Agnes Chan, director of HR at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, on the hiring, training and employee development practices of an award-winning business.
Recently, the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong was recognised as the world’s leading luxury business hotel by the World Travel Awards. The award is an invaluable recognition of the company’s continuous efforts geared towards enhancing the guest experience and enlivening our brand’s core purpose to create “great hotels guests love”. Above all, it’s a recognition of our staff.
In the hospitality industry, the guest experience is king. Anyone can provide a bed and a shower, but it is the amiable service and exceptional facilities that add up to a memorable stay for guests. As such, people are a crucial factor for our success, since it’s our staff members who spare no effort to consistently provide our guests with memorable experiences.
The core purpose of our business is simply to create “great hotels guests love”. While our recent win showcases the achievements of our people, they do not purposely work towards any awards in our daily operation. Instead, we focus on creating a memorable experience for all of our guests and a great place for them to love and enjoy.
A number of initiatives help motivate our people to deliver great results. First, the most fundamental factor in motivating our staff is to let them understand our company culture and values through training. During the training journey, all colleagues learn about the company’s ambition – to be the number one hotel company in the world for guests, for owners and for colleagues.
The most fundamental factor in motivating our staff is to let them understand our company culture and values through training.
A second way in which InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong employees are encouraged to deliver great experiences to our guests, owners and co-workers is through our “Guests Love” recognition programme. Through this monthly staff recognition programme we show appreciation for our people delivering great results to our guests by giving out rewards.
Apart from training and recognition, recruitment also plays an important role in bringing in suitable people to the hotel. Our hiring principle is to “hire for attitude and train for skills”.
Having a positive attitude, being passionate about customer service and hospitality, and constantly striving for improvement are the key elements we look for in recruitment.
With the above key elements, we believe our managers can easily train up potential candidates even when they might not have much prior related experience.
This strategy helps InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong to hire those people who have a passion for delivering authentic hospitality, and who endeavour to excel in serving our guests and escalate the service standard to the next level.
In addition to a focus on attitude, we aim to hire talent with specific nationalities to cope with our business needs. When away from home, overseas travellers tend to feel more welcomed and relaxed when greeted by staff who speak the same language. To cater for this major market segment, we have staff from countries around the globe, including Germany, Scotland, the United Kingdom, Thailand, India and Japan.
We believe our managers can easily train up potential candidates even when they might not have much prior related experience.
For example, we have Indian chefs to craft authentic Indian cuisine to help make our Indian guests feel at home. We also have Japanese colleagues who can provide personalised services to our Japanese guests without any language barrier.
By actively recruiting from different nationalities, backgrounds and cultures, we create a hugely varied team. Our “celebrate difference” core value helps all team members embrace these differences and work collaboratively.
In general, the company is committed to providing our staff “room to be yourself” – consisting of room to have a great start, room to be involved, room to grow, and room for you.
Thanks to this commitment, talent who join InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong have a rewarding journey of learning and growth ahead of them.
For example, we identify high potential staff and we have tailor-made development programmes and succession planning to groom them. As a result, about 30% of our staff have been with us for more than 10 years.
With a pool of loyal staff, we are capable of providing guests with exceptional experiences, to truly live up to our brand’s core purpose to create “great hotels guests love” which keeps guests returning time after time.
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