Despite a challenging global economy and a period of rapid change and development, the hospitality industry remains solid. And during times of great dynamism, it can often be difficult to determine how best to support - and best utilize - the next generation of industry talent, both from within and outside of our hospitality companies.
Louvre Hotels Group is Europe's second-largest hotel company and the tenth largest in the world. As a company, over the last several years we have experienced high levels of growth, both internationally and domestically (in France) to reach more than 1,000 hotels in 40 countries. It became clear that we needed to innovate and establish a process for recruiting, managing and placing hospitality managers in our hotels around the world.
With 19,000 employees worldwide, we noted that 20% of our employees were under the age of 25.
Seeing these trends, as a company, Louvre Hotels Group decided that it wanted to be a professional springboard. What would our best practices be for attracting, growing, training and retaining the best talent among our next generation? How could we provide the necessary training to our young employees to enable them to evolve within the Group along with our development?
We did so by creating a new platform for those who were “fast and curious.”
Beginning in 2009, Louvre Hotels Group implemented the original Fast and Curious program, a system of training courses which allow those who just graduated to develop their skills throughout their experience with the Group, and to fast track to the hotel general manager position within 12 to 18 months. With up to 90 percent of our new GMs coming from within the organization, we saw this as an inventive way to support, develop and place new GMs into our properties during our period of rapid growth.
We knew straight away that our goal was not to churn out new GMs en masse—in fact, quite the opposite. The program we designed was to accommodate between five and ten distinguished young graduate candidates per year who met the following criteria: a strong desire to move in the hospitality industry, an important potential for development, mobility in France and abroad, and a mastery of English.
To acquire all the skills necessary for the position of GM, the Fast and Curious group received intense training—both theoretical and practical. Throughout the program, the human resources department personalized the curriculum for each trainee, and then incorporated three major periods: two of apprenticeship with pairs of six and four months (including one abroad), and one mission as a solo GM for two to six months in Louvre Hotels Group hotels located in France and abroad.
Just this fall 2011, Nicolas Perelli became the first Fast & Curious program graduate to become a hotel general manager, and was recently appointed general manager of Campanile, Swindon (U.K.). A recent MBA graduate, he found that the Fast & Curious curriculum complemented his studies.
“It’s designed to connect you to reality, in a career that can be extremely demanding. You quickly realize that the hospitality industry requires quick evolution of managers who must be flexible and able to multi-task. MBA programs sometimes neglect that aspect of the business. An MBA program teaches you techniques, tools and know-how. But the ‘Fast and Curious’ program gives you time and space to experiment, learn and apply. Every day, I use the skills I learned in my MBA program. But it was also the ideal background to bring to the new program.”
Nearly two years on, and with our first Fast & Curious graduates moving into their GM positions, we are proud to continue on with this program. The new GM issue from Fast & Curious are having great results in their hotel, increasing turn over and GOP.
More than 300 candidates have applied in the last year! It is clear that we have hit the right chord, both in terms of supporting and enriching the experience of our employees, and also fitting the internal needs of our company. Louvre Hotels Group has continued on this innovative path to attract top talent, with a goal of recruiting 1,400 candidates in 2012, by becoming part of the “Job Around Me” smartphone application. With “Job Around Me,” candidates can directly find and apply for our Group’s job opportunities in their area in France. Here’s to a successful 2012!
Louvre Hotels Group and the Fast & Curious program: Lessons Learned
Pair candidates so that they are trained by, share and learn from, experienced GMs. They learn from actual experience and understand the key stakes of the industry.
Keep it exclusive. Provide the highest-quality program available for the most motivated trainees.
Invest in your employees, and they will invest in you. 90% of the Fast & Curious trainees have continued on to act as GMs or future GMs within Louvre Hotels Group.
Go international! Experience abroad was key in our program. Not only were trainees exposed to our different properties, but they were able to learn about the cultural differences that are so important to keep in mind in our industry.
Aurélia Chorrin is international human Resources manager for Louvre Hotels Group, headquartered in France. http://www.louvrehotels.com/en/index.html