HR’s Pivotal Role in Hospitality Succession Planning

Strategic succession planning is one of the essentials in the hospitality landscape. If the leadership roles stay vacant for a prolonged period, it may hinder the growth of the business. Having key positions in capable hands is essential to ensure that the quality of customer service stays aligned with the hospitality industry’s standards and the organization’s values.

In this blog, we will look at the importance of succession planning and the role of human resources in effectively implementing it.
Importance of Succession Planning

Hospitality HR always have a lot on their plate and hence, they require a particular set of skills to tackle the challenges they face every day. Even smaller mistakes can damage a hotel’s reputation, and in the continuous absence of efficient leaders, restaurants may lose their loyal customer base due to inconsistency in the services.

Succession planning is a strategic approach to ensure that the key roles such as the management, chefs, and other key decision-making positions continuously have the right people in charge. Let’s check out the primary reasons that make it crucial in the hospitality sector to implement a strategic succession planning program.

Better Customer Experience
The quality and consistency of the customer experience are vital in the hospitality industry as they can make or break your brand. The values of the people in leadership positions seep into the services and can heavily affect the attitude of the ground staff towards the guests, defining the customer experience.

Mitigation of Risks
Your staff members can leave for multiple reasons such as better opportunities, health issues, sudden death, and more. It’s challenging to find candidates with the desired talent and knowledge for key roles, such as head chef or purchase manager. These vacancies can affect the service quality and disrupt the supply chain. Hence, HR has to anticipate the gaps to ensure key roles are always in efficient hands.

Talent Retention
Training and development of the in-house talent for succession planning fosters a culture of growth and learning. Continuous development in the hospitality industry also indicates that you recognize your employee’s potential and are willing to invest in their development. As a result, you retain employees who understand your business and are experienced in your unique processes.

Ideal HR Steps for Strategic Succession Planning
Here are a few simple steps for successful strategic planning in the hospitality industry:

1. Key Role’s Identification
Succession planning starts with identifying the important positions in your business. Mostly, these are roles with specialized skills and experience requirements, such as resort managers, head of security, etc. So, HR should focus on skillsets that are relatively rare in the hospitality industry, yet essential for performing their daily duties effectively.

2. Assessment
The next step is to identify staff members who show the potential of being able to fulfil essential responsibilities in the future. HR should start screening for succession planning at the interview stage by identifying ambitious students from hotel management institutes, who display high potential.

3. Development
Once you identify talent for succession planning, you should help them hone their current skills and develop new ones through training. For example, you can provide mentorship opportunities to talented chefs who have the potential to replace your head chef in the future. Leadership requires numerous soft skills and experience. A robust mentorship program can help candidates accelerate the development of their skills.

4. Pipeline Building
Once the key roles are identified, HR should build a pipeline for these roles in every department such as front office, hospitality, food and beverages, purchase, and more. Human resources should look for individuals with multifunctional exposure so that you can have a temporary replacement in case of unexpected emergencies.

5. Regular Reviews
Since it is a long process, you need to regularly review your succession planning program. These reviews include measuring the employee’s performance such as interactions with guests, grievance resolution, presentation, and more. Parameters such as the effectiveness of training sessions, assessing the roles that are currently under the program, and identifying any changes in the leadership requirements, should be regularly reviewed. In addition, you need to have transparent communication and maintain flexibility for changing requirements throughout the review process.

Since it affects the continuity of the business and the brand reputation, the role of HR is pivotal in hospitality succession planning programs. HR can follow these strategic steps to ensure continuous succession for all the key roles in the company for consistent productivity and growth of the organization.

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