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Getting the talent pipeline flowing

 Susan Bland, Chief Human Resources Officer

Redefine|BDL Hotels


The problems around talent pipelines and employee turnover in the hospitality industry are not new to any of us, but continue to be of increasing relevance and importance.

When we find those people within the industry that shine and express an interest to forge a career in the sector, we need to be able to give them opportunities and exposure to learning experiences, to ensure we can help them realise their potential.

The hospitality industry has such a buzz about it and we want to be able to shout about this great environment and make sure our rising
stars know they can have a long-term career with us.

In order to ensure we’re not losing this talent to competitors, or another industry, we need to be able to attract a pipeline across all age groups, ensuring we focus on our ageing population and keep up with the millennial generation. This fast-paced group of professionals are
always on the lookout for their next step, and with the economy now on the up and a renewed belief in the market coming to the fore, people generally don’t feel the same need to sit tight. As such, we need to be able to provide them with
an attractive ladder to climb and a culture that nurtures talent.

Creating a talent pipeline takes time. Similar to the likes of the retail trade, we have a high influx of people entering the
workplace at team member level, but how do we ensure that these individuals can make it all the way to the very top? After all, shouldn’t born and bred hoteliers be among the most senior people in a hospitality organisation, sitting comfortably alongside financers, revenue experts and marketing gurus?

Firstly, we need to be able to identify key talent. At Redefine|BDL Hotels, we review our employees’ performance in their current role against potential for future roles in the company. From there we identify the strongest individuals with a high level of potential who want to grow. We talk
to our people and find out exactly where they see themselves in the future and what we can do internally to facilitate this growth.

25 per cent of our General Managers sit within this pool of top talent and are potentially earmarked for further opportunity within our
expansive portfolio according to their needs and those of the business.

To ensure our strongest individuals are ready to make the leap at any given moment, we will work with them to develop a tailored
retention plan. This will include a variety of learning opportunities such as mentoring, working on high-profile projects, exploring the expertise and best practice in different specialities within the business, and navigating the world of self-development, including speaker opportunities and development programmes which take them out of their comfort zone. It is important that the ownership remains with the individuals and we facilitate their development, rather than the other way round.

It is this level of engagement with our workforce that will help us to reach that much sought-after position where we have a number of talented individuals with a great attitude and the right abilities to potentially fill a role further up the organisational structure.

There is no one-plan-fits-all when it comes to retaining talent, but we do need to champion a structured talent management programme that
ambitious individuals know they can utilise and that we can cascade throughout the business moving forward.