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We interviewed Vikram Sharma, the Director of Human Resources at Marriott International on March 27th, 2021, where he introduced us to the major challenges that the hospitality industry had to tackle. The major one was being the worst hit by the pandemic, and how the industry had to revamp its strategies to bounce back.
This self-motivated and vibrant leader started his career in Hospitality after graduating from The Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Mumbai and lucratively completing a prestigious degree of Masters in leadership from XLRI, Jamshedpur. Vikram’s career journey started from working at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts to now being associated with Marriott International.
Let us walk you through some of the important insights from our interview with Vikram:
#1 Hospitality industry is driven more by emotions
Vikram shares that the simplest way to distinguish the hospitality industry from the tech industry is that tech is driven by data and hospitality by emotions. People in this industry need to work with a lot of guidelines. There are processes in place, but ultimately, the goal is to satisfy guests. and organizations in this industry consider their employees to be equivalent to their guests, and they call them the internal guests.
Seeing his friends working in different industries( FMCG, technology, banking and more), he realizes that every industry has its own norms. However, he explains how the hospitality industry demands a lot of collaboration between the teams. He does not negate the fact that it’s not relevant in other industries. But, in hospitality, it is certainly a notch up.
#2 Patience is one skill that is required at the workplace post-pandemic
Vikram shares that through an HR leader’s perspective, he has learned the significance of being patient over the years. With tech grabbing its place in almost all industries, workspaces have started moving faster. Patience is one competency that will be required to deal with the younger generation.
He also added that the industries are constantly changing. There is a remarkable change in the way things were operating a decade back and the way we operate now. While the basics have still managed to remain intact, the way we do things has certainly changed. Hence, industries should be open to that change, and probably, that is the reason they are now open to do things digitally.
#3 Virtual training is the new way
Vikram mentions that the whole idea is that all training, which was done in person, has been shifted to virtual platforms. This has increased participation as it requires no travel and is extremely convenient for people. for the person. So the core training programmes have moved on to a virtual platform. That’s a very significant change that he observed in the training field.
To cover his second point, he highlighted a comparison between the virtual training calls that took place in April 2020 with the ones that take place now.. Previously they had to repeatedly request people to switch on the cameras and interact. Nowadays, people are much more comfortable switching their cameras on and being a part of it.
Virtual platforms for hospitality have changed from a process perspective. However, their workflow still cannot work from home because guests still need to be checked in to the hotel, food is still required to be cooked and served to them, etc.
#4 Millenials need to adapt as per Gen Z
Vikram is more interested to see how millennials will be adapting to a Gen Z approach. According to him, this approach will make a change in their workplace. Hence, the culture needs to adapt to Gen Z instead of Gen Z adapting to the culture. He admits that he is just trying to turn the tables around.
Gen Z possesses a unique point of view regarding everything they come across. Being born and brought up amidst the era of technological advancements, they are always updated about the latest information.
However, employers often fail to consider Gen Z’s ideas and opinions because of their less experience. However, the same could help the organization excel in the long run and probably stay at the competitive edge. This thing combined with their high levels of enthusiasm gives them an ample opportunity to come up with out of the box solutions to various problems.
Thus Vikram asks everyone to encourage employees belonging to Generation Z. They should be allowed speak out their minds and their views should be acknowledged with a positive note.
Follow Vikram Sharma on LinkedIn