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Snapshot: Jillian Cheong, director of human resources, YOTEL

In this exclusive with Human Resources, Jillian Cheong, director of human resources, YOTEL shares how this tech-forward hotel ensures talent remains relevant in such a competitive job market.

What are some of your immediate priorities for the second half of the year?

Singapore is our first flagship hotel in Asia and we are committed towards building a strong local core which will help us establish our footprint in Singapore and the region.

This year we have been focusing on recruitment and training to prepare for the opening of YOTEL Singapore. Additionally, we are implementing our extensive hospitality specialist programme to ensure we are all well-prepared to provide guests with an all-rounded YOTEL hospitality experience.

To provide some context, we use plenty of airline terminology throughout the YOTEL brand: our mission control crew is a multi-tasking guest-facing team that handles all guest-related matters to enable a differentiated and first-class hospitality experience.

Our guests, as well as their safety and comfort, are paramount to us. With that said, the priority for the second half of the year remains in working with our crew to provide excellent service through clever means such as leveraging smart technology.

With YOTEL being a tech-forward hotel, what are the ethos and values you use to attract talent?

YOTEL’s brand ethos and values are easily captured in five points, yet these are crucial to the types of talent that YOTEL attracts, as well as imbuing a sense of belonging and ownership to become true ambassadors – or as we call them – Yoteliers.

We value efficiency and the ability to constantly improve with purpose without compromise; we aim to be resourceful, as well as make smart decisions and deliver smart design; we seek to understand others’ needs through thoughtfulness, empathy and intuition; we inspire through creativity and innovation; and we prioritise honesty in our practices and delivery of services.

As a tech-forward and innovative hotel, our HR strategy centres on attracting and seeking those who are open to different platforms of learning and technologies. For instance, housekeeping is one of the roles that is often shunned by job seekers in the hospitality industry. However, it is one of the most crucial components that contribute to the success of a hotel, particularly where guest satisfaction is concerned.We truly value our cabin crew (housekeeping department) at YOTEL, and therefore our rooms are designed to facilitate housekeeping.

Meanwhile, we leverage robotics and technology to simplify and ease their workload, as well as strengthen efficiency.

As a tech-forward and innovative hotel, our HR strategy centres on attracting and seeking those who are open to different platforms of learning and technologies.
How does YOTEL look for staff who embrace all things digital to break the traditional hotel mould?

A digital brand utilising an online business model, YOTEL looks out for people who believe in its core values and are digital natives at heart.

Embracing digital means that one is open to the adoption of the internet of things and analytics to maximise efficiency, and to provide an unparalleled experience to the YOTEL guest.

We look out for like-minded people who share the same values as our guests, who are a new breed of independent, tech-savvy, valueconscious and no-frills types of travellers of the 21st century. They are also comfortable to be in a digital-first environment to resolve issues, and are unafraid to break conventions to add value to the YOTEL brand.

With singapore seeing a 20% increase in hotel rooms by 2020, how do you keep YoTEL relevant in the war for talent?

We look forward to creating a vibrant working environment at YOTEL Singapore, with job scopes designed to speak to the heart of the hospitality industry’s future and in line with our brand’s DNA. In a nutshell, this means leveraging technology and innovation to drive efficiency and productivity, and ensuring that our crew members are equipped with lifelong skills to help them embrace ownership of their work here.

The journey for all our crew members starts right from the day they join YOTEL Singapore. They are given a training itinerary which comprises both developmental training and our technology system training.

As YOTEL advocates team spirit and a collaborative effort, we inculcate the brand into every crew member, and enforce the importance that it takes many different departments to manage and operate a successful hotel.

In further plans, we are looking to provide our hires and talent the opportunity to work across different markets, exposing them to various work environments in the coming years.

How do you think hr can evolve to meet the digital transformation that’s happening?

In today’s volatile and fast-paced environment, businesses need real time information and industry insight to survive and thrive. Increasingly, companies are turning to new digitally connected services to help grow their businesses.

We see digitisation happening across all sectors and industries now. This shift is so pervasive it is transforming and enhancing the way we work, and research suggests that more than 50 billion devices worldwide will be connected with each other by 2020 (as estimated by Cisco IBSG).

In today’s volatile and fast-paced environment, businesses need real time information and industry insight to survive and thrive.
This is especially true for the hospitality industry, which is one of the fastest moving industries, that is constantly keeping up with changing consumer demands and trends.

On the organisational front, digital technologies facilitate the internal development and awareness of the steps we need to strengthen our teams, while allowing us to identify areas where we can improve to remain competitive in attracting and retaining the best talent at YOTEL Singapore.

What, in your view, is the biggest challenge of your role?With the sturdy growth in the hotel industry, the main challenge will be attracting and retaining a new generation of the workforce into our talent pool. This is especially true for such a people-centric industry; and being the next generation of hotels, we are constantly finding ways to redefine the needs of our guests by providing them with what they need and doing away with things they do not need.

At YOTEL Singapore, we take the additional step of creating awareness of the hotel among the new generation, as well as to inculcate our values in our crew members. We also train all crew members thoroughly on our futuristic technologies in the hotel, which will help everyone achieve the next level of productivity. This also means regularly reviewing and redesigning back-end systems to streamline and integrate processes to raise efficiencies for our crew.

Photo / Provided

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