The emerging era of HR in Hospitality ft. Jebet Chesiyna Odhiambo


My name is Jebet, from Kenya. I'm a HR professional with 20 years experience, more on HR generalist

Q : The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought a lot of disruption, what are your thoughts about how a remote or hybrid work model impacted the different generations.


For the industry at work, COVID 19 was an unprecedented occurrence. The challenges impacted the hotel operations that is in room staffing, beverage, but when COVID hit this part of the world in March, 2020 tourism came to an immediate standstill. And this had a major impact on our revenue because tourism for this part of the world is great revenue and big employer. So other than the approved quarantine hotels, you find that most hotels closed.

So what hotels had to do is that for, for us to open up later in the year we had to Institute to ensure that there was a steady cash flow for businesses to stay afloat, many resorted to either retrenchments or unpaid leave.So what hotels did for them to stay afloat is that they had to sit with their team members, like for us, we had to sit with our team to be able to come up with work schedules that were, are working for the, would work for the multi-generational workforce that we have. So we have people who are 65 up to 20 year olds.

So that is a diverse workforce coming up with something that would work for the team and considering that we are a guest facing industry, we cannot work from home. We cannot close the hotel and say that we will work remotely. So we sat down and came up with the ideas. The ideas that we came up with, firstly was flexible work arrangements. We find that the younger generation, or didn't mind working longer hours, so they would work four days in a week and get three days off.

So it looks like long hours, but it worked very well. If I look at our last engagement survey that we did last year engagement was at a all time high. This was really amazing because it's something that we didn't expect considering the team are working very long hours, but their work life balance was amazing. You find that the team are saying that they're able to do other things. They're able to go to school.

They're able to travel up country for us who have upcountry two or three homes. And, and this was able to balance their life. They're able to manage from the COVID pandemic, how to get several streams of revenue,

Q: In the difficult era of Covid-19 and the Great Resignation, what can the hotel industry do differently to retain talent?

Jebet :

It's still during with the COVID pandemic what I've realized to be able to retain these team members, It's more of a consultative way of working because I cannot bring high handedness and tell them this is how I want things to be done. So the consultation has really, really, really helped especially the millennials and the gen Z, they, they want to make sure that they work, they get their money and also get their time off. So with consulting them, they're also feeling that they are being given a chance at the table to be able to come up with solutions, right? So we have, have been keeping those lines open.

We have WhatsApp lines all our phone lines open. They write to us, they email us, they get in touch with us and we are able to talk. So keeping that has really made the team members feel more valued and they feel that I'm actually worth something. So our retentions after we did some separations earlier, before we started before opening up, we find that the team is more appreciative. They feel like they're valued. Yeah. And they're cared for, so consulting them and just keeping them in the loop has really, really helped us. Yes.

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