Adrian Awards 2020
Situational Analysis: Please provide a brief background on the initiative and the problem, challenge or issue you were seeking to address in the areas of developing emerging talent and engaging existing talent to meet the demands of your business.
Alpharetta, Georgia-based Atrium Hospitality is ranked as one of the nation’s largest hotel operators. The COVID-19 coronavirus hit without mercy leaving a wake of occupancies in the single digits and teens for the initial months of the pandemic. Like nearly all hotel operators globally, Atrium Hospitality had to make difficult decisions about our workforce across 83 hotels in 28 states. With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, including when the pandemic will end and travel will resume, we needed to reduce costs while still maintaining exceptional guest stays for the limited demand in our Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and independent properties. Our overarching goal was to keep as many hotels open as possible. We knew to successfully operate in this unprecedented period in history, we had to streamline, be purposeful in our actions, and look beyond traditional roles at hotels … we had to be innovative. There was not enough demand to warrant full-time exempt managers and supervisors for the front office, housekeeping, engineering, accounting and security to name a few, but each of these functions are always critical to the hotels’ success. We had to think differently to balance limited funds for payroll with the ongoing needs of the hotels. We also wanted to encourage the personal growth of our emerging talent during these trying times.
Goals: What did your organization set out to achieve in undertaking this initiative? What obstacles did you encounter?
The devastation of the global pandemic and its impact on travel necessitated Atrium Hospitality to work differently with smaller teams without compromising standards at our national hotel portfolio. We knew we must emphasize our enhanced safety standards and protocols to help guests return assured. Goal 1: Create a cross-functional hotel position. Atrium Hospitality created the All Purpose Manager (APM) position to handle multiple operational responsibilities with scaled teams with an emphasis on clean, safe guest stays. Previously, hotel Associates with certain operational responsibilities would have focused on a specific operational area, like food and beverage, housekeeping or guest service. As an APM, their hotel shifts now cross all operational departments. APMs are part of the culinary team, transportation team, banquet team, housekeeping team, front office, engineering and sometimes accounting and sales support. APMs are trained in enhanced safety standards and protocols to help ensure Atrium Hospitality’s and the Brand’s high standards are met and that guests are informed. Goal 2: Streamline the number of job descriptions within our national hotel portfolio. Even in a pandemic, Atrium Hospitality continues to proactively improve as a national hotel operator as we strive to live our five core values: Perseverance, Respect, Inclusion, Service and Teamwork. The creation of our APM position and related success sparked our forming an initiative to audit/refine our company’s Job Description Library. We transformed job descriptions from being title oriented to purpose centered, better articulating the needs of various roles and how they correlate to broader performance management responsibilities. This strategic effort also develops more “utility players” across all hotel departments and better positions Atrium to conduct business efficiently while also enhancing our Associates’ skill sets. Associates can better realize their affinity for more hotel departments.
Results and Impact: What results had the greatest impact on your target audience? Please comment on the process and the outcomes. What measures were used to determine success?
This year’s pandemic presented an opportunity for Atrium Hospitality’s emerging talent to expand their responsibilities and grow. Also, by preparing now and being nimble, we are better equipped for operating in uncertain times. Results for Goal 1: Create a cross-functional hotel position. Creating the All Purpose Manager (APM) role allowed us to align our changing business needs with the skill sets required to execute in a fluid environment. By combining critical success factors into one property leadership role, we were able to keep 98% of our hotels open. Depending on business demands, we have one to three APMs on property compared to pre-COVID-19 with 20 managers at larger hotels. Our APMs have remained employed at full-time status during the pandemic. Four (4) of our promising leaders were spotlighted in Hotel Management’s 2020 Thirty Under 30 supplement recognizing the hotel industry’s top rising stars, and Atrium had the most winners. Results for Goal 2: Streamline the number of job descriptions within our national hotel portfolio. By auditing/redesigning Atrium Hospitality’s Job Description Library, we eliminated and/or combined about 60% of our job descriptions. We brought clarity to the remaining 125+ job descriptions by redefining them to focus on purpose of role and nature of work. Also, the revised presentation of job requirements and responsibilities is more conducive for developing and leveraging cross-functional teams and yielding individuals with the requisite skills to assume more leadership roles. Every Associate working during COVID-19 is required to function as a “utility player” and may perform as many as seven (7) jobs in a shift, thus learning new skills. Now, we can also better match an employee’s needs with our expectations as an employer. Positions are posted internally on a national basis. Project teams are in place to monitor and document the effectiveness of the revised Job Description Library as we promote best practices.
Entry Title
Redefining Roles for Success
Talent and Leadership Development: An HSMAI Foundation Honor - Talent and Leadership Development: An HSMAI Foundation Honor
Talent and Leadership Development: An HSMAI Foundation Honor
Entry Award:
Gold BP