In the ﬁrst of a series of columns exploring best practices in the operation of integrated resorts, industry veteran Niall Murray explains why implementing precise practices and processes around employee recruitment and retention is essential in providing guests with an unrivalled experience that beats the competition.
Integrated Resort operators are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the best people in highly competitive jurisdictions throughout the world.
Developing, implementing and continuously improving IR Recruitment Best Practices and Processes is of critical importance to attracting, recruiting and retaining the very best talent, who are the life, heart and soul of all successful integrated resorts and, ultimately, the key to success.
While working for Disney many years ago, I heard the following quote by Walt Disney and have adopted it as a mantra ever since:
“You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
IRs must first develop an attractive corporate culture and an exceptional work environment that appeals to prospective team members. Then they must adopt recruitment best practices and processes that not only meet minimum jurisdictional requirements, laws, rules and regulations, but far exceed them, in order to increase their attractiveness and make themselves an employer of choice.
Attracting and recruiting the best candidates goes far beyond basic compensation and benefits packages and salary price wars with competitors. The best IRs aim to offer the best overall wage and benefits packages, combined with the promise of an exceptional work environment and a team culture that offers a true sense of belonging and allows for personal and professional growth.
The goal of implementing IR Recruitment Best Practices and Processes is to attract, recruit and retain leaders and team members who are “the best of the best”, with the right attitudes, personalities and conviction in order to genuinely provide unmatched guest services, create an exceptional work environment and achieve exceptional organizational performance. This allows the IR to develop, grow and not only succeed but strive in turbulent, challenging and highly competitive environments.
A MODEL OF INTEGRATED RESORT RECRUITMENT BEST PRACTICES AND PROCESSES has been developed, modified and refined in many jurisdictions over the years. A tried and tested model of IR Recruitment Best Practices and a solid 10 Step Recruitment Process is outlined below:
Throughout the 10 Step Recruitment process, potential candidates are objectively observed, tested, evaluated and rated, using numerous bona fide job selection criteria. Then they are either eliminated or elevated to the next level in the process. The IR Recruitment Best Practices and Processes listed earlier can be used as a model to help ensure that only the best of the best available candidates are selected for each position, an exceptional work environment is created, unmatched guest service is delivered and superior operational performance is achieved.
CONSEQUENCES OF NOT IMPLEMENTING IR RECRUITMENT BEST PRACTICES AND PROCESSES
Whether an integrated Resort is located in Las Vegas, Singapore, Macau, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan or any other jurisdiction, the above best practices can be applied and will hold true for new hires and existing potentially upwardly mobile team members.
While some leading IRs implement many, if not more than, these best practices and process, most IRs in various jurisdictions have fallen far short in implementing them. Due to poor recruitment processes and shortages of suitable applicants, many IRs recruit unsuitable people, who accept positions but feel disengaged, dissatisfied, lack job satisfaction and ultimately become demotivated in a position where they do not belong and see no way out.
In addition, candidates often apply for and are recruited for the highest paying positions available, irrespective of the candidates’ natural talents, personality and suitability. Poor and restrained IR recruitment practices, driven by candidate job and salary preferences, unstructured one-on-one interviews, referrals, government guidelines and free training (such as free local dealer training) lead to hiring the wrong leaders and team members.
Evidence of poor and constrained recruitment practices can be seen on the faces of disengaged team members, who have glazed facial expressions and are robotically going through the motions, following standard operating procedures with no real passion, zeal or enthusiasm for their role. Poor IR organizational performance, low team member engagement, and low guest satisfaction all stem from not having the right people, with the right attitudes, in the right positions, taking care of the guests better than the competition. Ultimately the team member, the guest and the organization all suffer.
The best IRs avoid this by using recruitment best practices to ensure a good job fit for the candidate and by offering alternative career paths. To be the best, IRs must recruit and hire the best, and to do that they must rigorously and consistently implement the best practices and processes possible.
CHALLENGES WITH IMPLEMENTING IR RECRUITMENT BEST PRACTICES AND PROCESSES
IRs in some jurisdictions have experienced such dramatic candidate shortages that they have had no option but to hire less than ideal candidates. However, even in these circumstances, recruitment best practices can be applied during selection to ensure that each candidate is initially placed in the most suitable position, given their unique talents, in which they can make a valuable contribution and be taught skills that help them develop further.
Some jurisdictions in which IRs operate are unionized, others are not. In either case, the best IRs are not anti-union, they are pro-team member. This simply means that they hire, train, develop, monitor and empower the best leaders, who communicate clearly and genuinely respect and care for their team members. These team members will in turn take exceptionally good care of their guests.
IRs in many jurisdictions have in the past and will in the future continue to face serious challenges in recruiting and hiring the best of the best. In some jurisdictions the IR’s hands and feet are tied, yet they are expected to swim freestyle. Difficulties in implementing IR recruitment best practices include limited availability of local workers, low local unemployment, government requirements to hire the majority of the workforce locally and/or for specific positions, difficulty in disciplining or dismissing locals for performance issues and restrictions on obtaining and retaining working visas for foreign workers.
However, putting aside these challenges, many IR operators still fall short of rigorously and conscientiously implementing and improving recruitment best practices and processes.
THE BEST IRS RECRUIT THE BEST PEOPLE BY IMPLEMENTING RECRUITMENT BEST PRACTICES AND PROCESSES
Many IRs simply go through the motions with regard to recruitment, blaming local jurisdictional restrictions, internal past practices (that is how we have always done it) or external past practices (this is what other IRs do) as reasons not to do what is best for the team member, guest and the organization. When the money is flowing and times are good, there is a temptation to say, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
Now, in leaner times, it may be wise to re-evaluate not only how the IR attracts and recruits the best talent now, but also how to develop and retain them in the future. The best practices and processes listed in this article can also be employed when selecting existing team members for fast-track development programs to ensure the right people with the right attitude, aptitude and skills are placed in the right positions moving forward.
While some integrated resorts employ most or all of the suggested Recruitment Best Practices and Processes outlined above, most fall far short. What is certain is that integrated resorts will find it increasingly challenging to attract, recruit and retain the best of the best as pandemics persist, markets consolidate, competition increases and new jurisdictions open up and develop.
For this reason, a solid commitment to and continuous improvement of IR Recruitment Best Practices and Processes is of critical importance to future market survivors and leaders.
Niall can be contacted via email: [email protected]