Back to the floor

As
part of a major career drive at Marriott Hotels, HR director Amanda Ravey went
‘back to the floor’ and produced a photo diary for personneltoday.com.

Amanda
agreed to swap her day job and work as an HR manager at a West London hotel as part
of a company-wide careers drive to help attract more staff and stimulate
interest in the industry.

It
was all part of the Springboard Careers Festival – a charity event that works
to get more young people into the sector by offering a range of careers advice
and support.

All
60 Marriott hotels in the UK were involved in the week-long season of
activities, targeting more than 2,000 students.

The
events included skills challenges, open days, job shadowing, parents evenings
and several presentations at hotels.

The
whole management team at the company agreed to go back to the floor, including
the managing director, who returned to the kitchen, and the operations
director, who became a porter.

Ravey’s
HR photo diary

The
idea

We
wanted to celebrate the hospitality industry as a great place to work. For
Marriott, this was an excellent opportunity to get young people into our
business and show them the vast array of career choices the hotel business can
offer them.

I was
very happy to step into the cluster HR manager role for the West of London.
This is normally done by Helen Averill, who took charge of running an open day
for Heston Community School.

What
I gained from the day

The
open day allowed me to meet some of our potential future recruits and I started
the day by talking to them about careers. I highlighted different training
programmes for young people who join us, and gave them some tips for getting
through the interviews.

What
my day involved

Later we
were joined by a team from the Hotel and Catering Training Company, who talked
about their role and the Marriott Modern Apprenticeship Scheme. We also took
the students on a tour of the hotel and answered a range of questions, such as
‘How do I become a chef?’ and ‘Has David Beckham ever stayed in your hotel?’

In
the afternoon we did three skills challenges – cocktail making, creating
marzipan animals and napkin folding. After the students left, I was able to
spend some more time with the hotel associates.

It’s
amazing how much you can find out just by walking around the hotel – everything
from events taking place that week and how we are getting ready for them, to
what dishes are being prepared for the associate restaurant.

What
I achieved

It
was great to spend some time with the hotel HR team. It was a good opportunity
for recognition and celebration as HR team leader Kristina, and Thommai, the HR
administrator, had been voted manager and associate of the year by their
colleagues in the Heathrow Marriott hotel.

What
struck me about being an HR manager

The
thing that struck me the most was how much time Helen spends around the hotel
talking to associates, as opposed to sitting in an office. I found the day
useful, interesting and great fun, and would certainly recommend the experience.

www.springboarduk.org.uk

By Ross Wigham

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