Suzanne McKay, Vice President, Human Resources, at ALHI, is an experienced hospitality industry human resources generalist who is passionate about developing and executing a holistic HR strategic plan to drive organizational, financial and operational success. Her specialties include employee and labor relations. She has worked for staffing services as well as in HR roles within the hotel industry prior to joining ALHI in 2016. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.

Everyone is hiring right now.

During an interview last week, a candidate asked, “Why ALHI? What is it about your work there that inspires you?”

A relevant question given we are in the midst of what is being called the “great reshuffle.” Recent data suggests that while 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in February, more than half of the workers switched their occupation or field of work. Pay is a factor, but recent studies also point to lifestyle decisions.

Since the pandemic, questions like this one from a job candidate around organizational culture have become the norm. People are more interested than ever in doing meaningful, purpose-driven work in an environment that aligns with their own values.

We spend a tremendous amount of time with our colleagues, sometimes more than with our own family and friends. Therefore, it’s critical for both an organization and a perspective candidate to determine if they have found a mutual fit and shared values that are sustainable. 

So, back to the candidate’s question. It was really easy for me to answer that candidate’s question authentically and with great enthusiasm, as my “why” is rooted in the culture of our organization and supporting human connection. Our high-performing team is mission-driven, extremely hardworking, and collaborative, with the collective goal of making the workplace fun as well. We’re doing really important work and our industry needs workers.

The leisure and hospitality industry remains far behind in its post-pandemic recovery of lost, and desperately needed, jobs. Consider these statistics:

·      At 8.5%, leisure and hospitality has a higher share of jobs still lost than any industry except for mining.

·      With 1.4 million jobs still lost, leisure and hospitality far exceeds any other industry.

The recent May jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that while job gain in our sector were better than expected, hospitality remains below pre-pandemic levels.

According to the report, 390,000 jobs were added over the last month, and 69 percent of the industries tracked by the Labor Department were adding workers.

The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 84,000 jobs; however, the U.S. Travel Association noted that the sector remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Creating impactful experiences through meetings and events brings opportunity for real collaboration, which inspires growth and is key in helping a group succeed and connect with one another. That resonates with me profoundly. 

What is your “why”? I encourage you to find or re-affirm your “why.” Finding purpose and having passion for what you do creates a positive ripple effect within an organization and gets people on the same page. That’s attractive to great candidates and will help you build an extraordinary team and inviting work culture.