Hyatt: How in the world would one motivate a chef?

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The hospitality industry has a very different set of employees — not the regular nine to five office goers. This business operates 24×7 and has people with unique skills and job profiles. However, the regular HR challenges — engagement and retention of employees — continue to plague this sector as well.

Will the usual motivational and engagement tactics used for regular corporate employees work in this sector? How in the world would one motivate a chef?

Hyatt, for instance, runs a culinary competition for its chefs — The Good Taste Series — a competitive platform for its chefs, where like-minded colleagues come together to produce delectable cuisines.

Through this entire series of events, it provides its chefs the opportunity to showcase their talents, flair, and artistic creativity amidst a light-hearted environment.

Arif Khan, director, human resources India, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, says, “The experience was atypical of renowned culinary competitions. However, the positive demeanour of the entire series successfully garnered great engagement and visibility of culinary talent present within Hyatt India.”

“The response to The Good Taste Series 2018 in India was phenomenal. We are indeed looking at more such competitions in the future, which not only motivate our employees but also keep their competitive spirit alive,” Khan adds.

The Good Taste Series, which was designed in 2014 as an internal competition in North America was brought to India this year. The success of this programme will be now taken globally, where chefs from all continents will participate.

Arif Khan

“The response to The Good Taste Series 2018 in India was phenomenal. We are indeed looking at more such competitions in the future, which not only motivate our employees but also keep their competitive spirit alive,” Arif Khan, director-HR, India, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

The hospitality sector isn’t just only about chefs. There are other functions as well, such as front office and sales.

Khan shares that Hyatt provides a number of other development opportunities for colleagues across all functions.

This hotel provides access to the renowned eCornell courses for its employees across levels and functions. Besides, there are other internal and external courses in leadership, finance, communication, innovation and management.

“Ongoing learning is an important competency in our leadership-development model, putting expectations on leaders to foster learning—both of their teams, as well as their own selves,” opines Khan.

Hyatt believes in ‘Purpose of care’ as its motto to build a good culture. It also aligns this motto with its business strategies and objectives.

“One of the key business priorities is to ‘cultivate the best people and evolve the culture; embedding the Purpose by enabling colleagues to be their best and create world-class leaders. Individual and business goals have a strong alignment with our Purpose,” says Khan.

The hotel industry is all about taking good care of guests. As Khan says, “At Hyatt, we have a common purpose and values that unite us, where everything revolves around ‘care’ — caring for people so they can be their best.”

It is this purpose that brings all employees together as a company, rooted in its culture.

“In addition, our values also define our global leadership model — and spell out what we expect from leaders across the regions in fostering this culture of care. And as the saying goes — leaders create cultures,” says Khan.

Hyatt works towards improving the ability of managers and helps give a better experience to its guests. It strongly believes in creating a culture of empathy and care, which drives brand strategy and competitive advantage.

At times, even small things matter a lot. The hotel follows a five-day work week and has work rosters published seven days in advance. This enables colleagues to plan their schedules and have a better work–life balance, while adhering to working hours so that associates leave on time. It has a Global ‘Family Assistance Policy’ which includes paternity leave.

Hyatt also allows its employees the liberty to move to different Hyatt-branded properties and locations. The HR team organises interviews and small group discussions to get to know the employees better, and gauge how they feel about working with the organisation.

At Hyatt, people from across diverse cultures and regions work together. The seeds of care and empathy sown in its culture are what bind the team.

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