fifty percent gone

Almost half of the intensive care unit nurses are thinking about quitting. How could they not? They’ve had to endure immense pressure during the past couple of years.

Throughout the entire labor market though, the number of people thinking about quitting their job during the first year of employment is the same, almost half. Reason why? Mismatch in expectations.

A moment that’s typically well-suited to re-establish job-fit is when the context of the job changes due to a pandemic, for instance. To avoid the old; wait a minute, this is not what I’ve signed up for, or worse.

Seven things HR can learn from hospitality

Human resources departments and the hospitality business have a lot in common. Here are seven things HR can learn from hotels.

Hotels, especially chains, understand how vital CAC (customer acquisition cost) and LTV (lifetime value) is. When they provide a (new) customer with an excellent experience, the chance of that customer rebooking a stay with the same hotel (chain), in another country, on perhaps a different continent, increases significantly. Over a customer’s lifespan, they’re likely to spend numerous nights in hotels, so securing repeat business is crucial.

Free upgrade

“Because this is your first time staying with us, I went ahead and upgraded the room.” Free, proactive updates are always a pleasant surprise. A stunning view as opposed to no view, a bath instead of a shower are generally things that are appreciated.

In most companies, the predominant idea seems to be that if you want to get a raise, you have to speak up and ask for it. Some employees are more vocal than others, but all employees deserve to be acknowledged for their performance pro-actively.

Unexpected little things

Little things make a big impact. After a long journey, some mineral water, high-quality coffee, and tea — provided free of charge — can work magic. Excellent (apartment) hotels even provide magnets to cover digital (oven) clocks. They know that the light of the display could be bothersome at night.

Many companies are already tapping into this principle by providing their employees with drinks, fruits, and snacks. So much so that it has become the Olympic minimum. What other initiatives could your company come up with? Celebrating an employee’s birthday, wishing them a happy Ramadan, some extra time-off for a father with a newborn child…

Help you navigate

“Is this your first time in the city? Do you need help getting around?”

Helpful hotel reception employees will ask you if you need any help navigating. Depending on your request, they can provide you with a standard map or a custom explanation on how to get to a destination you have in mind.

Navigating through an office space for the first time can be confusing. Provide a tour through the building and perhaps a map of where people are located.

Early check-in

There are two types of early check-ins. Arriving early is sometimes inevitable, and the longer the journey, the harder it gets to time your arrival precisely. Type one; upon arrival, either the room you booked isn’t ready yet, but they’re willing to proceed with the check-in procedure and perhaps offer you a drink in the lobby while you wait. Type two; the room is actually ready, and the hotel will allow you to check in a couple of hours earlier.

In many companies, after a candidate signs a contract, that’s it. Radio silence until the first day of work. This creates dissonance and even remorse. Did I make the right choice, though? Perhaps I should have stayed.

Consider pre-boarding initiatives where your company allows future employees to check in earlier. This way, they’ll feel included right from the get-go.

Early check-up

“Hello, mister Benaïcha. This is Samira from the hotel reception. I just wanted to make sure everything is in order?” Good to great hotels will usually call you shortly after entering the room. In rare cases, something might actually be wrong. For instance, towels could be missing due to an early check-in (see the previous point). An early call prevents the guest from growing frustrated and allows the hotel, in this case, to rectify the situation swiftly.

In many companies, you’ll hear things like; my door is always open.

Being available isn’t sufficient. Reach out to employees pro-actively to see how they’re doing.

Personalized welcome

Intelligent hotels will ask you, up-front, if your stay is related to a special occasion. When you surprise a loved one with a city trip for their birthday, arriving in a room with balloons and a personalized cake makes a lasting impact.

In some companies, there is no welcome procedure. Not even a brochure.

First impressions matter. Welcome new employees in a personal and custom way.

After check-out

“Do you need us to hold on to your luggage a little longer?” Most hotels will happily hold on to your luggage after checking out. Often a very welcome and practical gesture for guests parked in or near the hotel and still have some things to do before leaving.

In some companies, once you’ve announced your departure, that’s it. Nothing happens.

Grasp the opportunity to see how you can provide value as a company when an employee checks out. Consider exit interviews and proper off-boarding initiatives.


HR and hospitality both provide services for people. Acquisition and retention are challenges that, again, both industries share. Without investing in customer-centric initiatives, hotels are doomed to suffer in a highly competitive market. Why should HR reinvent the wheel when they can borrow inspiration from hospitality.

training is the new hiring

Training is the new hiring. Labor market scarcity is evident by now, unfortunately. A natural reflex is to lower the criteria (among other initiatives). We’ll hire people and train them on the job, so they can grow to become the full-fledged employee required for the job.

Train for what?

A new type of IV treatment, not yet taught in nursing school, has to be explained on the actual job. Controlling a cluster of instrument panels in the port has to be preceded by training. But what about the non-technical skills, the soft-skills?

Without understanding the base skillset, regarding soft-skills, of a new employee, only 50% of the spectrum is taken into account.

Map soft-skills on the talent – and job side to bridge the gap. Gaps between the soft-skills of today and those required for the job tomorrow.

kings of companies

In the land (and era) characterized by labor market shortage, the company that retains and engages their talent the best, will prevail.

The original quote — in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king — is credited to Desiderius Erasmus’s Adagia around the year 1500. Half a millennium later, the principle remains underrated.

While all your competitors focus on the ultra-short-term, hiring whoever applies, the companies who have a long-term strategy, will reign supreme. Those companies take bi-directional professional expectations into account to build a career perspective.

All hail to the kings of companies.

human virus

What HR professionals and epidemiologists can learn from one another.

A global pandemic initially starts very small, and one tiny spark in one patient virtually disables the entire planet.

In a company, a minor incident can lead to an enterprise-wide disaster. A vocal employee not being acknowledged for her contributions. A team being mismanaged. Continuously mis-hiring new candidates. The list goes on… Small actions with enormous consequences. So much so that they can fester and create a gigantic negative downward spiral and suck the culture right out of a company.

Epidemiologists could benefit significantly from siding with HR professionals, psychologists, or otherwise human-oriented people to convey their messages better.

HR professionals could benefit from applying an analytical approach, monitoring the numbers closely to make data-driven decisions.

A plea for a more facts-based HR approach and a more human-oriented epidemiological approach.

two types

There are two types of HR professionals.

Those that admit to copy-pasting vacancies for a specific function, only to change the company’s name.

Those that don’t admit they copy-paste vacancies and change the company name.

Everyone is looking for a true team player who wants to perform in a dynamic environment. What does that even mean precisely?

Tailor your job offer to a market of one.

Be specific.

pro pro-activity

You can spend years learning about customer- or talent-centricity, devouring books, courses, and keynotes in the process. In the end, it all boils down to this. Be a pro about pro-activity.

In marketing, anticipating your (potential) customers’ needs and desires is considered standard practice.

In HR, anticipating your customers’ — the people who work with you — needs and desires, is a rather novel idea.

Anticipate your customers’ expectations as well as you can, and cater to them, preferably before they manifest themselves.

the world does not accord with our intuition

The world does not accord with our intuition. A piece of paper, folded forty-two times, reaches the moon. Hard to believe, right?

Imagine for a second that all the (human resources) management styles and procedures you apply, based on intuition, could be totally flawed.

Use data-driven models and analytics to build decision-making frameworks to reduce attribution errors based solely on intuition.

This one minute read is inspired by the writings of Malcolm Gladwell.

they will fluctuate

What do stock markets and wellbeing have in common?

They will fluctuate.

The elder JP Morgan got tired of people asking him what the stock market would do. So he deferred to a standard reply, saying; it would fluctuate.

Food, hormones, sleep… just three out of a gazillion parameters, all influence our wellbeing, whether in our personal or our professional lives. The global economy has likely a comparable amount of affecting parameters.

Just because they will fluctuate doesn’t mean we should undergo it all passively. Control what you can with a strategical approach.

Companies, be smart about employee wellbeing. Gather all the required data you can, and act on it.

generous success

The very successful people I meet are more generous with compliments.

Be like those people.