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The Role of a Human Resource Manager in the Hospitality Industry

by Trudy Brunot

Diverse describes the hospitality industry. Its variety of businesses, from hotels and restaurants to membership clubs and tourism-related enterprises, rely on a multitude of jobs and employment conditions; jobs that require an array of skills. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the industry employs a younger workforce with more educational and ethnic diversity than other industries. Human resources orchestrates this diversity as an advocate for both the organization and employees.

Risk Management

The hospitality industry employs young, inexperienced and uneducated hourly workers, and experiences high turnover, ingredients that the Association of Human Resource Managers in the Hospitality Industry says lead to a steady stream of litigation. HR's role in risk management includes enforcing labor and wage laws regarding pay and break periods. Ensuring that employees understand, and that supervisors fairly and consistently adhere to the organization's policies and procedures, helps HR protect worker and company alike. HR also monitors immigration compliance by maintaining an I-9 employment eligibility verification form on each employee.

Employee Relations

Related to HR's risk-management role is a responsibility to foster a safe work environment, which in turn influences culture. HR must promote the organization’s culture through programs that demonstrate employer concern for and appreciation of employees. Employee morale affects turnover, the level of service customers receive and, ultimately, the organization’s success. Engaging employees, providing opportunities for them to develop, and recognizing their contributions help boost retention and attract talented workers.

Training

Training can make or break a hospitality-centered business. From onboarding and orientation of new hires to supervisory skill sessions for managers, training represents a major HR role throughout the industry and a tool for reducing lawsuits. Giving employees opportunities to reach their potential through mentoring and cross-training pays dividends in retention, worker satisfaction and attracting talent.

Staffing

Staffing remains a central role for HR across all industries. In hospitality, recruiting reliable candidates who have customer-service aptitude is crucial. Another hospitality-specific dilemma for HR professionals in hotels and restaurants is distributing the workload among inexperienced and skilled staff. Seasonal business needs that link directly to the organization's capability to deliver a high level of service present some hiring, training and budgeting challenges. HR leadership must anticipate how many people the organization requires, and when. It must use the screening process to ensure all staff members can perform at a level that meets guests' expectations.

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