Attracting millennial guests is important, but hiring millennials is also key. Here’s what hoteliers had to say about attracting young employees—at the corporate level and in the hotel—and keeping them on the job.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Great employee benefits, career advancement opportunities and the ability to play a role in the growth of a company are more than just perks for millennials; they’re absolute job requirements.
“Employees want to feel that the company cares about their wellbeing and career; they want to feel part of a caring and productive community and work; and they want to feel proud about the company’s role in society,” David Rodriguez, EVP and global chief human resources officer at Marriott International, said. “While these are important to everyone, millennials are much more demanding of this from a company.”
Rather than changing policies when millennials entered the workforce, many hoteliers built workplace cultures that translate to each generation and were able to attract millennials—with a little help from social media and online job site postings.
“The most powerful element is our authentic people-centric culture, industry-leading company reputation and social media presence,” Rodriguez said. “Through our multi-channel social media channels, we get the story out about Marriott in a very accessible and transparent way.”
Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, said the company monitors career review sites to ensure they are responding to comments from current and past employees.
“Millennials love their research and crowd-sourcing,” he said. “We’ve noted that a lack of presence on review boards and social sites can actually hurt more than negative company reviews.”
DeFrino said Kimpton also has updated its “talent attraction strategy” to expand its reach by posting on multiple job boards and “leveraging our existing social media sites in order to attract the highest caliber of applicants who share our core values and commitment to service.”
Laura Fuentes, SVP of talent, rewards and people analytics at Hilton Worldwide Holdings, said the company has done research to ensure they’re giving millennials what they’re looking for in a job.
“We have found that millennials, overall, are more vocal in expressing their wants and needs—because of this, they tend to become champions and advocates for these issues,” she said. “For example, millennials often voice their passion about hospitality; they want to be involved with meaningful, relevant opportunities; and they have a thirst for innovation in everything they do.”
She said millennials at Hilton are also interested in attending career development training and networking events to “try new things in their careers.”
Once an employee is brought on board, sources said, they make sure they’re giving millennials what they expect out of the job and opportunities to advance their career.
At Marriott’s headquarters, the company has a “dress for your day policy,” which appeals to millennials wanting to dress comfortably at work.
“On some days, it may mean jeans and sneakers, and on another day if you were hosting customers, it might mean a suit; it’s all up to the associate,” Rodriguez said. “We also have many people work from home or other locations on any given day, if that is the most productive thing to do, and also so they can balance non-work aspects of their lives.”
Rather than traditional annual performance reviews, millennials prefer “real-time feedback,” said Jane Blake, chief human resources officer at Interstate Hotels & Resorts.
“To better retain and work with our millennial associates, Interstate constantly solicits feedback as it works best for them,” she said. “Not only is it important, it needs to be relevant to the employee’s long-term goals and must be heartfelt.”
Blake added that millennials “are more willing to change jobs than previous generations to get what they want.”
“We believe that if we execute our existing strategy well, it will appeal not only to millennials but to the generations that bracket them as well,” she said.
DeFrino said Kimpton “underscores balancing work and life.”
“(It’s) a common phrase that can be difficult for companies to uphold,” he said. “We model the way with our leadership and encourage the workplace to be an extension of their families. In our off-site and employee appreciation events, we celebrate not only professional milestones but personal achievements.”