By Zakariyya Easa
As a country solely dependent on tourism, Maldives is amongst the worst affected countries in the Asia region and potentially globally, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, stated by recently released report by UNDP – Maldives (“Rapid Livelihood Assessment COVID 19”).
Remember, the economy has taken a hit. But the economy is not simply financial. The hotels industry is distinguished, among other services industry, by an everlasting competitiveness through an agile culture of imparted skills and talents delivered by L&D professionals across the organization.
The economy exists because of human capital and that capital requires support to grow and develop its resilience once again with careful nurturing of all the stakeholders, especially todays visionary and strategic HR/L&D leaders across in Maldives and in general around the globe.
Both Resorts and hotel industry is a human-intensive industry, the human element is crucial in this industry; where all the resorts and hotel activities and services are based on the human elements without denying the increasing modernity overflowing in to this industry.
Consequently, the need for well qualified and well-trained employees becomes a strategic objective. In turn, resorts and hotel’s human resource training system is a key factor in ensuring the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to achieve competitive advantage. Human touch is an inseparable element in hospitality service.
As learned from the recent virtual meetings organized by Maldivian Association of Human Resource Professionals (MAHRP), there will be a huge skills gaps that would emerge and unpredictable shortage on required human capital in Maldives especially in hospitality industry. Obvious “leakage” of expatriates’ skills-sets will be imminent, where many major high-class companies and resorts relied on, will no longer be available, especially when reopening the tourism activities in Maldives in post COVID era.
Can local workforce be able to manage? Will they be able to cope within the required skills and talents demanded by all the variety of service expectation of different categories of resorts and hotels in Maldives? What sorts of skills and talents that would surface in post COVID – 19, resort/hotel operation as adjoining requirement?
As I believe, in hospitality sector, human capital development (L&D Activities) activities have to be a fundamental strategic business policy to achieve success and acquiring a competitive advantage. CCR, as a leading resorts operating company, we believe that a positive relationship between work-based training activities and customers’ behavioral intention, is highly considered a logical finding as customers satisfaction of quality of service and quality of the products offered in resorts and hotel operation.
The world of work has changed not only in Maldives. It has always been evolving, however, during post COVID -19 pandemic is more significant and expected beyond. The time and the service expectation has started changing. Think industrial revolution as well as the introduction of automation, digitalization, and contact-less, paper-less, demanded by Gen-CX, from millennials to centennials. This is future of this industry. Are the HR and L&D professionals ready to mold the new skills-sets and talents that demands by new service expectation. Increasing productivity, learning new skills, acquiring re-skills and talents are vital for the time that we are entering now. Are L&D leaders prepared and skilled to meet the need?
I am sure all business leaders, not only HR/L&D professionals have had a gamut of emotions in the last few months. Inertia, panic, hope, fear. How can we rebound with loads of dreams that this industry looking for? What is evident is the need to have a wide set of skills within the workforce. Swift adaptation on the majority of training now available online together with excellent remote support, it is a great time to invest for the future through training and upskilling and reskilling of teams through current techniques of blended approaches.
Preparing our HODs, operational managers as right –caliber of coaches and mentors for the operational teams. Inspecting what you expects through the true “eyes” operational leaders. Embracing resort team from top to bottom on technological adaptation. Enabling operational implementation in line with newly amplified H&S measure to combat COVID -19 to live with “Ever–normal life” in resort operation. Both HR and L&D professionals and resorts management team, needs to focus on the following ranges of evolving work-force talent acquisitions to survive over rivals during post COVID and beyond in hospitality operation. Impact of continuing T&D and Quality of Service would be shifted upwards as the application of the following in the operation.
- Workforce digital transformation and adaptation
- Machine intelligence application at work
- Application of Artificial Intelligence at work
- Cross – Disciplines of Learning System ( Multi – Skilling, Re-skilling at work-force)
- Working From HOME (WFH) and creating flexi-working culture among team members (no more micro-managing) – can this be applicable for resort operation?
- How should human capital developers ensure Team Members’ Social Sustainability
- Developing Training Programmes that would assist, team members mental well being
- Preparing team members for “Work- Cultural Transformation” in Post – COVID19 and beyond
- Preparing “teams” for Change Management during Digital Transformation
- Adopting work team in to “Tele-Commuting” – different digital platforms for meeting teams, HODs and event organization – to adhere physical distancing as required
- Emergence of “Different Talents Spectrums” in Post Covid 19 and preparing for those talent requirements( adjustments of Skills Gap, Developing Locals as required etc)
- Operational Manager, HODs to become mentors and coachers for team member in operation to achieve service expectation
As an industry leader in L&D, CCR, Training & Development team and its business leaders, are fully immersed in to the new “curve and wave of service expectation” expecting from hospitality industry. We are prepared and adapting in to the best -fit agile – learning culture required for the “Ever-normal” operational journey.
Zakariyya “Zaki” Easa is the Director of Training & Development at Crown & Champa Resorts.