*Trigger warning - this post contains potentially upsetting content*
Is hospitality a lousy employer?
A colleague recently lamented that none of Thailand's top 50 employers of choice are in the hotel business (link in the description). This came as a surprise given that hospitality is one of the main industries in this tourism-driven country.
There may be bias in the selection of samples, and the ownership and business structure of a hotel corporation may make it difficult to think of it as a single major employer. Still, there are systemic and historical problems with the hospitality industry that may make one hesitant to recommend hotels as good places to work.
Here are the key challenges:
Process-driven: Hoteliers place a high value on SOPs. With so many permutations and variations, it may be the only method to maintain consistency and complete the task. This, however, may not be suitable for everyone.
Compliance: There are numerous norms and regulations to follow. Depending on where you live and the culture there, this could be easy or very hard.
Top-down and hierarchical structure: This is one of the industry's worst characteristics. It may work for the first two purposes listed above, but it also means that many GMs think of the property and workers as their personal fiefdom and rule with an iron fist. They are very good at dealing with the higher-ups, so it looks like everything is fine, but it could all fall apart very quickly.
Global chains (local operations): Global chains operate a large number of hotels. These chains' headquarters make decisions about systems, tactics, and strategies elsewhere, and they expect local hotels to just do what they're told and deliver. Depending on your tastes, this may not be the most exciting part.
Service culture: Hospitality is all about giving personalized service, but interacting with guests and coworkers can be stressful. Many hotels recognize this and place a premium on staff selection and proper timeouts. Most others leave it to chance.
Is it surprising that Gen Z (and some Millennials), who want more flexibility, autonomy, and opportunities to make a meaningful impact in their careers, are less interested in working in the hospitality industry? Also, young professionals might not want to work in the hospitality industry because of the perception that it pays low wages and doesn't offer many opportunities for advancement.
Is the sector prepared to adapt to a new generation of workers? Or is it waiting for technology and artificial intelligence to deal with a guest who is unhappy with their room?
So, how can we overcome this potentially troublesome challenge?