Hospitality ON Event - Awards

Worldwide Hospitality Awards

Thursday 09 November 2023 à 18:00

En cours - Best Innovation in an Educational Programme

Hotelschool The Hague

Campaign - The HRM Learning Community

The HRM Learning Community brings knowledge to the next level by creating a space with all stakeholders for sharing crucial conversations about HRM in the hospitality field.

The HRM Learning Community,
not ‘just another networking community’

The reason

Hotelschool The Hague strives to evolve along with current trends; the school is continuously reinventing itself to meet the needs of the students and the industry. In order to meet those needs, Hotelschool The Hague initiated the transition towards a design-oriented and research-informed curriculum in hospitality management last year. Learning Communities are being developed as part of this transition, with the intention to facilitate the faculty to build and deepen their field of expertise based on research conducted in their own communities. The research activities support the understanding and anticipation of trends and developments, which will affect the industry’s ecosystem. These Learning Communities create a channel to feed research findings into the educational programmes, but also to organise input from the faculty, industry, students and alumni.

The concept of ‘Learning Communities’ is not new. However, the novelty here is to share the research findings from the Learning Communities with all stakeholders. Learning Communities applied in this manner facilitate faculty development, competence development, and result in a more advanced career path.
The ultimate objective of Learning Communities is to develop and implement a connected curriculum: findings, solutions and designs for problems and challenges in the hospitality industry and society will be fed back into courses in all curricula, thus triggering new research and becoming a thought leader in key areas for the evolution of the hospitality industry. This connectedness will establish a research informed cyclical process of innovative solutions, insights, approaches and models that can be shared with industry and society.

Human resources management is currently one of the most challenging subjects in the hospitality sector. Employee turnover within hospitality is exceptionally high due to unrealistic job expectations, uncompetitive salaries, demanding work and irregular hours. On the other hand, the hospitality industry sees an increasing lack of skills with new employees needed in the industry: there is a long-existing disconnection between stakeholders on the HR side of hospitality, and Hotelschool The Hague has taken up the challenge to tackle the issue by launching the HRM Learning Community last year. This was the first Learning Community at Hotelschool The Hague that was launched as part of its transition towards a design oriented and research informed
curriculum in hospitality management. And yes, Learning Communities can be challenging, exiting and inspiring.

The concept
The HRM Learning Community is a co-creative community involving students, alumni, industry partners, lecturers and researchers promoting a shared understanding of Human Resources Management. It centres around quarterly receptions held in partner hotels where an established academic and experienced practitioner raises awareness over important subjects to be discussed within the community. HR Analytics, Digital Transformation, Sustainable HRM and Female Leadership are a few examples of the subjects discussed. The innovative aspect is that it breaks the traditional pedagogical mentality, by including all stakeholders rather than adopting a traditional classroom style which primarily centres on an interaction between a lecturer and students. The initiative is replicable if all stakeholders are mobilised and inspired to build and maintain such tool.
The identification of the disconnection between stakeholders within the hospitality sector was translated into the redefinition of the traditional educational approach: from a classroom activity purely between a lecturer and some students, to an interactive community where education is developed from the shared thoughts and ideas developed between various stakeholders.

The initial results
The HRM Learning Community started as a coffee meeting with three students, it is now a regular meeting involving around 50 interested students, in addition to over ten industry partners and several faculty members. Sometimes, there are even more people who want to join than can fit into the room available. The quarterly events have continuously been evaluated for improvement purposes, with feedback from the multiple stakeholders involved. Keeping a fresh and direct line of communication and co-creation between all stakeholders is the most effective tool to maintain an understanding of current trends. In this sense, the HRM Learning Community delivers significant value to all parties involved.
The HRM Learning Community has proven to be an appreciated tool within the alumni and hospitality industry, as it provides the opportunity to have a direct line of communication with potential future employees. For Emma Groenendijk, HR Coordinator at the Vincent Hotel Group ' the HRM Learning Community offers great opportunities to exchange viewpoints HR professionals
but also to transmit the needs of the industry to the other guests such as students and lecturers. We provide them with direct insights of trends, thus we are sure students are taught the up to date content.’’

To name an example of tangible successful results, Accor Benelux Talent & Culture developed a project related to Virtual Reality, based on the input collected during one of the quarterly events of the HRM Learning Community: Students expressed their concerns related to choosing the correct previous steps to becoming a hotel General Manager. Accor Benelux Talent & Culture, present during the event, further reflected on how to best visualise such a journey. Inspired by the discussed topic ‘digital transformation’ in the classroom, Accor Benelux Talent & Culture and the faculty joined forces to develop a programme that enabled students to visually walk through their career journey, following the different paths they could identify as options that might lead them to becoming a General Manager. The Learning Community is also a direct channel to provide students with a clear understanding on what to expect concerning HR. Ms Robin van Aken, HR Coordinator of Hilton The Hague mentions that “I believe the HRM Learning Community is very valuable, especially when it comes down to promoting HR among students. The drinks and lunches really give them the opportunity to ask any question they have regarding the topic and I believe it gives them a fair view of what HR entails (both positive and negative).” Ms Daniela Almgard, Hotelschool The Hague alumna and current recruiter at the school emphasises the importance of this Learning Community and its role in her professional life: “I have always been interested in human resources, but found it challenging to find available stakeholders to talk to and share ideas as well as knowledge outside my current organisation. The HRM Learning Community is a very supportive environment and played a crucial role in finding the right direction. As a recruiter for the school, the Learning Community keeps me up to date concerning current trends from the different perspective, that I can transmit to prospect students afterwards.’’
For students, the Learning Community is a successful tool that facilitates personal development, playing a significant role in developing a clear understanding, interest and passion for HR. “The HRM Learning Community and its events give insight into the world of HR and the current trends in companies and the workforce. I know that these events have inspired many students to do an internship in HR and even start a career in this field. I hope these events will continue long after I graduate, as they are the connection between HR theory and real-life HR world, and most of all they are fun!” comments Ms Anna van Buuren, Student at Hotelschool The Hague. Ms Katarina Kahu, also student at Hotelschool The Hague on the other hand finds that “most importantly, it made me more confident in my own passion for HR and had a great impact in leading me to following a master’s in human resource studies. Having a strong base in hospitality management from Hotelschool The Hague, I hope to be able to put my HR knowledge to use within the hospitality industry following my studies.”

The faculty greatly benefits from the tool too, as it represents a direct access to the industry needs, this way, the faculty remains continuously up to date, and can offer the students up to date content: “The HRM Learning Community started as a one lecturer initiative. Simply discussing

industry relevant HRM trends and research directly with industry, faculty and students. The amazing part is that this remains the driver for everyone’s participation; inspiration, sharing and caring. A cocktail of ingredients that drives everyone involved to contribute to each quarterly theme. The output of these sessions is different every time, but never fails to inspire and stay up to date!” said Mr Rolf van der Veer, Head of the Faculty Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Hotelschool The Hague. Mr Huub Ruël, Professor of Global Talent Management Innovations
in the international hospitality industry at Hotelschool The Hague says on the other hand that “the HRM Learning Community is a unique meeting opportunity due to its informal characteristics, for students, faculty, industry to meet, exchange ideas and to get informed about what is going on industry, in HR teaching and research and about what students as young professionals are interested in. And on top of that, there are always great key note guests from industry and academia to provoke a healthy and lively debate on specific hot topics. Students as well present their findings from research projects and in this way inspire co-students, faculty and industry. The HRM Learning Community is a form of the future of learning experience”.

The HRM Learning Community is not ‘just another networking community’; it brings knowledge to the next level by creating a space for sharing conversations, co-creating inspirational thoughts, and become a thought leader in the field, which can only be possible when main stakeholders are brought together. For Hotelschool The Hague, it is a tool to become an educational community which is shaping the global hospitality industry and endeavours to have a positive impact on society.


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