Recently I had lunch with the new GM of a leading luxury hotel. We had first met in a hotel where I was working as Training Manager nearly 20 years ago when he was a trainee performing an industrial placement (or "stage"). He was one of three trainees with us for six months.
One of the trainees, from a well known Swiss Hotel School, reported to the DoSM and undertook a significant number of projects on her behalf. This included, but was not limited to, the coordination of the annual Sales and Marketing plan.
Another one of the "stagiaires" was representing a Hotel School that was connected to an American University. This trainee supported the Rooms Division Manager, while yet another trainee from an Australian Hotel School provided assistance to the F&B management. Both these trainees also supervised major projects which delivered really meaningful outcomes - it was the classic win/win of the hotel and the individual benefiting.
So.....why am I telling you this?
Basically I want to encourage hotels to give more trainees the opportunity to rise to the task, and to not just put them into positions where they can cause the least damage. Who knows what wonderful outcomes could be achieved, and what careers you could actively influence?
Of course I believe I was fortunate in having three impressively capable and diligent young people to work with. However this was not purely down to luck - there were a couple of contributing factors that made this initiative successful:
I made a calculated decision in choosing people who I felt were in a position to perform to the highest standard. It also required an investment of time in the initial stages to ensure they were well integrated into their teams.
As well as this I was very fortunate to have members of the Exco who were prepared to invest in creating opportunities that would both challenge and stimulate. They were willing to share their knowledge and wisdom with young hoteliers keen to learn and who actively contributed to the success of the team and the hotel.
Sure, like anyone going through a learning process, my three "stagiaires" encountered some hurdles. But because they had mentors with whom to consult and discuss their challenges, they became the foundation for real learning to take place and, if there were any issues, these were quickly and effectively dealt with.
If I needed further proof of the success of this undertaking it came when one of the Exco was promoted to General Manager at the end of this 6 month period and requested that two of the trainees assist in projects as part of his transition phase to this exciting new hotel. As before, both "stagiaires" performed to an exceptionally high standard, delivering further ROI on the investment made in their development.
Following on from my recent lunch, I would like to believe that both the hotel and the team I worked with contributed in some small way to the impressive career path of my lunch partner....purely by giving him a chance to show what he could do! He did not disappoint!
About the author
Timothy Millett's training roles have seen him deliver programs across Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and America ensuring cultural sensitivity as well as a broad base of experience in lecturing, teaching and training.
A graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, his hospitality career spans management and director positions in Front Office, Guest Relations, Public Relations, Food & Beverage and Training with organisations including the Regent of Melbourne, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Mövenpick Gastronomy. He was also a founding staff member of the internationally renowned Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia.
Tim is currently the Director of Training and Development at iperform, an organisation that specialises in Sales and Service, Leadership and Effective Personal Organisation programs.