Alan Darr, VP Human Resources, Langham Hospitality Group, shares his expertise on recruitment process, career development, internal mobility
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Alan Darr, VP Human Resources, Langham Hospitality Group, shares his expertise on recruitment process, career development, internal mobility

Category: Worldwide Recruitment / Job / Training - Interviews
Interview made by Anne-Laure Hecquet on 2019-03-15

"No matter what job you have or what level you are in the organisation, we are all here to take care of our guests."



Alan Darr, Vice President Human Resources, Langham Hospitality Group - Photo credit: Langham Hospitality Group
Photo credit © Langham Hospitality Group

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

To meet these challenges in today’s 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.

Alan Darr, Vice President Human Resources, Langham Hospitality Group, answers six questions about recruitment, onboarding process, career development and gives key tips for a successful career in luxury hospitality.

How to attract the right talent: can you tell us more about your recruitment process?

Alan Darr: Our people are our greatest asset. At Langham Hospitality Group, we cultivate talent and promote continuous learning in an engaging and progressive environment.

The first step is creating a company culture where people want to join a successful and growing company. As a group, we may be young but we are dynamic, agile and adaptable and decisions are made quickly. We do not have many layers in our organizational structure and individuals are encouraged to make suggestions, and empowered to make decisions which will have a positive impact for our guests. Our colleagues also appreciate the fact that our senior leadership is very approachable and open-mined. During our recruitment process, we spend time explaining our values and essentials to help candidates understand if these align with their own values and qualities.

Onboarding process for new hires: how do you integrate new talent?

Our First60 Certification Programme is a mandatory programme which equips our colleagues with the information and training in order to succeed in their job within the first 60 days of their employment. This programme is designed to facilitate every new colleague to understand the Company’s philosophy, values, culture and branded customer service skills.

Career development: which kind of development program do you offer to your employees?

The Langham Curriculum Certification (LCC) is an ongoing programme which aims at developing colleagues’ potential. The learning syllabus is designed for colleagues at different levels to enhance their knowledge and skills, through formal training, on-the-job experience, coaching and mentoring that include imparting theoretical knowledge and applications in the workplace to develop a critical, analytical mind and problem solving skills.

Our Advanced Programme for Executives (APEX) is an engine to identify and develop our future Executives. All selected candidates receive a tailored development plan which includes an e-learning syllabus by Cornell University, an intensive on-the-job development programme, and a mentoring programme. We currently have 14 high potential colleagues in the programme and since the programme was launched in 2012 we have retained over 40% of the graduates. Three of our current General Managers are also graduates of this program. For 2019, our focus is to strengthen our development programs for first time managers and heads of departments.

Internal mobility: what opportunities do you offer to your employees? Is it an easy process?

All vacancies will be posted in our intranet for our colleagues to apply as first priority. Besides, the vacancies will be shared internally within the region to encourage our colleagues to apply for internal transfer. We also identify task force members from existing hotels to support with the new openings which give our colleagues opportunities for development.

What would be your best advice to have a successful career in luxury hospitality?

Always keep in mind that no matter what job you have or what level you are in the organisation, we are all here to take care of our guests. This also applies to treating our internal colleagues like we would treat our external guests. Never forget that we are all part of one team.

What human qualities are you looking for in applicants?

We look for candidates who share our company values and can demonstrate these values in the workplace. We also look for candidates with a strong sense of integrity so we know they will always do the right thing.

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The Langham, London - Photo credit: Langham Hospitality Group
Photo credit © Langham Hospitality Group



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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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