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[Q&A] The Silveri Hong Kong – MGallery’s King Tau on attracting unique talents

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As mentioned in our previous story, The Silveri Hong Kong – MGallery announced its plan to recruit 150 new employees from Hong Kong and overseas on 26-27 July, ahead of its upcoming opening of the MGallery hotel by the end of 2019. Human Resources talked exclusively to hotel manager King Tau on the recruitment campaign. 

Vital Stats: Tau joined Accor in 2007 and has since held key positions in several high-profile luxury hotels throughout Europe, including Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, France; and Sofitel Frankfurt Opera, Germany. Tau now returns to his native Hong Kong and takes over the day-to-day operations of The Silveri Hong Kong – MGallery.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the upcoming recruitment campaign, and how it reflects MGallery’s character?

Our hiring campaign – aiming to employ 150 candidates for over 45 positions across all levels and departments – starts with mass recruitment. We are hosting a recruitment open day on 26-27 July at Novotel Citygate Hong Kong.

Our entire executive committee, including heads of department and mid-management, will be present to meet everybody personally and ultimately select their own teams. 

The process is really about meeting and greeting all talents, learning about the current talent pool, sharing passions towards the industry while allowing talents to learn about us.  

This arrangement aligns with our emphasis on hands-on experience over academic background, and our expectations on the roles of managers. We don’t want our managers sitting behind a desk all day (even though it’s a common practice for hotels) because you can’t manage a hotel behind a computer.

Similar to the idea of serving our guests, managers have to be among their staff in order to understand their demand. If managers don’t talk to them, they won’t know what employees need and want. 

Some of the potential candidates will be invited to follow-up interviews, where we will identify not only his or her personality but also his or her interests, such as long-term objectives. We are seeking talents who are committed and think long term because we are very keen on nurturing talents within our group, Accor, which owns hotels in almost every continent and believes in continuous growth for all levels of workers. 

From your hipster-ish recruitment poster to the candidate expectations, personality and individuality are heavily stressed. Why?

 

The foundation of MGallery is diversity. We would like to work with different kinds of people. We don’t care about how our talent looks, where they are from or their gender. We celebrate individuality within our brand, as we believe that only having a young, dynamic and international workforce could ensure our high-level service culture. 

Uniqueness in a personality is something that comes naturally, something that the person either has or hasn’t. Five-star hotels nowadays are looking for high-profile talents with backgrounds such as graduating from specific universities or hotel schools or coming from foreign countries like Switzerland, but to MGallery, most of these so-called in-demand talents have standard, cookie-cutter luxury personalities. They are shaped in a certain way but they are not themselves. We don’t want that.

Technical skills can be learnt so we don’t need someone who has 10 years of experience or knows all the products by heart.

We are looking for talents who are really passionate about what they are doing and are able to provide what we call “a ridiculously good service”, which can only be achieved by self-motivated energy and enthusiasm.

 

Since you mentioned hard skills can be learnt from MGallery, would you elaborate more on the learning experience MGallery provides?

There are mandatory trainings on hard skills, depending on the department the talents are working with – if you are on the F&B team (Food and beverages), you will undergo training on health and safety, how to handle food, etc.  If you work at the front office, they’re training on privacy and compliance. Newcomers will also learn Accor and MGallery’s overall brand values. 

Our group Accor has its own learning platform, Accor Academy, which provides various interactive training for different regions. We also got regional trainers and local training managers who adopt role play, case scenario and gamification into learning processes. Employees have opportunities to cross-train with other departments.

Accor is eager to offer all talents opportunities if he or she is willing to learn and grow. I’ve been with Accor for over 12 years now, and I worked in Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and now Hong Kong. 

What really makes MGallery stand out from others is that we are sincere and we embrace employees’ growth. We regularly evaluate, give feedback and ask them to review their objectives to ensure their continual growth.

We constantly ask them four questions: What did you learn in the past months? Are you on the right track towards your objectives? What is your mobility plan? Where do you see yourself in a couple years?

What is MGallery’s human resources philosophy?
We believe that happy staff results in happy guests. Working in the hospitality industry means long hours, so it’s particularly important for employees to come back to a place where they really want to showcase their work. It’s our responsibility as a hotelier to provide this kind of working environment where our talents feel confident and welcome. 

We encourage that by ensuring clear and effective communication from top to bottom. For example, we hold quarterly meetings with individuals to review his or her performance; organise one-on-one luncheons with the general manager biannually for each employee to discuss challenges and achievement on an organisational level, and we are planning to establish a welfare committee. We also take exit interviews very seriously. We are open to find out the reasons why they leave us and learn from them. 

Career development and personal growth are our another focus. We strongly believe that talents should be kept within our family, and our job is to help them grow. Whenever there’s an exciting opportunity within the group, local or overseas, we encourage them to take that.  

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