It goes without saying that the 2020 year completely disrupted economic sectors around the world. But if there is one industry that has been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and its side effects, it is the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, beyond the difficulties encountered, it is necessary for hospitality companies to look ahead and ensure that they are well positioned to bounce back quickly, as without a doubt, travel will be back as people who have been confined for long periods of time have been dreaming of, and longing for, their next vacation. In fact, according to Forbes, 70% of travellers are planning holidays in 2021.
To be ready for this restart, hospitality companies like Accor need to be ready to recruit new talent where necessary and therefore it is essential to have an effective, innovative and flexible talent acquisition strategy, powered via agile digital tools. In this article, we outline an experience shared between Accor & Althéa which has set-up Accor with this foresight of recovery in mind.
Origins of the Accor Talent & Culture Digital Platform
It is undeniable that the DNA of hospitality is the human factor as it is mainly a sector oriented towards people and service. A phenomenal guest/customer experience is ultimately the objective of every actor in the operations and corporate offices around the world and for this reason it is paramount to create a strong candidate and employee experience. This ensures that the Group’s human capital is the essential value and that people are placed at the heart of everything, a central philosophy of Accor’s Heartist® culture.
With this mindset, Accor’s Talent & Culture (“T&C”) digital platform was born. It is comprised of a service offering for Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Learning & Development and was launched pre-pandemic in 2019. It is available to all the 5,000+ properties around the world, as well as the corporate offices. Since the beginning of the project, the objective has always been to respond to the business challenges of end users (Hotel Owners, General Managers, T&C Teams and candidates) by focusing on their needs as close as possible to the “field”, while establishing some global operating principles.
How Talent & Culture digital tools can help Accor restart activity as the hospitality industry rebounds
Both internal users (i.e. Talent & Culture Teams, General Managers, Managers, etc.) and external users (i.e. candidates) now have access to a fully digitalized recruitment and mobility tool, with an innovative career site showcasing a new Employee Value Proposition. The tool offers personalised content for each candidate, more efficient communication and publication process on job boards, proven candidate assessment and selection capabilities, advanced management of candidate pools as well as the ability to animate the internal talent already working within the Group – just to name a few key features!
Our digital platform makes it possible to respond to a variety of operational challenges while improving recruitment times and reducing recruitment costs, increasing the reliability of candidate selection capabilities, and finally meeting the major challenges of protecting the data of candidates and employees.
As previously stated, the obstacles encountered by companies around the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic are particularly marked for the hospitality industry, Accor included. In addition to the fact that most countries in which the Group operates have been impacted by lockdowns in some way, it is particularly interesting to highlight that the periods of closure and reopening differ from one country to another. On a global level, our platform has provided flexibility in local markets in these stop-and-go waves, particularly to accompany the phases of business resumption and therefore hiring.
It is also interesting to note that our digital capabilities have enabled Accor to respond to the specific challenges of candidate communication and recruitment during this turbulent period. Before the implementation of our T&C digital platform and the pandemic, an average of 6 applications per position was observed, while this number has increased to an average of 90 applications per position since last March. Moreover, the conversion rate between a visitor on the career website and an application is 12% (comparative to an average of 4% on other career websites, as per Phenom People). Given these figures, it was essential that a platform could help Accor attract, qualify, and select candidates accordingly. In addition, the internal mobility module of the tool recently put in place enables employees to have priority access to positions in the various locations across the Group.
What a Talent & Culture digital platform can bring to Accor to attract talent in the long term
If we now take a long-term view of the future of Accor, it is clear that the Group is making a major change in its strategy and organization in order to be closer to the local hotels and, ultimately, its guests and customers. But to meet these challenges, it is necessary to give the hotels the tools to enable this operational flexibility; digital services being undeniably a key factor, and in particular regarding attracting talent. As Accor makes its way through the rebound, the focus will be to continue to enhance our digital solutions with new relevant features.
The new career website, through its ability to offer personalised content, makes it possible to propose new content to candidates with a view to communicate about the new strategy, new activities, and new professions that come out of the pandemic, both globally and locally. In addition, the new search engine optimization capabilities enable increased exposure of job opportunities on the various search engines, which is an advantage for Accor over its competitors in attracting candidates in the market.
Finally, our platform allows Accor to offer a candidate experience more in line with the expectations of the post Covid-19 pandemic world with a more digitalised experience. For example, communication via chatbots and the possibility to submit a video C.V.
Now more than ever, as the hospitality industry restarts, focus should be directed to the candidate experience which ultimately sets the foundation for a strong employee experience.
Article wirtten by Laura HINGEL ACCOR and Julien CHEVALIER ALTHÉA