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Hospitality is not the Public Service

May 20, 2014  By 

Because they have worked for a major or minor hotel group for many years, some people believe they are “entitled” to transfer to a higher position or a better location.

But unless you are productive, efficient and constantly striving for better performance, better results and becoming a better manager, you are not entitled at all to a better title, position or location simply because you’ve stayed with one group for a long time. That’s not how it works, nor should it. Longevity does not equal productivity.

Stating to a recruiter “I have been with the same group for 15 years as I needed the security”  is hardly a sound reason to stay with the group. There are many  positive reasons to stay with your group apart from “I needed the security” or
“I cannot join a group that does not offer security”. Hotel Groups HR and Regional Managers are wanting to hear better reasons to stay with their respective groups.

Consider it akin to the question “Why do you want to marry me?”. The need for security is surely not the basis for a good start to a happy marriage.

Some managers do not realise they are in a career holding pattern and do not realise it is time to move on. The saying ‘MOVE TO IMPROVE’ rings true. Sometimes we need a reminder, a push from life itself. Redundancy is not the end of the world. A lot of times later on, people realise it was the best thing that could have happened, as it woke them up. This has happened to many of us .

Redundancy or being let go is not the end of the world – it is the beginning. It shook the tree. It shook us out of our complacency. It woke us up from the security slumber. Things change and so should we. Life is constant movement, change, embrace it. Do not embrace security, it is an illusion. Embrace your abilities. Embrace you.

When you are regularly overlooked for GM or Resident Manager, EAM , Exec Chef roles and the like, or sent to locations not many wish to go to, it may be time to move on. Do not hold onto the notion of security. HR will move the best GMs to the best locations and best properties. That’s life and we all can’t be first division players, but we can always give our best.

Realise that the quest for security does not bring with it productivity, it does not lift your energy levels or your drive, nor does it inspire. And it shows – you may not see it but your peers do.

As recruiters, we understand that family comes into the equation. Happy Dad and Mum equals happy family. If you have to stay in one city due to schooling, then keep improving, learning and overall be happy in what you do.

Striving for security doesn’t make you happy. Kids want happy parents and not to listen to the goings on at work that make you annoyed. As John Lennon once said :

“ When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Some candidates state “For me to move I must stay with the majors”. They believe they are looking for security, not realising security comes from their internal perceived belief in their own ability, not which group they are with. What you believe people will see.

Many times in an interview, the Head of HR will ask “What interests you overall in our group?”. If you answer “the security“, you can consider your chances of further consideration for that position over.

Many people have moved to smaller groups or independents and then later moved back again to the majors and their respective careers have sky rocketed. In many cases, taking the road less travelled is a very good option.

Another red flag to recruiters is interviewing someone looking for security in location . A General Manager in South East Queensland was recently interviewing for a senior Chef. Asking why the candidate was interested in this role the reply was, “because the role is based in the Gold Coast Surfers Paradise”. So basically the applicant was not interested in the hotel or the company, they were only interested in the “lifestyle location”. This response is not uncommon for island resorts, but it smacks of people most interested in  pursuing life style choices, not necessarily hospitality careers.

You are in this industry for a career or should be, because if you are not,  the service to the guest and the guest experience will undoubtedly suffer.

When you are looking to move – move to improve. Keep the continuity in your CV and go after quality – whether the opportunity is at an independent property, a small group or a large group. I don’t recommend hanging your hat on the fact that you spent the last 15 to 20 years in one hotel group in only one or two locations. We are not happy with job hoppers but also not overly enamoured with security hunters.

Quality can take many forms, and it is not only found at 5-star properties. Whoever you work for, be happy and perform well in what you do and everything will look after itself.

It’s rather like the English Premier league. Not all professional footballers have the skills, drive and complete 24/7 commitment  to play for Manchester City, Liverpool, MU or the mighty Chelsea. Yet there are many great and very capable football players in 1st 2nd and 3rd division, and without these players, the ones that give it their best, the whole premier league fails. 

And sometimes when a player is floundering after several years with one club, they are released and then experience a new lease on life, playing with renewed energy at a new football club.

As we see this in football and other sports, we also see this is hospitality. Most top hotel executives have a few different hotel brands experience under their belts.

So do not hold on to security for security sake, it will not make you happy, nor more productive, and won’t help you manage people better. Strive to improve – through learning new things, through developing as a person – and then the world will open up to you. There is a big, interesting exciting world out  there and remember – your can choose freedom OR security, but if you choose the latter, you will get neither.

About Stuart Mullins

Stuart Mullins

Stuart Mullins is the director and owner of Executive Search International Pty Ltd. Since starting this consultancy in 1994, he has been in

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