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“The new generation of employees is also the new generation of customers”

Interview and discussion with Stéphane Carrière, Director of Human Resources at Hôtel Martinez - Cannes, about how the hotel is evolving in order to recruit and retain employees.

How to define a property’s corporate culture

Our hotel is managed by the American company Hyatt, which has more than 120,000 employees. Our raison d'être is: "We care for people so they can be their best". This reflects our strong belief in empathy and benevolence towards people. This extends not just to our customers but also our employees, the local community and our investors.

We want everyone to feel good about coming to work at Hyatt. This is especially relevant in the post-Covid period. There are sector professionals who have left the industry during this period, and we are recruiting more and more young people whose expectations are now different. There are young people from hotel schools who have chosen this industry and know it, but there are also young people to whom we need to show that the hotel industry of the past is not the hotel industry of today. Expectations have changed regarding evolution and mobility.

However, in our sector of activity, establishments are open 24/7. At Hôtel Martinez, we favour 2 consecutive days of rest and try to avoid interrupting that as much as possible.

It is essential to be kind to our colleagues. This kindness is therefore characterised by the attention we pay to the working conditions and the benefits we offer.

More specifically, as far as our hotel is concerned, it is an iconic hotel. Our colleagues take pride in working in this renowned location, especially since it has recently been renovated.

In the low season we have 220 employees, in the high season we have more than 600 employees with 350 seasonal contracts, temporary workers and extras. In the peak season, we also welcome up to 50 trainees and apprentices at the same time.

Evolving employee profiles

The fear we had after Covid was that no one would choose these professions anymore. We see many young people joining us through apprenticeships or internships, there are indeed still some who choose this path. Usually, we have 10 to 12 apprentices in the establishment. This year, we are approaching 20. We are there to welcome them and support them in their training.

There are also young people who have not chosen this path, we meet them in recruitment forums, in tourism schools etc. Some have negative preconceptions, others have had a bad experience and I sometimes manage to convince them that this is a sector where they can blossom. We go and meet them, introduce them to the property and its way of working. We also show them the prospects for development within Hôtel Martinez, as well as in the other Hyatt brands in France and abroad.

I have had employees come to me at the end of the season for advice on their professional future. It is also my role to advise them on job opportunities. There are certain types of jobs that are much more attractive than others. Many young people are attracted to administrative jobs, which are now centralised within the group, whereas we offer many opportunities for operational positions.

These young people have the possibility of gaining experience in several different properties by doing season work and then returning to Hôtel Martinez.

We are now encountering atypical profiles and it is essential to find the right mix. The right balance is to rely on managers who have been with us for a long time to train the new ones. Most of the new managers have been trained in the hotel and restaurant industry and will put into practice what they have learned at school. However, there are also other young recruits who will discover this sector and be trained on the job.

We attach great importance to attitude, which for us outweighs technical qualities. Let's take two profiles as an example: a waiter who carries 8 plates and does not smile. Even if he is qualified, he will not pique our interest. We prefer someone who carries 2 plates and has a smile, an emotional connection with the customer.

There is a real attachment to the hotel. The vast majority of our permanent staff have worked with us for many years, some until they retire. We also have many loyal seasonal workers who have worked up to 10 seasons and are waiting for a permanent contract. As soon as we can offer a permanent contract, it is to them we propose it.

Working conditions that count and tools that have been adapted

Our establishment offers a very pleasant working environment. In addition, we are on a 35-hour week working basis and we account for all overtime. We offer two consecutive days off. Uniforms are of course provided, and this is not insignificant for some of our employees who find themselves wearing a suit for the first time.

To encourage mobility, we can rely on our Hyatt corporate office based in Paris. The majority of the CVs we receive directly are referred to the Talent Acquisition office which is aware of our recruitment needs. If the contact 'matches' at the first interview, then the person is interviewed by a hotel manager for potential recruitment down the line. In addition, all our employees attend a 'Welcome to Martinez' day where we introduce them to the different Hyatt hotels in France and discuss mobility opportunities.

We offer accommodation opportunities for our seasonal staff. Although we try to recruit as much as possible locally, we provide about fifty beds for our seasonal workers. We are in partnership with an establishment that was built by the City of Cannes for seasonal workers. Our seasonal workers thus have a space with a kitchenette at an affordable rate. We also house some trainees free of charge.

We provide spaces for our employees to park their bikes in the hotel or to charge their electric scooters. We have set up a carpooling system and pay 70% of the cost of public transport. We pay a fuel bonus for people who live more than 3 km from the hotel or who are unable to use public transport due to their working hours.

Diversifying recruitment methods

We are present at the various recruitment forums organised locally and our corporate office also ensures a presence at forums across France.

We visit schools together and speak at training centres, campuses, etc. We run Master Classes. We also offer teachers and students the opportunity to visit the hotel.

This year we innovated by organising job dating sessions between 5pm and 8pm at La Plage with the prospect of recruiting for certain positions. Our dress code was adapted: shorts and polo shirt in a relaxed ‘feet in the sand’ setting. This time slot was strategic in order to be able also to attract people that are in work. We did the same for the floor service by organising a recruitment session from 4pm to 7pm. The interviews took place in the lounge of a Prestige Suite.

In this way we try to allow the candidate to visualise their potential future work environment. For the next recruitment session dedicated to kitchen staff, we plan to conduct the interviews at the chef's table.

We also organise joint recruitment operations between different establishments. Last winter we went to M de Megève with the Biarritz Hôtel du Palais (which is a Hyatt hotel) to recruit seasonal workers for the summer period.

From now on, we must do everything we can to find candidates and use social networks.

We are very interested in the personality of candidates in relation to their training background. This does not mean that it is not useful to go to a hotel school. A student who has been to a hotel school is the manager of tomorrow. They will reach this type of position more quickly than someone who does not have this initial training.

A message for the younger generation

You have to dare 'Le Martinez'. People often think that if you haven't been to a hotel school, there's no point in applying. We want to change this image by emphasising on the fact that there is room for everyone. We have room for a maître d'hôtel who knows how to cut fish perfectly, just like we also have room for a smiling and curious science graduate.

Our slogan is: "We accommodate stars and recruit personalities".

A message to industry peers

Complementarity is an asset for recruiting. Especially in destinations where seasonality plays a key role. It is interesting to find synergies between mountain and coastal establishments, for example.

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