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Accor’s Heartist Culture

In our special Hospitality ON issue on hospitality management schools and trainings, we focused on hotel groups' human resources programs. Here we unveil Accor's Heartist Culture, the DNA of Accor.

Under Sebastien Bazin’s stewardship, everything we do at Accor is from the heart and we ensure everyone feels welcome. Hospitality is an industry that has always been focused on taking care of others and our team members at Accor deeply understand this, enabling them to be experts at building unforgettable experiences with human connections and real emotions. Heartist®, derived from both the Heart that we put into everything we do also the Artistry our people have for the industry, describes both Accor’s culture and embodies who we are.

Hospitality is fundamentally about people and our Group’s success relies on our people delivering the best interpersonal welcome, service and care for our guests. We recognize each person’s unique value and the talent, passion and dedication they bring to our Group. This allows our team to bring to life the unique moments and experiences for our guests that make hospitality so special. We naturally place people at the heart of all we do and we value our teams as the Group’s greatest asset.

Our experience is accordingly driven by four pillars: Be ALL you are, Work with purpose, Grow, learn and enjoy and Explore limitless possibilities.

Our values are our common ground. When you go beyond words, to the core principles we live by, to what makes our heart beat, to what these values look like when put into practice, you then reach the meaning of Heartist®. “Heartist®” describes both our culture and who we are.

Our Heartist® culture focuses on supporting our talents by creating positive opportunities and providing access to jobs and training to empower development. At Accor, our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is to “Be Limitless: Do what you love, Care for the world, Dare to challenge the status quo!”. The EVP embodies the commitment to our team members. It aims to attract and retain the best talent while showcasing what it means to work at Accor. This promise brings a new framework to our organisation and enriches programs that already existed within our Group, building on our fundamentals and bringing together what we have already been doing for several years.

Our EVP rests on the four key pillars:

Be ALL you are

As Heartists®, we foster an inclusive company culture that encourages autonomy and empowers our team members to grow. We are deeply committed to diversity and inclusion, welcoming employees from different cultures and backgrounds, providing equal opportunities and actively encouraging employees to bring their own personality, history, culture and religion to the team. At Accor, we truly believe that the world is more welcoming when we are connected so that we see what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart. As Heartists®, we care for the world and want to make it a better place, by embracing our differences and connecting heart to heart with people.

Our focus on an open and inclusive culture means that we have a strong diversity balance across our entire group. 43% of our team members are women and 51% are under the age of 35. Fully committed to enhancing this further, we recently launched the RiiSE gender diversity network. This initiative is committed to eliminating discrimination and harassment, and empowering women within our group. 26,000 team members across 100 countries are a part of this initiative, 50% of whom are men, which is essential to ensure progress.

Work with purpose

Caring for the world around us is another issue close to our hearts. Through environmental and societal engagement, hospitality can have a positive and sustainable impact both globally and locally. We provide the opportunity for each of our team members to show their personal commitment to the causes important to them by participating in some of our environmental and societal initiatives. This enables them to feel fulfilled and to work with purpose.

Accor Solidarity, the Accor endowment fund, was created in 2008 to help fight the economic and social exclusion of people at risk of poverty, and improve their employability. The fund financially supports local projects which work with vulnerable people in countries where Accor is established. Today, Accor Solidarity has supported more than 420 projects with 20,000 Heartists in 50 countries. In Paris this year, Accor Solidarity will support the “Coup de Pouce au Féminin” workshops organised by La Cravate Solidaire, a Paris-based association that collects and donates professional clothing and organizes job interview workshops. These workshops have already boosted the confidence of 60 women on the path to employment by supporting them at an individual level. In Spain, the REIR association and its “Youth Guidance Service 2.0” initiative, which aims to help 100 young people struggling to improve their employability, will be supported financially by Accor Solidarity. Employees at ibis hotels in Montmello, Barcelona, have worked with the association since 2016 to provide mentoring to young people looking to find lasting employment.

Grow, learn, and enjoy

Another part of our EVP encourages employees to do what they love. By empowering employees to grow and providing them with exciting opportunities, we aim to help them forge a fulfilling and enjoyable career. We place the continuous development of talent at the centre of our priorities and offer a culture of learning and the opportunity for everyone to build new skills and develop their expertise. Through training and tailored ambitious career plans, we support our employees to grow both personally and professionally. We believe that by challenging what we can do and who we can be, we can shape our own future.

We have created many initiatives and programmes to support the development of our teams. The Accor Academy headed by Craig Cochrane is one example of this. A pioneer in internal training and teaching created over 30 years ago, our Academy continues to innovate with a wide range of learning opportunities. It consists of a strong international network, with eight regional academies around the world, and it has over 900 certified trainers and over 250 training modules available. Benefitting from partnerships across the industry and collaborations with schools, institutions and other professionals, such as Cornell University, Institut Paul Bocuse, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Glion Institute of Higher Education and Ecole Ferrandi Paris, our Academy ensures that the greatest opportunities are available to every employee. Since 2018, 576 000 employees have participated in training programmes, representing 93% of total workforce.

Explore limitless possibilities

The fourth pillar of our EVP encourages our team members to challenge both the status quo and themselves by exploring new possibilities and opportunities. We believe that helping people to be the best and happiest they can be is important. The Group has one of the industry’s most diverse and fully integrated hospitality ecosystems, encompassing an unrivalled portfolio of more than 40 hotel brands. Through our rich and varied universe of hospitality services, we provide unique opportunities to our team members who would like to discover something new and take on new challenges.

We have introduced several initiatives to inspire and encourage our team members. For example, our Global Leadership programs are experiential and blended learning journeys which help our leaders gain self-awareness and guide their teams in an inclusive and human centered manner. We also have an INSPIRE programme aimed at attracting and engaging graduates. This programme is committed to providing young people the best footing to start their hospitality career journey. Improving diversity in the industry while also inspiring the next generation to enter hospitality is very important to us. This is why we also focus heavily on facilitating internships and recruiting young people, which is also helping us to fulfil our societal role.


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