In today’s highly dynamic and competitive marketplace, human capital is the organization’s strategic partner, the key to attaining competitive advantage. However, there is very intense competition for human resources today. Human resource management (HRM) is, therefore, a central element of management. It is the role of HRM to recruit and select the individuals who will fit with the organizational culture and contribute towards the organization’s pursuit for competitive advantage. Therefore, when recruiting organizations consider the long-term goals and strategies. After recruitment, organizations aim for employee retention, which involves workforce training and development in response to anticipated changes in the labor market and marketplace. This paper examines aspects of recruitment and selection in the hotel industry.
HRM and the Hotel Industry
- The Role and Purpose of Human Resource Management
HRM focuses on the organization’s management of its staff to bring out the best outcomes. In this respect, the purpose of HRM in the hotel industry, no differently from any other industry, is to understand the culture of the organization, its short- and long-term goals and objectives, the market situation, as well as the strategic pursuits as informed by the market situation (including anticipated changes). Having done so, HRM then looks for ways to boost the effective success of achieving such a pursuit towards attaining competitive advantage.
Boxal notes that there aretwo dimensions of HRM: hard and soft. Hard HRM is pre-recruitment and is said to take an instrumental and economically rational approach, which is driven by strategic considerations towards gaining competitive advantage, maximization of control, as well as the achievement of the lowest labor costs possible. This dimension is about deciding who to hire (in terms of skill, experience, capacity for improvement, personality and adaptability to change, among others). Soft HRM is more post-recruitment and focuses on employee retention. In this respect, it takes a more humanistic and developmental approach, focusing on high-level managerial commitment to human capital, and is meant to develop mutual high commitment between employers and employees, high trust and high productivity, among others.
- Human Resources Plan Based on an Analysis of Supply and Demand
HRM is not a trial-and-error process. Organizations must have a HR plan, which is about how the organization expects to go about in its management of human capital, including: what types of employees are required (fulltime or part-time); what recruitment strategies to use, among others. The recruitment and management of employees is informed by organizational strategies. But organizational strategies are informed by the market situation. Supply and demand are some of the aspects of market situation.
Hotel industries tend to experience variable customer demand. This is because the hotel industry- just like in other sectors within tourism and hospitality industry- is subject to seasons of the year. In turn, hotels themselves exercise variable demand for supplies. In other words, their demands are highest in high seasons and low in low seasons.These aspects impact on HRM strategies and plans. For example, they influence the number of part-time and fulltime employees that hotels require. The goal is to establish a structure that that provides balance between the “need for flexibility in predictably high seasons throughout the year and cover for short-term increases in demand”. Hotels might also utilize return staff, such as using students from the communities around during holiday seasons, to further facilitate labor flexibility. Return staff maybe ready supply for trained labor, but they have no claim to minimum hours, can be shed with limited notice and are mostly willing to work unsociable hours. Casual labor can also be used, such as recruiting through temping agencies. Equally, hotels might choose to increase hours for permanent staff in short notice. Another effect of demand and supply on HR plan is that, in response to variable demand, hotels might decide to adopt a rudimentary type of skills flexibility, such as training staff across different areas. This is a kind of compromise between employee stability and labor flexibility, with the organizational management choosing not to overly manipulate employee hours.
- The Current State of Employment Relations
Employee relations is part of the soft dimension of HRM, and it is about the relationship between employers and employees. Today, employment relations focuses on management and the employees in the collective sense.
In the hotel industry, like in other industries as well, employment relations focuses on employment and work practices. In this respect, hotel HRM consider recruitment, employee orientation and induction, discipline and reward system, among others. According to Lucas, employee relations in the hotel industry is diverse; in terms of policies and practices. However, many hotels focus more on cost minimization and a reactive approach to management, rather than proactive approaches. This means that many hotels lack proper employee relations strategies.
Ultimately, the management of employee relations in the hotel industry is dependent on various factors, including the type of ownership (such as fragmented ownership), unpredictability of product markets, traditionally weak legal and social employment regulation, as well as under-emphasis on employee training and development and more emphasis on part-time and transient labor. In the end, larger hotels are the ones more likely to adopt greater employee relations formality.
- How Employment Law Affects HRM
In relations to employee relations, employment laws refer to legislations made towards regulating the terms of contract between organizations and their employees. Indeed, suchlegislationssignificantly influence HRM. Employment laws, including legislative controls,often seek to govern the formal arrangements between employers and employees. But generally,employment-related laws and legislations cover various areas, including economic, social and political relationships between employers and employees. In this case, which the employees are supposed to provide labor (manual, mental and aesthetic) and in exchange, are rewarded by the employers. European Union (EU) directives, for instance, encourage greater consultation between employers and employees in the process conflict resolution. In turn, EU member states have enacted legislations in accordance with these directives. Moreover, legislations, such as the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA), Race Relations Act (RRA) and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) have been part of the effort to govern workplace discrimination.
- Job Description and Person Specification
This question has to do with employee placement; that is, how hotels match potential employees to jobs through processes of selection when hotel HRM decide which employees are best suited for which jobs. As it were, recruitment is not the end of everything. It is important that the HRMutilizes the human capital where they are most productive to the organization, and academic qualification is not all there is to it. Rather, HRM considers personality and aptitude, including flexibility and adaptability to change. In this regard, various methods can be used, interviews being the most popular. Today, aptitude tests, psychometric testing and assessment centers are also used (These are discussed below).
- The Different Selection Processes
Selection refers to the process by which an organization decides which candidates are most likely to perform well in the organization. Many hotels are said to use interviews to predict employee performance in specific jobs, and ultimately select employees. Interviews, in this regard, have been a part of a three-stage process alongside application forms or CVs and references. Interviewis about gathering information that facilitates evaluation of an individual appropriateness for a particularly jobs. Interviews are said to be quick, convenient and effective when conducted properly.
However, in recent years, interviews have been criticized, their validity put to question by poor evidence. Hotels have since come to use other more sophisticated techniques said to have more predictive power on individual job performance. These include various tests on candidateskills and abilities, focusing on individual differences in personality, aptitude, intelligence and ability. There are dexterity tests, as well as psychological and psychometric tests. These tests are scored and administered systematically. More hotels are increasingly using these techniques, especially for the recruitment in managerial positions.
- The Contribution of Employee Training and Development Activities to Effective Operation
As already noted, the marketplace today is highly dynamic, with changes occurring more frequently than, say,a decade ago. In response to the anticipated changes (new trends), organizations should invest in employee training and development (T&D). One way by which employee training and development leads to effective operation is ‘continuity’. The alternative if organizations do not seek to improve their workforce through T&D is to change their employees every time it encounters new situations (trends) and challenges. Unfortunately, the processes of recruitment are highly cumbersome and expensive. But most importantly, new employees take time to orient themselves with the organization and processes, and during such orientation periods, operations (if left entirely in the hands of new employees) will obviously stall. Employee T&D is part of the efforts toward employee retention. T&D ensures that hotels would have a steady workforce always preparedto deal with new changes, to keep operations going.
This paper shows how HRM is dependent on many factors. Market situation influences organizational strategy, which in-turn impacts directly on HRM. HRM is also dependent on government regulations, which mostly focuses on employment relations. But good employment, even without government regulation, is important to the organization as it ensure employee retention. Human capital being the key to attaining competitive advantage today, retention is indeed very important as it ensures continuity and, ultimately, sustainability.
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Represented by Employee Recruitment and Training and Motivation in Realization Competitive Advantage.” International Business Research 7, no.4 (2014):
Peter Boxal & John Purcell. Strategy and Human Resource Management. (Palgrave, 2003), 5
Marwan Shammot. “The Role of Human Resources Management Practices Represented
by Employee Recruitment and Training and Motivation in Realization Competitive Advantage.” International Business Research 7, no.4 (2014), 68
 Ibid, 69
Boxal & Purcell, 17
Lee Jollife & Regena Fansworth. “Seasonality in Tourism Employment: Human Resources Challenges.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 15, no.6 (2003), 313
Paul Blyton & Peter Turnbull. Dynamics of Employee Relations, 3rdEdition. (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004), 8
Rosemary Lucas. Employment Relations in the Hospitality and Tourism Industries. (London: Routledge, 2004), 11
 Ibid, 27
Angela Knox & Dennis Nickson. “Regulation in Australian Hotels: is there a Lesson for the UK?” Employee Relations 29, no.1 (2007), 9
 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Recruitment, Retention and Turnover: A Survey of the UK and Ireland. (CIPD, 2004), 13
Cliff Lockyer & Dora Scholarios. “Selecting Hotel Staff: Why Best Practice Does Not Always Work.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 16, no.2 (2005): 121–135
David Finegold, Karin Wagner & Geoff Mason. “National Skill-Creation Systems and Career Paths for Service Workers: Hotels in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.” International Journal of International Human Resource Management 11, no.3 (2000): 497–516
 Atul Mathur & Pradeep Agarwal. “Measuring the Impact of Training and Development in Private Sector Sugar Mills.” International Journal of Management Research and Review 3, no.1 (2013): 2279