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The new breed of hospitality employees: Selecting and nurturing competencies for the future

Encourage empowerment and job crafting to fuel innovation and creativity among employees.

The hospitality industry is evolving in response to shifting guest expectations and emerging trends. Today’s guests seek authentic, meaningful, and sustainable experiences. As their discernment deepens, the need for new competencies among hospitality professionals becomes evident. Traditional service roles are transforming into a new breed of hospitality employees—experiential designers and transformative guides. These competencies go beyond traditional skills, encompassing attitudes, behaviours, and personalities that redefine the guest experience.

Essential competencies

  • Emotional intelligence: Hospitality employees must possess finely tuned emotional intelligence, balancing empathy and assertiveness to forge genuine guest connections. They now act as mentors and guides, no longer confined to service roles.
  • Creative thinking: Personalisation is central to modern hospitality, demanding creative minds that artfully employ limited resources for innovative and tailored guest solutions.
  • Expanded knowledge: Modern hospitality professionals engage in meaningful conversations, serving as cultural interpreters. They share insights into culture, society, nature, history, and more.
  • Storytelling abilities: While a compelling brand story is essential, employees who convey these narratives to foster emotional connections with guests are equally crucial. Storytelling transforms a stay into a memorable journey.

So, how do you select and cultivate these competencies
Start by selecting candidates based on intrinsic personality traits rather than specific skills, as skills can be developed over time. Evaluate candidates’ emotional intelligence and socio-cultural awareness through immersive role-play scenarios. Provide opportunities for them to showcase conversational finesse and storytelling prowess. Explore their passions and interests outside of work to ensure alignment with the hotel’s unique brand story.

Once selected, cultivate these competencies. Implement targeted training programs to elevate emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Embrace experiential learning as a pivotal element – after all, if your staff cannot savour the essence of being a guest at your hotel, how can they be expected to master the intricacies of the experiences you wish them to craft? Use theatrical tools to nurture creativity, emotional management, and storytelling abilities. Encourage empowerment and job crafting to fuel innovation and creativity among employees.

In nurturing these competencies, you unlock the potential for unparalleled guest experiences, strengthen brand value, and shape the future of the hospitality industry.

About the author: Anita Manfreda is a researcher, trainer, and consultant at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School @ Torrens University Australia. She works with practitioners in the luxury sector to redefine the contemporary definition and characteristics of luxury accommodation experiences toward authenticity and sustainability.

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