Finding good staff is a big challenge for the industry; applicants with experience seem to be job hoppers, turnover is inevitable, and the millennial generation has far too short an attention span. What is an HR manager to do?

The new generation candidates would randomly try every position possible with enthusiasm, however, without passion and loyalty in the long term,” said Chanokporn Sintuvatin, Director of Human Resources at the JW Marriott in Bangkok.

Parkpoom Chinmeteepituck, Dusit Corporate Director of Human Resources agreed, but focuses on trying to address the problem. “I believe in grooming, teaching and training. If you have right attitude the rest of the job will be done, but are we ready to do that? At Dusit we invest in training, making them loyal.”

Loyalty is crucial, because good staff will always attract offers from elsewhere, especially in cities with rival hotels on every street. “Dusit has a program to retain staff – a good career plan and training program; we want to promote internally … look from the inside first,” Parkpoom explained.

Promoting staff from within is a useful strategy. Not only does it motivate staff, but it’s easier for HR managers to identify desirable attributes in candidates they already know. That might be far less risky than bringing in someone new from outside. I recently came across a service staff member who confessed that she wanted to leave her job because her new boss, the Restaurant Manager, was so difficult to deal with, so finding good management level employees can be even more important because the manager in one particular position can affect so many other people.

Elizabeth Chan, the HR Manager of the Dusit Corporation concurred. “Higher positions are hard to find; they have to fit the company culture, know the location and its people, and lead their team well. Being a Thai brand we want a local Thai for our Thailand properties.”

Hotels want to hire people who are willing to be taught and will be dedicated to the job. Looking through websites and campuses are popular ways of searching for talent, while recruitment agencies are the least popular choice. I used to work for a recruitment company that specialized in executive positions. We recruited for almost every industry – but hospitality was the exception because identifying the right candidate could be just too complicated. All too often the qualifications and experience were right, but something else would be missing.

Elizabeth agreed. “We have used them before,” she said, but now “we**prefer to recruit candidates on our own. We want to see the whole thing – how passionate they are, their attitude, etc.”

A big pool of candidates can be an advantage but it still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find that special candidate who’s a perfect match. “Don’t believe everything that’s written in the resume,” cautioned Elizabeth. “Always call to check references – a lot of candidates couldn’t make it because of that,” she added.

Finding good staff and keeping hold of them is never easy. There are always bigger hotels with bigger budgets across the street, so make sure you keep your staff happy – because if you can take care of them, they will take care of you.