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Spotlight Series: Tourism and Hospitality

Over the past five Best Workplace cycles of the Great Place to Work Institute, we have witnessed an increasing level of participation from the Tourism and Hospitality sector. This has resulted in thousands data points from individual survey entries; as well as a range of cultural insights and best practice.

From an overall perspective, there are some very interesting themes that can be drawn from the data. The Great Place to Work process identifies 21 categories that underpin potential focus areas for any organisation (some examples include Management & Leadership, Innovation & Continuous Improvement, Wellbeing, and Corporate Social Responsibility). The results that we see in these areas indicate both strength and opportunities areas for those organisations and at a macro level, trends for industry overall. 

In the Tourism and Hospitality Sector, over recent cycles, the key strength areas have been:

  • Customer Focus (consistently the number one strength area across the industry)
  • Diversity (people being treated fairly regardless of their sex, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age or position in the organisation)
  • Strategy & Direction (there is a clear view of where the organisation is going and how they are going to get there)
  • Empowerment & Accountability (expectations are clear and people can get on with the role and remit they are responsible for)

These areas have been underpinned by strong practices, that are consistently applied by both management and employees. An example here is how guest, or customer, feedback is shared with employees and used to inspire people to deliver a fantastic experience for people visiting their hotel, restaurant, café, or attraction. This may be done through letter of thanks from management to employees, by posting on noticeboards for all to read, or linked to a bonus scheme where employees who are specifically named in feedback received are given a monetary bonus as part of their pay packet.

Similarly, over the last five cycles, the key opportunity areas are:

  • Career & Development (people understanding what their opportunities to learn are, confident they are progressing professionally and can fulfil their career aspirations)
  • Wellbeing (a measure of work-life balance, and an overall indicator of whether people perceive their place of work as psychologically and emotionally healthy place)
  • Reward (people being paid fairly for the work that they do and special & unique benefits are in place)

Unlocking these opportunity areas is made all the more pertinent as Tourism and Hospitality is one of Ireland’s biggest industries, with 260,000 people employed in the sector. This includes hotels, bars, B&Bs, restaurants, visitor attractions and experiences, all playing a vital role in sustaining communities and driving regional development throughout the country. It is estimated that 50,000 new jobs will be created by 2025, with 70% of these jobs based outside of Dublin.

Great Place to Work, along with Failte Ireland, have launched the 2020 Spotlight Series Tourism and Hospitality Award.  The Spotlight Series will highlight the excellent people practices that are being implemented across the Tourism and Hospitality industry and showcases the industry as a key choice for top talent seeking to forge a rewarding career path.

Entries can be made by submitting 500 words, photos or a short video that best illustrates the organisation or individual’s story to The closing date for entry is 5pm, Friday, 13th December 2019. The winner will be revealed at the Great Place to Work Awards on the 26th February 2020. To find out more about the Spotlight Series, click here.

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