Insight to Hospitality HR Practices

Extract of activity planned by: Training & Placement cell –AIHM

Article contributed by Mr. Pawan Mehra – Associate Professor, Manager – Training & Placement (Amrapali Institute of Hotel Management)

Should a teacher do blogging? This was the year end discussion at AIHM as we all sat around the coffee table with the social distancing norms to comfort ourselves at the passing year as we Bid it Adieu. Finally it was a yes and we are into it at the opening of the year. Some say we are nurturing our personality too with the new norms.

The New norms that pandemic has painted on the lives of the people have not left us alone. We are into new trends and ways to keep students engaged with every passing day. The concern also emerges from the fact that isolation may hit the students’ psychology. How to make them occupied with engaging activities? What about a few motivational doses every now and then? What about something different to gear them up!  All these coffee table talks and then a request to Mr. Gurmeet Singh, a former Senior Area Director, South Asia – Marriott International and me blogging to open the world that his wonderful thoughts have revealed. Yes, we are nurturing new norms in education.

Mr Gurmeet Singh is a lively personality and the best person to boost up the morale of every student specially now during the lean phase of Hospitality. His presence was a hundred suns shining in the midst of enthusiasm. The personality that he carries is inspiration. He commenced his talks with zest and fervor and to the satisfaction of the worried students. Initially two mikes were on and the conversation went from Mr Amir Husain our fellow faculty to Mr Gurmeet Singh. He shared his experience of years with gaiety and soon all the shoulders came to a relaxed position and more mikes were switched on. He brought the topic of good times versus bad times but the less is more is the main stay of the day. ‘Multi talents’, he said, ‘were the best cost cutting means rather than cropping the salary of individuals’. He reminded the students of the need to change and get dynamic with time.

Nothing changes as change and Mr Gurmeet asked the students to just change the way they are looking at the situation that the pandemic has caused. He said it was just a passing by phase and not an end. The world will not give up and hospitality is not in ruins, it is in reorientation. The encouragement that he added to values and learning and moving with time spurred warmth of appreciation from all.

He gave insight on some of the essential core competencies such as high level of customer service, good communication skills, formal industry training, high level of cultural awareness, working well as a team and above all flexibility. As old things give way to new so does the industry. Mr. Singh answered the queries of students and told them about the immense opportunity for all hoteliers in a number of departments of the vast industry except for a few. It was obvious that certain works like accounting requires expertise hence limits selection.

Mr. Singh answered a few more queries by briefing the students that some new training programmes on health & safety aspects have been introduced by Marriott. Marriott on wheel is a special team of 20 members developed for the busy hours. According to him, the key strategy for employee development & growth is employee engagement & involvement by better recognition & good employee survey practices such as contribution recognition and to offer peer to peer opportunities for recognition. Last but not the least Mr. Gurmeet Singh discussed the plans of hospitality industry and also suggested various measures that need to be taken to overcome the issue.

Mr Gurmeet Singh brought forth a few important points for our consideration.

  • The number one consideration post Covid-19 will be on health and safety, which translates into hygiene and sanitation issues of the hotel.
  • The second great consideration is liquidity for working capital. FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian and Tourism Industry) has already made an appeal to the PM for certain concessions. (Economic Times)
  • The third consideration is to move more towards AI and other technology. The Covid-19 has hastened the need to use technology to allow least contact with humans.
  • Hotels are now planning to do a soft opening with one floor or two with only essential facilities and staff.
  • All staff should continue to wear surgical gloves and masks to give confidence to the guests.
  • Self-service as far as possible should be encouraged to reduce human contact.

A team of diversely skilled individuals that can jump and save a day was and is the notion I guess, and it was affirmed by Mr Gurmeet Singh. Not much has changed only the right moment is to be awaited. Till then let us bring the change in us that we would wish to see in the world.  

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