About talent, education, and the recruitment methodology: Rotana’s Joseph Abou Yaghi

About talent, education, and the recruitment methodology: Rotana’s Joseph Abou Yaghi

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HN spoke to Joseph Abou Yaghi, corporate vice president human resources at Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC and discussed with him the company’s recruitment strategy, the perks of joining the Rotana family, and the challenges faced.

Are you recruiting? If no, how come. If yes, what positions are you looking to fill?

With Rotana’s global expansion plans and the ongoing addition of new hotels to our portfolio, we are continually sourcing Talent from all over the world, whether in entry-level, supervisory or managerial roles. Our approach is to primarily develop our current workforce and to offer exciting opportunities to our existing colleagues. Hence, our recruitment targets those vacancies created by people who got promoted and still building rewarding careers with Rotana. When internal Talent is not ready to take over some job roles, external candidates are sought and welcomed to our team. We also create numerous employment opportunities in new markets thus engaging the local manpower and communities.

What kind of methodology/process do you follow and are there any general characteristics that you look for irrespective of position and what specifically are the qualities that rank highest in a candidate?

Given the nature of our business, it is essential to recruit the ‘right’ people for each job. Obviously, we expect the ideal candidate to have the right qualifications, technical skills, knowledge and experience for the job. However, it is also vitally important to determine if their competencies match the Rotana Competencies framework that we have established for different levels of employees in our company. In addition to these competencies, we also consider if the candidate ‘fits’ the role in terms of their likely ability to get on with other colleagues with different personalities and cultures and to work well with their manager. The ‘fit’ also include the alignment with Rotana’s values. If the candidate has the ‘right’ competencies and fit, then the development we provide as an employer will be a sound investment, leading to their professional success.

How important is experience as opposed to education?

The topic of education versus experience is always debatable. It would be ideal to have them both in the same equation, rather than having to choose one over the other. They complement each other and are both essential to propel a career in our industry to higher levels of achievement.

What are the perks of working for a hotel like yours?

Our Employee Value Proposition at Rotana is best summarized by the promises that we make to our employees when they first join our team. We treasure their time and we make sure that the time they spend with us is valuable for their careers. From offering stretching job roles to competitive packages, to fast-paced careers and development opportunities, we ensure that every aspect of their employee experience reflects our commitment to fulfill the ‘Treasured Time’ promise to them.

Do you have or offer any learning and development programs/courses or any kind of schooling to your employees?

One of the ways to ensure future sustainability is to develop our pipeline of talent. We strongly believe that investing in our colleagues is crucial to the success of our business. From the first day they join us, we offer them with a wide range of Training programs to develop their potential. Rotana’s rich Training portfolio includes various development programs that cover hospitality-related and managerial topics for different employee levels. We have also partnered with international Human Resources consultancies to work on Executive development in order to address the increasing demand of leadership in our company.

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How are you making the hospitality profession interesting to new/existing recruits?

The next generation of hoteliers expect employers to offer challenging work and growth opportunities, timely feedback on performance, access to information and technology, rapid promotions, competitive packages and engaging learning tools. Rotana developed ‘The Accelerated Refinement Of Talent’ (TAROT Programme), an 18-month fast-track scheme targeting fresh graduates and high potential Rotana employees. Furthermore, Rotana launched the ‘Duroob’ Programme to nurture the GCC nationals’ Talent. Both these programs align with the young generation’s aspirations to build long-terms careers in hospitality.

What are the challenges faced and how are you dealing with these?

The Hospitality industry is not immune to the global economic downturn. Investors are challenged with lower revenues vs rising cost of labor and materials. It is as well one of the industries with the highest employee turnover rates. Keeping our employees engaged has become a strategic priority for us at Rotana to deal with such challenge. An engaged workforce is more productive, contributes to bottom-line performance and enhances our competitive edge.

What are the qualifications/qualities you look for in new recruits and what advice can you give would-be candidates trying to break into the industry?

The right hospitality mindset, attitude and passion remain the basic ingredients if you want to succeed in the industry. In today’s complex and volatile business landscape, the best advice is to always seek to upskill yourself and learn new things. Our industry is evolving with numerous breakthroughs in technology and new services. What you know does not matter nearly as much as your ability to learn new things and apply them to new scenarios and environments.

What channels do you use when recruiting universities, social media, head hunters, internally?

At Rotana, our central recruitment avenue is our career website www.rotanacareers.com. We do use other channels like specialized recruitment consultants, hospitality colleges, and career fairs.

How can someone looking for a hospitality job better promote him/herself to you so as to become more visible?

Create a professional resume that highlights the person’ USPs. Build a complete profile on our careers website: www.rotanacareers.com. Visit us in career fairs and exhibitions where we get to connect and discuss future career opportunities with Rotana. Keep up-to-date with our company information. We love when candidates are knowledgeable about Rotana and show passion to join our team.

What, in the near future, will be some of the most sought-after positions in the market(s) you currently operate in for the hospitality industry?

Demand continues to rise to positions in Sales, Revenue Management, Culinary Chefs, E-commerce.

Lastly, do you envision the emergence of any new hospitality positions in the near future that currently do not exist today?

Our industry always embraces trends and innovative concepts. Tomorrow’s hospitality will see the emergence of roles related to the digital hotel experience like Virtual Reality experts. Moreover, data analysis is now the solution, not the product. More companies will go through the process of “datafying” their HR outputs to get 2-3x better results in quality of hire, leadership pipelines, performance management, labor costs and colleague turnover. Data analysts will give companies the opportunity to make science-based decisions in the future.

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