Labor remains a critical issue for the lodging industry, particularly when it comes to attracting young talent to the industry. At least two major management companies have been taking a proactive approach to not only finding and grooming the next generation of workers but also filling key property-level positions.
Earlier this week, Dallas-based Aimbridge Hospitality announced that it had added a cohort of 40 new associates to its 2021 Fall class. As the company continues to prioritize the education of its future leaders, Aimbridge partnered with AHLA Foundation’s Lodging Manager Apprenticeship program and have enrolled a total of 115 associates, inclusive of the newest entries.
“We are thrilled to welcome 40 new hotel associates to the program, each selected by their general manager for their tremendous leadership potential. Aimbridge remains deeply committed to investing in the development of our associates and providing career pathways for our next generation of leaders,” stated Ann Christenson, Chief Human Resources Officer of Aimbridge Hospitality. “It is a core part of our company culture to support such an in-depth training program that will help our associates grow and accelerate their careers with Aimbridge.”
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation partnered with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) to create the first hospitality apprenticeship program, funded by The Department of Labor, to expand apprenticeship in the hospitality industry. The Lodging Manager apprenticeship program, which Aimbridge Hospitality participates in, is designed to provide an avenue for management companies to increase “bench strength” across the industry for supervisory and managerial positions and qualified candidates. The 7th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is taking place November 15 – 21, 2021.
Meanwhile, Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), an Atlanta-based, private hotel management and investment company, earlier this month revealed the initial results of its Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence (TACOE), a new strategic initiative designed to source property level talent and support as well as accelerate the hiring process for its hotels. This centralized effort also was created in part to take some of the recruiting and on-boarding processes off HVMG general managers, given all they are having to manage and navigate now and for the foreseeable future, according to the company.
“The Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence has taken a tremendous amount of stress off the teams at individual hotels and added value for our owners,” stated Sue Sanders, EVP/chief HR officer, HVMG. “The initial results from the 120-day beta program already have exceeded expectations, expeditiously sourcing and filling more than 400 hourly openings. This number will grow as more HVMG hotels are onboarded into the program. We have not only directly sourced qualified applicants through many different channels, but we have also reduced the time it takes to review job applications which has sped up the overall hiring process. By September 2021, we were above 80% of our pre-pandemic staffing levels.”
HVMG brought together a specialized team of Talent Acquisition Specialists (TAS) to focus solely on staffing hotels. According to the company, the new team accomplishes four main goals: freeing up scarce property level resources; simplifying and streamlining the hiring process; sourcing and recruiting new talent more efficiently; and providing a competitive, differentiating advantage to HVMG.
Parallel to hiring and training the four Talent Acquisition Specialists and launching TACOE across the portfolio, the initial results of the first 120 days of the program:
- 7.5 days: The average cycle time from when an application is posted to when the position is hired;
- 31.9 days: The average cycle time from when a requisition is completed to when the position is hired;
- 404 positions filled;
- 1,490 candidates presented to hiring managers;
- 1,920 in-depth TAS interviews conducted;
- 4,299 applications reviewed;
“What really matters is what the general managers think about how TACOE is helping their sourcing situation,” continued Sanders.