Best Practices in Talent Management in the 21st Century

Talent management is an essential aspect that every organization should adopt in its practices. Failures in talent management are a constant source of problems for organizational management (Ross & Vasantha, 2014). Talent management practice within various organizations across the United States has been riddled with numerous gaps, thus contributing to the inefficiency of many firms in the country (Parakandi & Behery, 2016). Hospitality and tourism organizations’ managers know that they must have the best talent for them to survive in the competitive industry. For firms to achieve both their long and short-term objectives, they ought to integrate the best talent management practices into their operations (Parakandi & Behery, 2016). Moreover, they need to comprehend the need to ensure work-life balance for their employees. The hospitality and tourism organizations have been expecting more from their staff, thus putting so much pressure on them that they find it hard to balance their personal and work lives (Parakandi & Behery, 2016).  Maintaining a work-life balance in firms retains the best talent and promotes the health of staff members, and improves performance in terms of efficiency and productivity (Ross & Vasantha, 2014). Therefore, corporations should give room for work-life balance approaches. The concepts of work-life balance and talent management play essential roles in every organization within the hospitality and tourism industry as they help corporations to attract and retain their best talent, improve their productivity, and increase their profit margins (Ross & Vasantha, 2014). This paper is focusing on aspects such as work-life balance (section one), talent management practices (section two), best talent management practices adopted by various hospitality and tourism organizations (section three), and discussion about talent management and the gaps that have riddled it.

Literature Review

  1. Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance plays a significant part in the success of every organization and individual’s life. The concept is about separating personal and professional lives and ensuring one does not encroach the other (Grobelna & Tokarz-Kocik, 2016). Although maintaining work-life balance at the workplace is difficult to achieve in today’s unpredictable and fast-paced hospitality and tourism business world, organizations should not neglect employees in decision-making processes (Kassim et al., 2013). Maintaining work-life balance reduces health problems associated with different work stressors, such as exhaustion (Ross & Vasantha, 2014). When employees are stressed out and over-worked, they are often at the risk of putting their health in danger. For example, an overworked employee is usually at a higher risk of acquiring injuries at work than a rested one, because of inability to pay attention. Poor work-life balance can contribute to various health problems, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases (Pookaiyaudom, 2015). The mentioned chronic problems can also result from sedentary lifestyles that some jobs may necessitate. For example, if one’s job requires sitting for long hours every day, the person may develop a lifestyle disease such as obesity. If employees are not accorded enough time to eat proper meals, they may develop nutrition-related health conditions. If employees’ work-performance is affected, the impact is likely to translate to the company’s productivity. For instance, if an employee is frequently sick, his or her work performance will decline, and the company’s productivity will reduce. Indeed, work-life balance ensures that an organization is more efficient during the operating hours and promotes the employees’ health.

The benefits of work-life balance is that it increases employees’ productivity and allows individuals to develop greater control over their focus and ability to concentrate on assigned tasks. Every hospitality and tourism organization needs productive employees to ensure that it achieves its objectives, such as increasing its profit margins. Parakandi and Behery (2016) argue that often organizations that promote work-life balance amongst its employees achieve high productivity, compared to those that have not adopted such an approach. Work-life balance also allows employees to develop greater control over their focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand (Shankar & Bhatnagar, 2010). Promoting a healthy work-life balance improves employees’ retention rates, productivity, and an organization’s profitability.

Hospitality and tourism organizations can ensure a healthy work-life balance at the workplace by adopting various practices. For example, they can schedule enough off or leave days to allow the workers to unwind and rejuvenate. Indeed, vacations are not a luxury but a necessity. Allowing employees to take some time off from work may offer them a great opportunity to recuperate and recharge. Bloom (2016) argues that giving employees time off allows them to reduce work stress, which translates to improved work performance. Another practice that hospitality and tourism organizations ought to adopt to promote work-life balance is schedule short-breaks during working days. The human body is not designed to focus on a particular task for many hours; therefore, encouraging short-breaks can help to improve employees’ physical health and well-being (Chan et al., 2016). By implementing short-breaks, an organization can encourage its employees to engage in exercise activities, meet with colleagues, or consult with other professionals to address their issues ((Mas-Machuca, Berbegal-Mirabent, & Alegre, 2016). These, in turn, will help to improve the employees’ work performance, workplace happiness, and productivity.

Additional practices that hospitality and tourism companies can adopt to ensure healthy work-life balance include engaging employees in decision-making processes and offering them incentives. Improving employees’ personal and professional lives within a hospitality and tourism organization can be done by engaging employees in regularly scheduled meetings. By doing this, a hospitality and tourism firm can achieve its objectives both in the short and long-terms.  Another practice that a hospitality and tourism organization can adopt to promote a healthy work-life balance for its employees is offering them health incentives. An example of these incentives is offering discount gym memberships for a nearby fitness center to encourage staff to pick up and keep healthy habits that are important to their general wellbeing.

  1. Talent Management

Talent management is an essential aspect of every organization, inclusive of the hospitality and tourism firms. The concept is referred to as a methodically organized, strategic process of an organization acquitting the right talent and helping the employees grow to their optimal capabilities while keeping in mind the objectives of the firm (Deery & Jago, 2015). The concept is associated with numerous processes, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, performance management, learning and employee development, succession management, and engage and retain. Workforce planning (DeTuncq, 2020). The first step of managing talent, involves an organization analyzing, forecasting, preparing to select and recruit new talent, assessing organizational gaps, and determining the target talent management interventions to ensure that the organization recruits or hires the right people, with effective knowledge and skills to assume a particular role (Squires et al., 2017). The next step in talent management is talent acquisition. The step involves an organization attracting, recruiting, tracking, and interviewing the best talent available in the market. For a hospitality and tourism firm to attract the best talent, it may adopt various strategies, such as sharing information about a vacant job-position within an organization or utilizing external sources, such as the business’s job portals, social networks, and referrals. Performance management is the third step in the talent management process. The concept refers to the process by which an organization’s management works together with the employees to plan, monitor, and review an employee’s work objectives and overall contribution to the firm (DeNisi & Murphy, (2017). Some of the components that organizations, including those within the hospitality and tourism industry, can utilize in performance management include personal development plans, key performance indicators, and reward and recognition programs.

Learning and employee development is the fourth step in the talent management process that every hospitality and tourism organization ought to adopt. Developing employees plays an essential role in helping them grow and improve their expertise needed for a business to achieve its objectives (Ulrich, 2015). It also builds loyalty amongst employees and improves their work engagement. The process of developing employees within an organization begins with engaging them in orientation programs to ensure they settle into their new roles, providing them with ample opportunities to help them enhance their skills, and enabling their growth by involving employees in job-rotation schemes, and coaching and mentoring programs (Villiger, 2011). Succession management is the fifth step of the talent management process. The concept is the process of ensuring that pools of skilled employees are well trained and are often available to help an organization to achieve both its short and long-term goals. The final step of the talent management process is engaging and retaining of the best talent. This step involves the need for a hospitality and tourism organization to include their employees in decision-making processes, as well as allowing them to share their opinions. By adopting this approach, the best talent may be motivated, which, in the long run, may remain loyal to the company because the organization values them.

Talent management is of significance to every organization, including the hospitality and tourism firms, in many ways. For example, it allows a firm to attract the most talented and skilled individuals in the market (Hatum, 2010). By attracting and recruit the best talent, an enterprise can improve its business performance and results. Strategic talent management can also benefit the organization by keeping their employees motivated (Swarbrooke, 2017). Motivation is one key aspect that can ensure employees’ loyalty and encourage their commitment to various tasks, which, in turn, translates to an improvement in organizational performance and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, strategic talent management creates higher employee retention rates, which may save a corporation the cost of frequently recruiting and developing the best talent. Talent management is also of benefit because it helps forms to identify some of the human capital gaps in the workplace and develop strategies on how to effectively address such issues. Therefore, it is imperative that firms, including those in the mentioned industry, to consider talent management.

  1. Best Talent Management Practices Adopted by Hilton, Marriot, American Airlines, and Starwood Companies

Numerous hospitality and tourism firms such as Hilton Company, Marriot, American Airlines, and Starwood Company have adopted talent management practices to ensure that their employees remain dedicated to their tasks and improve their performance. The aim of adopting the best talent management practices is to positively influence business performance, curb employee turnover costs, increase employee satisfaction, increase productivity, and assure customers of high-quality service delivery. Hilton Company and Marriot utilize highly effective talent management practices to ensure they achieve the mentioned objectives such as employee empowerment, development of internal talent pools, giving promotional benefits and incentives to employees, and offering counseling and mentoring support to their personnel.

Hilton utilizes various talent management practices in its operations. For example, it uses internal talent pools. Instead of allocating and financing resources to find, select, and recruit new employees, the organization focuses on cultivating talent pools internally and preparing its employees to assume various job positions or leadership roles at the appropriate time. Moreover, Hilton Company often engages its employees in decision-making processes by allowing them to share their ideas and opinions with the firm’s management related to some of the issues that affect them, as well as their roles (Reidhead, 2020). Hilton often calls upon the employees to offer opinions and ideas related to various issues that involve them. The approach often motivates employees because they feel that the company values them. When the employees are motivated, they become committed to their work, improving the firm’s productivity. Furthermore, the company has adopted various talent training programs that help employees enhance their skills and knowledge related to their areas of work. Hilton also offers its employees awards, incentives, and recognizes each individual for their work performance (Lamo, 2019). The organization’s employees are given financial support and offered opportunities to participate in various counseling and mentoring programs. Employees are also given positional promotional opportunities based on their performance.

Marriot also utilizes numerous talent management practices to ensure it achieves various objectives, such as retaining talent, improving its productivity, and gaining high-profit margins. One such practice is offering its employees promotional benefits and incentives. The firm uses these approaches to ensure that it retains its best talent and reduces the costs of finding and hiring new employees to fill various job positions, in case they become vacant (Jooss, Burbach, & Street, 2017). The corporation also communicates to its employees regarding changes that might affect them individually. Organizational-wide change is not only an institutional journey, but it also requires the involvement of employees. The aim of involving employees in the organizational-wide changes is to ensure they understand how various transformational aspects might affect them, what they are expected to engage in, or how they are expected to behave during and after the transformational process, and under what basis will their performance be measured (Jooss et al., 2017). Marriot relies on the above approaches to ensure that the employees help the company achieve its short and long-term objectives. The firm has also adopted employee empowerment, which it does in various ways, such as providing workers with training opportunities and offering them counseling programs to help them address issues that may be affecting them at a personal level. Furthermore, the company provides its employees with mentoring programs to ensure that they are equipped with relevant knowledge and skills (Jooss et al., 2017). Marriot also offers its employees educational sponsorships to allow them to further their education, thus attain the needed educational level to assume various leadership roles within the organization. The firm often recruits or hires individuals from its internal environment who best fit particular roles.

Additional hospitality and tourism organizations that have adopted talent management practices to help them achieve their achieve objectives include the American Airlines and Starwood Company. American Airlines implements various talent management practices, such as empowering its employees and giving them incentives based on their work performance. The American Airlines empowers its employees by providing them with free counseling and mentoring programs, and supports them in times of need (Huff, 2018). Starwood Company also adopts numerous talent management practices, such as developing internal talent pools, offering its employees promotional and retirement benefits, and engaging employees in decision-making processes (Cava & Fernandez, 2017). The company largely concentrates on developing its employees from within so that they can assume various roles in the future within the firm.

 Discussion

Talent management plays an important strategic role in the success of every organization; however, it is challenging, especially in the hospitality and tourism industry that is riddled with numerous gaps such as high employee turnover rates. The high employee turnover rates have been as a result of stressful working conditions and long working hours that are associated with the hospitality and tourism industry across the global business environment (Gibson, 2017). The hospitality and tourism industry also faces challenges related to demand and supply of labor. The demand for the best talent by hospitality and tourism organizations outweighs the labor supply (Corbridge & Omotayo, 2013). Today’s hospitality and tourism industry demands highly qualified individuals with numerous sets of skills. However, fewer highly qualified individuals exist, thus contributing to a labor shortage in this industry. Therefore, many individuals are focusing on other related areas to seek for job opportunities because it is increasingly becoming difficult to satisfy the demands of the present hospitality and tourism industry.

Additional challenges that hospitality and tourism organizations experience today are related to leadership and retention of talented staff. These organizations lack strong and deep internal talent pools that assume leadership roles whenever there is a vacancy (Pallett, 2018). Many hospitality and tourism organizations experience the challenge of retaining their best staff in this competitive environment because other firms use their strong financial positions to lure the most talented employees to work with their organizations.

Although hospitality and tourism organizations experience numerous problems related to human resource management, they can address such issues by formulating effective strategic talent management programs. The programs should include offering employees’ incentives, promoting them from one job to another, and supporting them in various dimensions, such as financial and health aspects. Adopting these approaches may ensure employees’ loyalty and improve their work performance and productivity as well.

Conclusion

Adopting strategic talent management practices has become a difficult task for many hospitality and tourism organizations due to ineffective management. To survive in the present competitive business environment, hospitality and tourism organizations ought to incorporate work-life balance and talent management in their decision-making process. Work-life balance allows employees to be committed to their personal and professional lives and prevents one part from overshadowing the other. Adopting a work-life balance strategy may of significant importance to a hospitality and tourism organization, as it may reduce employee burnout and improve employee performance. These aspects can improve an organization’s performance and increase its production rate. Strategic talent management is also an essential aspect that every hospitality and tourism organization ought to consider. Strategic talent management may help an organization attract new talent, keep its employees motivated, and identify human capital gaps within the firm.

Numerous talent management practices exist that various hospitality organizations, such as Hilton, Marriot, American Airlines, and Starwood Hotels, have adopted to help them achieve their objectives, including increasing their profit margins and improving their productivity. These talent management practices include empowering employees, engaging employees in organizational decision-making processes, and creating internal talent pools. Hospitality organizations experience numerous human resource management challenges, such as the inability to retain the best talent, lack of effective resources to develop a better workforce that can assume leadership roles when there is a vacancy, and high employee turnover rates. Such challenges can be addressed by the firms adopting strategic talent management programs to ensure their employees’ loyalty and commitment to work and that individuals are effectively developed to enable them to assume various roles related to leadership in the future whenever there is a vacancy.

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