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Celeste How, Vice President of Human Resources, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, shares her expertise on recruitment process, career development offers, internal mobility

"We create an immersive journey for new talent and here at Six Senses we call our team members – hosts."

Celeste How, Vice President of Human Resources, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, shares her expertise on recruitment process, career development offers, internal mobility

"We create an immersive journey for new talent and here at Six Senses we call our team members – hosts."

Category: Worldwide - Careers - Interviews - Recruitment / Job / Training - Interviews
Interview made by Anne-Laure Hecquet on 2019-02-13

Attracting and retaining talent within the luxury hospitality industry can be a challenge due to the fast growth of the tourism market, the professional expectations of younger generations, and mobility towards luxury brands (outside the hospitality sector).

To meet these challenges in a highly competitive job market, to recruit and retain the right talent, the hotel groups have quickly implemented new recruitment tools, career development programs, new ways of HR communication.

Celeste How answers six key questions about recruitment and career management processes at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

How to attract the right talent: can you tell us more about your recruitment process?
As the hospitality industry continues to expand, it is inevitable there will be a high demand for all hospitality staff.  We are proud to say that as a unique brand with a solid foundation around the values of sustainability and wellness, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas attracts a special individual seeking a brand that shares their same vision and principles. Nonetheless, we do have challenges, especially in some remote locations, and are proactive with our recruitment efforts, by being responsible and caring with the local communities and ensuring our commitment in developing their local skills and hiring them as part of our workforce. I’m pleased to say that our values resonate deeply with younger staff and we’ve been very successful in finding people who have the same passion and enthusiasm as our founders 24 years ago.

Onboarding process for new hires: how do you integrate new talent?
We create an immersive journey for new talent and here at Six Senses we call our team members – hosts. To absorb and understand the company culture at Six Senses, new hosts begin their adventure with a three-day orientation that includes a deep look into the brand’s history, mission statement and dynamic values. One session emphasizes sustainability, combining education with a hands-on experience where new people feed animals at the farm, tour the resort’s waste management facility or plant trees together at the garden. Holistic, integrated wellness is another large part of Six Senses’ DNA where new hosts explore how Six Senses defines wellness. Hosts receive a personalized wellness screening or join any one of the meditation, yoga, or exercise classes taking place on property.

Career development: which kind of development program do you offer to your employees?
We recognize the importance of training and development to provide career progression and ensuring a ready supply of well-trained employees to support the future growth of the company. People are core to our business and we retain them by empowering them, through individual development program/succession planning, and our workplace wellness programs which we are currently redefining and broadening to accommodate our rapid expansion. Additionally, we believe training is important at all levels and should be accessible to everyone. As a result we’ve developed an online training platform.
Internal mobility: what opportunities do you offer to your employees? Is it an easy process?
With the rapid expansion and growth of the company, there are great opportunities for our hosts to move within the company. We encourage cross exposure and task force between properties to provide opportunities for continued development, increase our cultural awareness and to create a broader, more capable workforce who are ready for the next move.  We look for internal candidates before looking externally to fill vacant positions within the company.

What would be your best advice to have a successful career in luxury hospitality?
Have an emotionally-intelligent approach to service that begins with empathy. Be constantly curious and be willing to experiment. We also say that it’s important to have fun and be yourself. We hire people because of their warmth, engaging personalities and intellect. Six Senses is not a cookie cutter brand, we’re all about being a little bit different and out of the ordinary.

What human qualities are you looking for in applicants?  
We look for like-minded people with an intuitive approach to service that begins with chemistry. For us chemistry means eye contact, a genuine smile and a sympathetic rapport. Future hosts need to connect with others and show that they have the ability to understand the needs and wants of others, both spoken and unspoken. Not all people have this skill set and we’re very selective when it comes to finding the right mix. It’s about service from the heart and treating colleagues, guests and the communities where we operate with kindness and respect.
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About the author

Anne-Laure Hecquet, Communication & International Development Manager
Specialized in communication and recruitment, Anne-Laure participates, since January 2018, in the development of Journal des Palaces by being attentive to the specifics needs of the recruiters and partners whether it is in the implementation of events or custom-made tools or services. Anne-Laure also writes articles for the Career section.

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