods with ConAgra brands where I was a corporate senior manager for the Canadian office doing full generalists and full cycle.
But if I’m true to myself the hotel world was calling me back and a wonderful opportunity came with Crescent Hotels and Resorts, which is the role I’m in now where I’m a regional director of people and culture. So my role is corporate oversight for all of our Canadian managed properties. So I have 16 properties in my portfolios. They are all different brands so different flags, different training, different cultures that are meant to be abided. and I act as a keeper of culture and a liaison for all things, whether it be our compensation, profiles, our benefits, coverage and renewals. that’s in my wheelhouse all employee relations. I also manage all of our union negotiations. So we do have a section of properties in Canada that are unionized.
So I’ll work to negotiate new contracts as well as address any labor disputes or any grievances that come / arise and act as a lot of it is in my mind, I’m more of a consultant, so each of the hotels runs their own business, but they come to me to consult on application of policy and practice and making sure that we’re looking at things truly in an equitable lens. I also are in driving our diversity, equity and inclusion, as we kind of work towards really elevating that space. and a big thing right now, if I’m truly honest, returning after the pandemic is providing a bit of flexibility. Hospitality has not been seen as having the most flexible of schedules, it’s a 365 24 7 operation. And so it poses a different problem as candidates and employees are looking for something different and looking to have a little bit more flexibility in what they do and how they do it, and how they deliver the results.
What are some of the challenges that are really impacting the industry right now?
I would say that again that becoming a hotelier and having hospitality as a career path has, it looks different now and it’s not necessarily as desirable. so what we’re really, and I say not as desirable because it doesn’t offer the same flexibility. we don’t have for many roles within a hotel, the ability to work from home or have hybrid arrangements. and so what we are really struggling to do is cultivate a culture and an experience for candidates and for new employees where they can see a career path and they can have an opportunity to learn and grow and develop while we’re still delivering upon the service excellence that our clients and our guests require. And we’re still driving revenue that our ownerships need.
What are the strategies and practices that really help you streamline workforce?
I would say, a big piece from our, from a strategy, from a workforce piece is going to be really having a good understanding of the employee life cycle from start to finish. And I would say being very progressive and transparent through our recruitment process is going to be essential for us to bring in the right people with the right skills, the right attitude and behaviors for the right role, and have them, have full knowledge and understanding of the expectations that they’re going to have in the job. So from a recruitment standpoint, I would say our interview practices are constantly being reviewed and revised from a technology lens. we know that candidates are moving faster. They’re expecting more ease and efficiency in their application process.
"The TikTok generation is looking for quick, easy and non-time consuming application"
So we used to have a process where in order to apply you needed to build a profile on our career site, and we knew we were losing interest of applicants because they in the TikTok generation are looking for something that has a very quick, easy and not time consuming application. So we removed that and created what LinkedIn has, where you have that easy applied and that click through button and only candidates that we’re actually making an offer will need to build a profile so that from a technology sense and I would say more from a process than a technology piece was a big ticker for us to enhance and open up our applicant pools a little bit more. Additionally from an internal landscape, we are looking at building more concise and inclusive succession, planning and management . and so that looks like applying mentorship, we’ve recently rolled out what we call an impact team. So, it’s an opportunity for individuals who want to grow in their career, to apply in, and work and in a taskforce meth method in another property, in perhaps an elevated role so that they can they’re helping the business by filling a gap, but they’re also getting personal growth in terms of projects or learning new processes, new positions.
Could you give an overview of your successful project with regards to contingent workforce with the current organization you work?
I’m fairly new in this role. I’ve been here about nine months, one of the projects that we did recently was doing an evaluation of paid time off, because again, more individuals are looking for more balance in life and, we, upon review and doing an analysis of the workforce, recognize that our paid time off policies were a little bit lagging in that space. and so I had to do a full analysis of the cost impact of what that would be and how we could bring ourselves into a more modern time starting people, at three weeks vacation, giving them again that, balance that more candidates are looking for, in a way that still worked to ensure that our operations are successful.
And financially there’s also an impact there whenever you’re a assessing or increasing any overall compensation. so that was one that I helped lead and it was successful. We had a lot of great response from existing staff, and we found that upon giving offers specifically in management and executive roles, we’re having less negotiations at offer stage because we’re already coming to the table with something that’s very competitive, and we’re feeling that it’s standing out, for us as a company, because now we’re a leader in that space versus lagging
What advice would you like to share with your peers or your budding industry leaders?
I would say that, human resources has always been seen as a very black and white industry. We have policies that, are written, and they are, very black and white, but the world is progressing. And I think more and more we become successful when we find the areas of gray that are still equitable and fair and inclusive across our organization, but recognizing that employment is not a one size fits all, that we can look at jobs and roles differently in order to be organizationally effective and, and reach those goals, but in order to capture a different type of employee, one that wants to have a little bit more say in how they contribute to the organization. And I find that we’re getting the most success when we have, built in plans and built in roles and responsibilities where an individual can feel their impact.
People want to know that what they do on a day-to-day basis matters, they want to feel a sense of belonging. And so whenever there’s an opportunity to build that in, and it’s right from our janitorial services and general maintenance, the impact that having a working and running organ or building has, , that it can sometimes get swept under the rug, but the importance of each and every one of your employees needs to be magnified so that they can, keep a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment and really working towards that collaborative team spirit. And wherever you have an opportunity to celebrate and shape that at least I’ve found we get more success, we get higher retention, we get higher engagement, and people that want to work for you are going to do more than you’ll ever ask of them.
I think that the points I made are true to my heart and also true to our business. As long as you’re leading with that and with good intention and with kindness it makes work easier. Work can be hard. And when we can find joy in the little things in each other that’s going to be a more successful organization.