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Snapshot: AccorHotels’ Christine Rumble on the best way to find talent

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“In some environments there may be a skills shortage, but I truly do not believe there is a talent shortage,” AccorHotels’ chief talent and culture officer for APAC, Christine Rumble, affirms.

Q. What drew you to HR as a career, and what do you love about it?

In some ways, human resources is my third career, but the skills of HR have been relevant throughout my different roles. My first full-time role was as an activities manager for a resort hotel in Australia after completing a bachelor of applied science in recreation.

Creating new experiences for guests which left them with life-long memories was an extremely rewarding job and after working in several different styles of hotels, I started to explore the other elements of hotel operations and eventually worked my way to hotel general manager.

Throughout my operational roles I have always been passionate about developing people and getting the very best out of them. I found that I kept gravitating to L&D roles until eventually I decided to embrace my destiny and complete a master’s in HR management.

I love being able to make a difference to people’s lives. Most people just need someone to believe in them; with coaching and training, you can provide new opportunities which they didn’t think were previously possible. To watch someone grow is a heart-warming experience.

Q. What was the most innovative HR campaign you’ve worked on and what was your biggest learning from that?

This is a hard one to answer as we are constantly launching new activities each year. The one which has made the biggest impact both locally and globally would be our leadership capability framework. This in itself is not so innovative, but the way we have embraced and supported the implementation I think is truly inclusive.

The framework outlines the competency and behaviours expected at every level and is then supported with interview guides, personal development plans identifying the learning experiences for all team members, and it is embedded in our leadership programmes. It is reflective of the values, the leadership model and the culture that is AccorHotels.

Team members can develop their competencies in their current role and they can also clearly see what is required when they step up to the next level so they can work on developing their leadership competencies for it. It truly enables each person to take ownership of their career and learning.

In some environments there may be a skills shortage, but I truly do not believe there is a talent shortage.

We created it in Asia Pacific through a bottom-up process using focus groups. We interviewed people in a role, reporting to the role and in charge of a role. We had hundreds of people across 19 different countries involved and then validated the results with another 2,000-plus employees.

In 2016, the Asia Pacific leadership capability framework was refined and rolled out across the globe to all 250,000 AccorHotels corporate and hotel team members to become the global leadership capability framework.

Q. Do you believe the talent shortage is real?

In some environments there may be a skills shortage, but I truly do not believe there is a talent shortage. We live in a world where everyone wants instant results. Leaders would like to hire employees who are ready to hit the ground running from day one rather than taking the time to coach and train the required skills.

Personally, I believe the best way to find talent is to hire based on behaviour and potential then develop the skills on the job.

Q. Who has inspired you the most in your career and why?

I have had many positive leaders as role models and mentors in my career, but my first and greatest mentor was my mother. She always gave me the belief I could do anything I wanted to do – that there were no barriers, no glass ceilings, no gender bias. There was never any pressure to be the best at school only to be happy, ask questions, learn and explore.

Most importantly she encouraged me to always help others and always be courteous, especially to those less fortunate. I think I have carried this throughout my career. To me, life is not a competition, but a journey and a journey is best travelled with family and friends.

Q. Is there a mindset that you believe HR professionals should do away with?

At AccorHotels we do not use the term human resources – after all humans are not a commodity that you can trade off for something else. We are ‘talent and culture’, and together with the business unit leaders, we are responsible for the attraction, selection, retention and development of talent within the company as well as the custodians of the organisational culture.

Culture is created by continuous behaviours which are either aligned or not aligned to the company values. Our role is to help build the behaviours which support our values and address those which create integrity gaps.

Q. Do you believe there is a thing such as work-life balance?

Balance is a hard thing to achieve as it indicates there needs to be an equal equation of time which is often not practical or realistic. I prefer the term work-life harmony. Working in a 24/7 industry, it is difficult to say when work stops and your personal life begins, therefore I prefer to look at how you weave in the things that are important to you in an enjoyable way.

Finding what works for you may be very different – it could be taking time in the middle of the day to see your son in a school play or taking a longer lunch break to meet with an old friend.

For example, I may be travelling from Bangkok to Singapore on a Friday night. Rather than be concerned I am not having dinner with my friends or family, I take time at the airport while waiting for my flight to have a relaxing foot massage or read a magazine in the lounge. This allows me to be more present when I arrive as I have had a moment of time for me.

Finding what works for you may be very different – it could be taking time in the middle of the day to see your son in a school play or taking a longer lunch break to meet with an old friend, but whatever is important to you it is essential to find a place within your work routine.

Q. What’s on your wish list for the near-future of HR?

On my wish list, I would like to see greater diversity in the workplace. We constantly refer to gender balance, but it is more than this: it is about culture, age, abilities, education, nationality, etc. A fully integrated and diverse organisation generates opportunity for learning and innovation, which in turn, creates a dynamic culture which can achieve great things.

In addition, by having diverse leadership it helps to inspire the next generation in terms of the possibilities their future can hold for them – imagine there was no bias and everyone was recognised for their talent and potential.

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