Hospitality professionals and representatives of the major hotel schools are reexamining the metamorphosis of teaching methods, continuing education, the development of professional skills, top female management and the characteristics of the Millennial generation. The professional world and the world of education have agreed upon the importance of adapting to technological and societal changes for the benefit of the evolution of our professions.
- How are teaching methods and techniques adapted to changes in the hotel industry?
Michel Rochat, EHL Group: "Allow me to draw a portrait of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne because the evolution of teaching is linked to the context. The Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne is a university dedicated to hotel management. It has nearly 3,000 students and 140 nationalities. Within its campus it has a space dedicated to innovation and start-ups. And to answer your question: it is a whole, an ecosystem. This means there is a coherence between what you teach your students and the way you manage your institution. We teach them openness, sharing and communication, so our school has open spaces. No walls, no stairs, no alcoves. The fundamental aspect is to put the challenges of the development of the industry into everyday teaching. This is done through research, faculty publications and start-ups. Its elements are then discussed with the students with two issues. The first is to adapt the skills of a faculty to be able to analyze its elements, share them with students and make them want to invest in its future challenges. The first is to adapt the ability of a faculty member to analyze its elements, share them with students and make them want to invest in these future challenges. The second is digital. Our students always say: in digital, we are alone but together. In a profession like ours, we must interact. The essential thing is to meet the demand for digital because it exists, but not to sacrifice group work and mutualisation. It is in this balance that we find the work and challenges of tomorrow."
- At Sommet Education, what changes have you incorporated to embrace these revolutions?
Benoît-Etienne Domenget, Sommet Education: "If we talk about the Millennial generation, there are some elements that stand out: they are multitaskers, they were born after 1995 and with digital their brain has gradually got used to not being focused on one subject, but several at once. We cannot offer them a classic approach. They demand customization and that is probably our difference with Michel Rochat. We have old buildings, we have walls and thanks to that, we make a very personalized approach. We believe in the personalization of teaching. We believe in small classes to meet these needs. The last, perhaps most important, point is that this generation seems to soft skills. In our business, know-how is absolutely essential. But there is a whole range of soft skills that lie at the heart of our educational model and that respond to the needs of this new generation that is in search of meaning, in search of elements that will make them relevant for tomorrow's industry. We have integrated these elements. This is the reverse class. How do we do more case studies? How can we put them more in contact with the industry on a daily basis? More and more people come to talk and share their experiences. How will we use digital to transmit know-how more than soft skills?"
- Elements to share concerning soft skills?
Evelyne Chabrot, United Coaching: "It starts with recruitment. What kind of person do we choose? Do we choose personalities or people who bring technical skills? Or do we pick people who have both? Now, that's ideal! That said, who could be the ideal employee? The ideal employee does not exist. They only become ideal when they have been trained. They come with skills, whether operational or behavioral, and then an investment needs to be made in terms of soft skills. What is important is to have a personality in front of you when you are a client. What is important is to have an intention, a gaze, a sensitivity, that will make all the difference. We need this in our companies because it's what the customer is looking for. Someone who is at your service The work is great. There are so many possibilities. It's so varied. It's a joy to be in contact with people, as long as you love people. But loving people isn't that easy. You can love them but be afraid of them. And I think what's important is to break down all these little barriers so that everyone can give their best."
- How do you make this idea of welcome, of proactivity, of smiling become a part of Hilton?
Jocham-Jan Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "First of all, we rely on the two gentlemen here [Michel Rochat and Benoît-Etienne Domenget] to give us students. But once they're with us, we'll help them grow. We do this in different ways. The first is our university: Hilton University. We have 2,500 courses available and last year we dispensed 5 million hours of lessons. Young people really want to study and learn. The second thing is our partnership with an organization that helps us establish a better work-life balance and ensures that everyone's performance is at its best."
- What do you think of continuing education and development of the skills of hotel professionals?
B. E. Domenget, Education Sommet: "When you are hoteliers and when you are in a group like Hilton or like so many others, you work from 1 star to 5 stars. You work in franchising, management and ownership. You work on multiple destinations. You need to work on distribution, marketing and the key skills of the men and women who deliver services daily. I think that continuing education is an essential subject in everyone's life, but for hotel groups, it is a core concern and not a core business. How is a core concern treated? Is it treated alone or accompanied? I wonder about the future of these corporate universities: should they be the same as they are today? Are they able to bring content through new technologies? This is a question, not a judgment of their worth. I believe that our institutions have the long-term capacity to support hotel groups in this life-long learning. Not in a report: we will do everything for you and everything will be wonderful. But: let's work together on how our former students will be able to train throughout their lives?"
- How to make women in top management climb?
E. Chabrot, United Coaching: "I am not a feminist. I love balance and mix. But I think women are a little behind. I looked at a study, and in France only 14% of women hold a management position. Around 35% hold positions of responsibility. I'm not talking about the pay! Do you know what the gap is between your remuneration and the remuneration of your counterparts? 20 %. To achieve equal pay, we would have to wait 170 years. Maybe I'll try to give you some leads. Women play Sleeping Beauty. We wait for these gentlemen to pick us up, choose us, to get a promotion or that famous salary increase. We say to ourselves that we will work hard, that we will be recognized, that meritocracy will be there, but no! Because a gentleman passes us, saying he can do it, even if he doesn't know how. The important thing is that we must get out of this pattern. You have to show yourself and join networks. Join the networks of your schools, profession and hobbies. Got out! What will help you is is you are talked about outside your company and you will see, you will be looked at differently."
J. J. Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "We really started pushing our female colleagues to go faster. Last year there was the Women in Leadership Conference. We invited women and explained to them all the means they have available to continue to learn and evolve. As a society, we must change. We can no longer make the same requests about the people who work for us. We have to adapt. I set a goal this year to find a part-time General Manager. A woman. Or rather two. Two who will manage a hotel. If we don't push as hard as we can, we'll never make it. Currently, we have 40% women. We're really trying to get 50/50. The other thing we're trying to do is not to start interviews without equity: two CVs from women and two from men."
- So you do a little positive discrimination?
J. J. Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "50/50, I don't think that's discrimination. As our Vice President of Human Resources said: we've been thinking about men for 2,000 years, it's time to think a little about women."
- How can generations live together?
M. Rochat, EHL Group: "Intergenerational work calls for sharing values. If you have the same values, the same interests and the same passion, it is much easier to come together. Our alumni network consists of 25,000 people around the world who meet once a month. I am always amazed at their ability to share and help each other. Young people bring a different perspective to the older ones. The older ones share their address books with the younger ones. And things happen fully automatically. I must say that the generation of students we have today, between the ages of 18 and 25, are young women and young men who are absolutely wonderful. They have values. If we can find and enrich these values, it is something they willingly share. I would end by saying one thing: the exchange between generations is based on reciprocity. Things are exchanged based on a common value. When these conditions come together they can produce extremely surprising added value."
J. J. Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "We started very actively to do reverse mentoring. Some of my colleagues found it very hard." In reverse mentoring it is the millennials who coach more experienced employees on subjects such as social networks or the expectations and practices of millennial clientele."
E. Chabrot, United Coaching: "In the years to come, four generations will be working together. In three to four years, 5 million people will retire and 6 million young people will be integrated into working life. Having these four generations together means that there will be some difficulties. The key to all this? It's how you, as a manager, want to make them live together. It is obvious that mentoring is one of the solutions. The only thing is that the aspirations of some and are not the same as those of others. When you talk about the last generations, what they want is security. It was full employment when they started and they want to keep it up. There are two points that interest them: promotion and money. And then there are young people who want autonomy and less and less hierarchy, except that hierarchy does not always understand this. The key is how will the manager organize his Dream Team? What does it mean to organize your team? It is to have mixity, and from this mixity to work on the goal to reach. Meaning is essential for young people. So what is the meaning we have at work that will allow us to go as far as possible? Always with a little fun because you shouldn’t always take yourself seriously, and from there, things evolve better and better."
B. E. Domenget, Education Sommet: "A remark, a question for the assembly. I don't have the answer, but I'm sure we have to ask it. It is the evaluation of the collaborators. When you see how these famous millennials work, do you think that in three years, in five years, in ten years, evaluation methods will be the same as today? The answer, in my opinion, is absolutely not. Are you ready to abolish the annual evaluation interview? Some companies have started to do so, not necessarily unsuccessfully. But nonetheless it is destabilizing for the manager and some employees. Perhaps we would feel more valued through this annual ritual. But does it speak to this new generation? I don't have the answer. On the other hand, I'm sure we need to ask it. I bet these paradigms are at the end of their lives and that they must be replaced. All I can offer you is my thoughts."
J. J. Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "I totally agree with you. We stopped our annual evaluations. It's still done for older employees, but for the younger ones, we have ongoing evaluation."
M. Rochat, EHL Group: "The way students are assessed today is through an obstacle, which is the exam. This examination, in most institutions, can account for up to 30% of a faculty member's time. The challenge is to return this 30% to teaching, to improve students' skills and find other ways to assess or validate the semesters. I don't have all the answers, but we're working on them. The world of education and the professional world of evaluation are fully synchronized. I think there's a lot we could learn from one another."
- What proportion of your graduates work in the hotel business?
M. Rochat, EHL Group: "For the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, it is special because the school is in the field of hospitality management, which means more than the hotel business. In the pure hotel business, it's about 30% to 35% and that figure is stable over the last fifty years. About 30% of students are in hospitality and 25 to 30% are in other fields. I take this opportunity to say that I am extremely satisfied with this openness. Why? Because we export the fundamental values of the hotel and hospitality industry in other trades. These students will be sensitized to favour partners in the hotel and tourism industry who share the same genetics. I would end by giving an example because it seems that this phenomenon only occurs in the hotel industry. But today, how many engineers do you have in banks? This is something new and this professional permeability, this new navigability, encourages the sharing of skills and the evolution of our profession.
B. E. Domenget, Sommet Education: "For the two schools, Glion and Les Roches, the figures are a little bit different. 100% work in hospitality and in a profession that is directly linked to the service relationship. Today, we have 60% of our students working in hotels and restaurants and 40% in other sectors. Thirty years ago, it was still a niche market; now, it is a veritable kennel. Today, one in ten jobs are created in this industry. Personally, that's enough for me. I consider that to do your job well, you have to do your job well for the industry for which you provide a service. That means all those that adopt the codes of hospitality. These are luxury businesses that are in direct contact with customers; businesses where the core of their promises is valorizing this interaction.
J. J. Sleiffer, Hilton Worldwide: "We are disappointed not to have more students coming from schools. In my opinion, we have to work much harder to ensure that young people want to work with us and that they do not leave elsewhere. We are looking for students in other schools, not just hotel schools. Young people need to understand that working in a hotel or restaurant is not a student job but a real career.
B. E. Domenget, Sommet Education: "I will allow myself to pick up on what you said, which touches on a rather essential subject and I think we are all stakeholders in this room. We hear all too often about the hotel business with a vocabulary that is no longer adapted. We hear: it's hard, it's 24/7, it's tiring, it's so difficult to take care of customers. This discourse is extremely harmful because it keeps some students away from these trades. On the contrary, they have much better to offer than this old clichés. We offer this industry a service: to promote the best and not to convey these old clichés."
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