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INTERVIEW – LISA WADE, AREA DIRECTOR HUMAN RESOURCES UK, IRELAND & WESTERN EUROPE, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP: “IT'S IMPORTANT TO ATTRACT PROFILES THAT ARE EAGER TO CREATE MEMORABLE MOMENTS FOR GUESTS”

Heading up a team of seven, Lisa Wade has made employee skills development a central aspect of her work and aims to help Radisson Hotel Group achieve gender parity in its teams by 2030.

INTERVIEW – LISA WADE, AREA DIRECTOR HUMAN RESOURCES UK, IRELAND & WESTERN EUROPE, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP: “IT'S IMPORTANT TO ATTRACT PROFILES THAT ARE EAGER TO CREATE MEMORABLE MOMENTS FOR GUESTS”

Heading up a team of seven, Lisa Wade has made employee skills development a central aspect of her work and aims to help Radisson Hotel Group achieve gender parity in its teams by 2030.

Category: Europe - Careers - Recruitment / Job / Training - Interviews
Interview made by Christopher Buet on 2023-08-09


Luxury is a combination. A combination of many factors that, when put together, create a story that is told to guests in search of perfection and exclusivity. While luxury is obviously based on an exceptional location and infrastructure, it is much more than that. Its core lies elsewhere, in its human dimension. More than a place, it's the people who bring it to life that give it a soul and make the experience unique.

Hoteliers, whether independent or affiliated to large groups, understand this dimension. That's why they take particular care in training their teams, who will form their image in the eyes of their customers. It's a stage that's as crucial as it is delicate in an infinitely complex environment.

Building on its reputation, Radisson Hotel Group has no shortage of assets to attract promising profiles and takes particular care in supporting and developing its employees. This approach has been hailed by Forbes magazine, which ranked the group 4th among the best employers in the travel and leisure industry worldwide in 2021 and 2022.

In charge of the UK, Ireland and Western Europe, Lisa Wade has been working for 23 years to implement the Group's human resources policy. Between the desire to involve employees on a daily basis and the desire to achieve parity within the teams, the Briton spoke to Journal des Palaces about the strengths of Radisson Hotel Group and the challenges that lie ahead.

Journal des Palaces: How many people do you manage in your team?

Lisa Wade : I lead a team of 7 HR colleagues across the UK, Ireland & Western Europe. They work to drive the employee experience, recruit the best talent for hotels and area support offices, as well as providing employee relations support and managing our learning and development programme.

What is your vision of luxury?

Luxury is about exceptional experiences and bespoke design. Our luxury lifestyle brand of properties, Radisson Collection, are iconic destinations with stories to tell, and each hotel feels authentic to its location.

What is your group's recruitment strategy? How are you developing your employer brand?

Following the gradual recovery of travel following the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels in various locations started recruitment drives to attract different talent profiles. These campaigns centre around ‘Be a Moment Maker’, our Employer Value Proposition, which highlights the importance of turning everyday experiences into unforgettable moments for our guests.

How do you perceive the job market in the sector?

Recruitment in the hospitality continues to be a challenging, in particular for chefs, and Covid has unfortunately just exacerbated this. People are keen to engage in temporary work for different employers which offers them flexibility and autonomy in how, when and where they work.

What are the biggest challenges you face as HR Director at Radisson Hotel Group in terms of recruitment and training?

In terms of General Management positions, we want to increase our female representation, as we currently have 17% female GMs in EMEA. We are aiming to increase this to 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Since 2018, we’ve increased our percentage of Women in Leadership (WiL) to 32% in 2022 (including director-level and above at offices and from General Manager level at hotels). We are committed to achieving balanced leadership and have renewed our WiL targets to reach 50% by 2030.

Which positions do you have difficulty recruiting for? How has this changed in recent years?

We continue to attract a high calibre of interest from those who are keen to work with Radisson Hotel Group and we strive to work with different feeder markets as we are able to provide a solid career proposition.

As a result of the pandemic, some people have left the industry, as it was one of the worst affected. Trying to entice experienced hospitality professionals back into the industry can be difficult. In particular, we can struggle to recruit for housekeeping assistants and this function is fundamental to our standards.

What do you think should be done to raise the profile of the hotel and service professions? What have you done differently at Radisson Hotel Group to attract talent?

Hotels across EMEA have run campaigns to attract different talent profiles. These campaigns centered around ‘Be a Moment Maker’, our Employer Value Proposition, which highlights the importance of turning everyday experiences into unforgettable moments for our guests. We also attract talent by communicating the impressive training and career development opportunities we can offer across the Group.

What profile characteristics do you pay particular attention to that make the difference in your eyes?

It’s important to attract profiles that are eager to create memorable moments for guests and feel empowered to create such moments. They must embrace their passion for hospitality and believe anything is possible by putting themselves in the guests’ shoes and thinking outside the box.

What benefits are offered to the group's employees in order to retain them?

Team members benefit from incomparable learning opportunities and experiences in a fun, dynamic, and culturally diverse work environment. They also have access to unique global travel opportunities with exclusive rates for permanent and temporary employees as well as their friends and their families while travelling and staying in Radisson Hotel Group properties. Other benefits include pension, life insurance, enhanced holiday offering, subsidised travel, complimentary meals while on duty, free use of the leisure, pool, and gym facilities during off-peak times and where applicable, as well as personalized development plans supported by the Group’s Learning and Development program, Radisson Academy, which helps aspiring talent develop their skills and achieve their dreams.

Do you promote the Group's CSR commitments in order to retain your employees? Do you involve them in solidarity or committed actions?

We strongly believe in engaging our team members with our Responsible Business program. Radisson Hotel Group is a Responsible Business leader committed to Net Zero and focused on Think People, Planet and Community, including a focus on business ethics, supply chain sustainability, and employability programs to build better futures.

We involve team members in community action initiatives across EMEA and APAC, from tree planting to blood donations, as well supporting our partner SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care or at risk of losing it in more than 130 countries and territories. We encourage hotel teams to establish relationships with local SOS Children’s Villages offices and support the upbringing and education of children to ensure that no child grows up alone. This can be done by providing financial support and through working together to create uplifting experiences, such as internships and work-training programs, for children and young people supported by SOS Children's Villages.

How do you integrate new employees into the Group?

New team members participate in an in-depth induction process to learn about the Group’s history, beliefs, responsible business practices, policies and procedures. Relevant training is provided and they are introduced to all relevant colleagues and stakeholders. We also assign a buddy to assist with their integration.

What importance do you attach to training your employees throughout their careers?

Established in 2019, our learning and development program, Radisson Academy, provides learning and development opportunities through three main formats, Online, Live, and On the Job, designed to equip team members with key skills to grow professionally, to boost their potential through customized training programs focused on enabling individualized development from day one, and to create a strong performance culture, all of which play a major role in facilitating career development at all levels. The Group partnered with Typsy, the number one provider of expert-led hospitality training videos to expand its skills building offering.

Do you offer specific support for your middle managers? Are training courses (leadership, management, etc.) or specific support offered to these employees?

Absolutely. Radisson Academy offers more than 1,500 online and live courses designed to equip team members with key skills to grow and develop in their careers, including courses relating to leadership and management.

How would you define Radisson Hotel Group's management philosophy and methods?

Our people are our biggest asset. We live by our company beliefs “we are many minds with one mindset” and “we grow talent, talent grows us”.
We have implemented a robust engagement plan to motivate, develop, and connect our teams with the Group’s wider business purpose. This plan focuses on three dimensions: Communicate – Connect – Learn:
  • Communicating regularly and sharing updates in a transparent manner
  • Connecting our global community of Moment Makers through informal & authentic channels
  • Radisson Academy, our Learning and Development platform which offers more than 1,500 virtual and live courses
  • Offering highly impactful learning opportunities to invest constantly in their development through self-paced interactive online training modules on business & personal development topics, easily accessible to all through the Radisson Academy Online learning portal. We offer all hotels free access to Typsy, our global hospitality fundamentals skills training platform, to expand their operational skills and gain cross-functional expertise. We also launched a new learning medium with Radisson Academy Virtual to create a social learning culture in which internal experts facilitate and share their expertise through short Masterclasses.
For two consecutive years (2021 & 2022), Radisson Hotel Group ranked fourth in Forbes’ Best Employer ranking in the Travel & Leisure industry globally. This achievement was made possible by our teams who deliver memorable moments every day, everywhere, every time.

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to work in the hotel sector?

Grab life with both hands! Be passionate and resilient and always take opportunities to gain experience.

About the author

A journalist with many skills and an ever curious traveller, Christopher has a great attraction for carefully refined hotels, where characterful gastronomy, impeccable service and sincere elegance go hand in hand. A discreet and gourmet pen at the service of a certain idea of luxury.

Read articles by this author


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