Leaders Across Hospitality Industry Argue For A Less Alienating Stronger Coaching-Led Approach To Talent Development

A forum in London this week brought together a large number of senior leaders from across the hospitality, hotel and catering industry for a thought-provoking debate on the future of talent development.  Hosted by industry thought-leader, EP Business in Hospitality, in partnership with online learning specialist, Upskill People, the debate highlighted that continually referring to millennials as though they are a different ‘culture’ or ‘nationality’ is both patronising and short sighted and it puts businesses that do not place culture, compassion and people at the top of their agenda, at risk of alienating future talent altogether.

In an industry clearly changing at speed, core messages emerging from the session included the need for a modernised learning culture that seeks to understand all perspectives while embracing shared knowledge across all genders, ages and job titles.

CEO at EP, Chris Sheppardson explained:  “It’s becoming more apparent that the younger generations do have a different perspective and agenda on work and life. They are less focused on getting onto the housing ladder and being saddled with a lifetime mortgage, and are instead living more ‘in the moment’ with a genuine interest in environment and society – arguably to a higher degree that many business leaders. As businesses we must build a stronger connection with our people and change our approach to developing talent.”

The debate also reinforced the harsh reality that talent today doesn’t remain with one employer long term and will move around more regularly suggesting that employers need to embrace and even support this concept in the future. Leaders also agreed that to develop talent successfully today, there is a greater need for stronger coaching-led approaches.

Sheppardson added: “Empowerment has almost become an old-fashioned concept and re-engagement is needed here. Too many companies try to control and limit any risk. Too many decisions on people are based on spread sheets and figures. Talent looks to embrace culture, compassion for people and communities in work. People are still the greatest asset of a business and young people today expect companies to play a meaningful role in society as well as in business.”

Key trends and highlights from the forum include:

  • CSR policies have become a dirty word as too often it has been a ‘fudge’ for anything meaningful, but there is a desire for TSI – Total Societal Impact – how business can impact about society – through supply changes, through people, through the environment, through innovation.  It was noted that a number of city organisations have made this move and business needs to follow this lead too.
  • The importance of shareholder value must be reviewed as the truth is companies need today to work on the delicate balance between shareholder value, TSI and this includes their people, social enterprises and their environment/sustainability. All together this creates better business and allows for better shareholder value.
  • There is less faith and confidence in business ethics and motivations and four out of 10 believe that business leaders are having a negative impact (Deloittes Millennial Survey)
  • Stronger diverse culturesare more likely to attract generation Z and millennials.
  • Many feel unprepared for business and feel they do not have the skills to be successful and so they are looking to companies to support the development of their skills.
  • Increase in stress and mental illness one in four will suffer in the lifetime of their careers.