Need of the hour: Master of all trades

At BW HOTELIER's latest webBlast series, The GM Show, on the subject, Redefining Existing Roles - Specialist to Multi-Tasking, hospitality industry experts opined that hotel associates should be able to don many hats

Of the many learnings but perhaps the most important one that we have learnt from the period of the pandemic has been turning into multi-taskers. And this was not limited to our homes alone. It percolated down to the professional lives too. One of the most resilient sectors to have successfully battled this challenging period, hotel industry is now on a recovery mode and getting stronger with each passing day. And it too witnessed people turning into multi-taskers.  

Experts from the hotel industry opine that it is imperative to look towards future and be flexible with the job profiles. To get an in-depth understanding of how the roles of hotel employees have transformed or enhanced, BW HOTELIER brought together industry professionals to discuss on the topic, Redefining Existing Roles - Specialist to Multi-Tasking at its latest webBlast series, The GM Show. The panel witnessed participation of Vijay Wanchoo, Sr Executive VP & GM, The Imperial, New Delhi; Meena Bhatia, VP & GM, Le Meridien New Delhi; Vineet Mishra, Complex GM, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity; Rohit Arora, Area GM, The Park New Delhi; Anupam Das Gupta, GM, The Leela Palace New Delhi; Nayan Seth, GM, Taj Palace New Delhi and Benita Sharma, Area Manager - North, & GM, ITC Maurya, New Delhi who also acted as the moderator for the session.

“We need to create a new generation of hoteliers who are masters of all trades and can be used as multi-skill associates. One they have mastered the skills, they will be more versatile, flexible and future ready to become the good leaders for the industry,” shared Meena Bhatia, VP & GM, Le Meridien New Delhi, adding that organisations do not want employees with a single set of talent now. Agreeing with her, Anupam Das Gupta, GM, The Leela Palace New Delhi, said, “We can create better leaders and coaches through multi-tasking which needs to be engrained across the value chain.” He further pointed out that it will help employees to develop and retain their career by self-actualising through multiple roles and also as an advantage towards cost-rationalisation for the organisation.

While the hospitality schools are exposing students to all the functions of a hotel, Nayan Seth, GM, Taj Palace New Delhi, felt that there is an urgent need to modify the curriculum where they are not guided towards particular departments but are prepared to be cut out for two to four departments. “Creating multi-taskers for parallel service exists at IHCL. We have more than enough examples where a person began his career with a department and moved to different ones later.”

Steering the discussion ahead, Vineet Mishra, Complex GM, Pullman & Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, was asked if there has been a shift from ‘specialists to multi-task specialists’ to which he replied that the last 18 months have taught the industry to work on limited resources and manpower. “It was when we realised that people can do a lot of other things too,” he said. Mishra cited the example of a gym trainer helping out in the housekeeping department or security personnel assisting at the back of the house. He further shared that he encouraged associates to shift departments. “It is the point of our mind-set and we need to broaden our horizon. We need to take more chance and putting trust into people for being successful,” he put in.

The need of the hour is to have people wear many caps, opined Rohit Arora, Area GM, The Park New Delhi. “Our younger associates are smarter and have much more knowledge,” he said, adding that at The Park New Delhi, he has created teams that comprise associates from different departments of the hotel. “Apart from their job roles, they are taking care of digital marketing,” Arora shared.

Listing a few challenges that arrived with multi-tasking, Vijay Wanchoo, Sr Executive VP & GM, The Imperial, New Delhi, shared that it was difficult to keep the associates motivated under such uncertain times. “Understanding customer profile is important and in the last few months, we have been getting different set of customers than what we are used to. The challenge is to change the mind-set of the staff to handle this new profile,” he said. Wanchoo added that controlling costs is yet another challenge to get used to by the staff.

Voicing her thoughts on the subject, Benita Sharma, Area Manager - North, & GM, ITC Maurya, New Delhi pointed out that there are cultural issues which need delicate handling. She gave the example of a chef feeling uncomfortable to wash dishes or a hair-dresser not too happy doing pedicure for a customer during the pandemic period at the hotel. “Now this comes from a deep-rooted bringing up,” she said. The biggest challenge for the industry at that time, added Sharma, was the delivery of safety with no loss of the count of smiles hidden behind the masks. “We kept the cultural barriers in mind, identified key players, delegated action, set realistic goals and monitored progress to give motivational rewards. One of the biggest things was functional prejudices that were discouraged,” she put in. 

At the end, the host of the show, Bhuvanesh Raj Khanna, CEO, BW Commuities, thanked the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informed one and all that the next GM Show will be at 5 pm Thursday, November 18, 2021, on Missing the Big Fat Indian Wedding.


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