by Bruce Harness, Wyndham Destinations
We’ve invited Bruce Harkness, Senior Vice President Human Resources – Brand Communications & Customer Experience, Wyndham Destinations, to be our guest blogger this month and share his thoughts about workplace trends in this post-COVID new era of work.
After experiencing a prolonged series of enforced closures, false starts, and limited re-openings over the past two years, the hotel and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic. Wyndham Destinations have close to 70 hotels and resorts across our Asia Pacific portfolio, and most are recruiting for multiple roles. Compounding this are the very limited number of back-packers, international students and visa holders to fill the workforce gaps and cover seasonal work which we experience in our industry.
Dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, organizations like ours have had to adapt to a variety of challenges. Businesses are managing one or more of the following situations: remote, hybrid and reduced workforce numbers, and those who are returning to the office who have worked from home for quite some time. In response, HR teams have been tasked with implementing new remote onboarding and training programs, plus identifying different processes and digital tools to support a high-performing, hybrid workplace.
A trend that is reflective of the times is skill-building.
Times are leaner, teams are smaller, and employees have been tasked with more. Many of our people have needed to upskill and diversify, and we support this wholeheartedly. Empowerment is a big focus for us, and as such, more leadership courses that help people tap into their unique strengths and potential have been made available.
Amplified focus on well-being, particularly mental health.
Our HR team has delivered mental health awareness programs to all our staff to assist them with adapting to life throughout different stages of the pandemic. In fact, our Australian based HR team have all become accredited in delivering mental health first aid. This course teaches ways to identify and help people who may be developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health condition, or are in a mental health crisis.
We operate across nine countries, and as such, diversity and inclusion are of utmost importance.
We have a number of initiatives centred on these themes. We have also found the CliftonStrengths Assessment by Gallup helpful to foster an awareness of differences among individuals in teams, and how to create a well-rounded and dynamic workforce.
As the world returns to travel, we are starting to see signs of improvement, but across Asia Pacific, and especially in places like Australia, it has been challenging to attract the right candidates.
We have always offered highly competitive benefits, but to assist with attracting the right people, we have introduced additional perks and have dedicated time to publicize the incredible career progression opportunities that the hospitality industry offers.
Across our business, we have seen many people progress from entry level roles to managers, directors, and executive-level positions. In many cases, this has taken them all over the world.
Hospitality has always been an exciting and highly rewarding industry with diverse roles on offer and that has not changed post-COVID.
The industry is bouncing back, and the career opportunities are plentiful.
About Bruce Harkness
Bruce Harkness, Senior Vice President Human Resources – Brand Communications & Customer Experience, Wyndham Destinations
Bruce is currently the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Customer Experience and Brand Communications for Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific. He has worked internationally and in Australia with a number of globally recognized brands and he is the author of Performance Matters: The Ultimate Career Survival Guide. Bruce has a passion for talent and leadership development and believes the potential of any organization is ultimately realized through its people.