AccorHotels Answers: Challenges to Women Leadership in the Hospitality Industry in APAC

January 27, 20168:32 am2775 views

Addressing issues and challenges to promoting women leadership in the hospitality industry in APAC, we sought valuable opinions through an exclusive interview with Patrick Ollivier, Chief Human Resources Officer – Asia Pacific, AccorHotels to draw understanding on the road blocks to maximising talent potential in the region. He threw light on the initiatives implemented by the hospitality chain to promote gender diversity at workplace, succession planning, rewards and recognition programs and more…

  1. What are the challenges to rising women leadership in Asia Pacific, in particular to the hospitality industry?

The hospitality industry runs 24/7; 365 days a year, demands great personal commitment, which can be challenging for both women and men in leadership positions. In some parts of Asia, women may face traditional cultural mind sets, wherein women in leadership roles are still a foreign concept.

  1. Tell us more about the hospitality industry management in APAC and HR management practices peculiar to the industry.

The rapid growth of our hotel network in the APAC region drives HR strategy, especially in the areas of talent development and talent management practices. We have quite a number of new management positions to fill within a short period of time; therefore we are on the lookout for qualified and experienced talents to join us.

A Leader Capability Framework supports our entire APAC network, and this forms the basis of all our HR initiatives. This framework helps reinforce the commonality between regions and highlights guidelines across all 13 brands, as well as hotels and corporate office roles.

Patrick Ollivier, Chief Human Resources Officer - Asia Pacific, AccorHotels

Patrick Ollivier, Chief Human Resources Officer – Asia Pacific, AccorHotels

  1. What are efforts/initiatives made by AccorHotels to promote gender diversity in workplaces?

AccorHotels’ gender diversity initiatives are:

a) Women at AccorHotels Generation (WAAG) is a motivated network to inspire women to evolve within the group. In its fight against stereotypes, the Group leverages on this platform to achieve the gender equality goal as well as provide a network of solidarity and support group to share experiences.

Women at AccorHotels Generation credo believes that diversity and multiculturalism is our common source of wealth.  We want more solidarity and respect among women and men by highlighting, and benefiting from the talent of every woman within our organisation. We aim for every woman to achieve her ambitious goals.

We currently have over 1,400 members in APAC and target to achieve 35% male members in Women at AccorHotels Generation worldwide.

b) AccorHotels is one of the 10 companies involved in the ‘HeForShe’ movement since May 2015. Three main areas of commitment developed around this initiative are:

  • Driving towards parity in pay and representation of women
  • Understanding and championing male engagement in this movement
  • Advancing our knowledge of the evolving ‘ideal work’ and a dynamic hospitality industry.

AccorHotels supports ‘HeForShe’ because we believe that both women and men are critical to achieving gender equality and promoting women’s empowerment.

c) In January 2015, AccorHotels signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, comprising seven principles on which a gender diversity policy can be based. This is supported by UN Women globally.

d) AccorHotels provides a Gender Equality Guide to educate general managers and managers of AccorHotels about gender diversity issues and share best practices from the group around the world.

See: How Can HR Managers Promote Women Leadership in an Organisation?

  1. How important is mentoring to support female leadership development and grooming women talent to achieve their full potential?

Mentoring, is a key component offered within the Women at AccorHotels Generation network, has 139 mentor-mentee pairings globally currently.

Mentoring efforts are made by our High Performing Leaders for Women leadership programmes to help women evolve within the group. Mentors share their experiences and provide support to their mentees who aspire career growth within the group.

  1. What are the policies enacted in place at the AccorHotels group to make it easier to find high-potential women and ensure they reach to top positions as general managers and assume leadership roles within the hospitality chain?

AccorHotels Asia Pacific has an established leadership programme – High Performing Leaders (HPL) for Women. This 12-month Asia Pacific Executive Development Program for experienced General Managers, Area General Managers and Head of Departments aims to enhance strategic thinking skills through a combination of face-to-face learning, online learning workplace projects, collaboration via social media with other participants and a presentation upon completion.

Two other annual AccorHotels Asia Pacific Executive Leaders Programs – International Hospitality Program (IHMP) and GM Pass saw more female participants this year, forming almost half of the successful pool of talent to join these coveted fast-track development programmes.

Participants are selected through a series of Assessment Centres held throughout Asia. We are confident of grooming AccorHotels Asia Pacific’s future general managers by providing them with appropriate and effective development opportunities.

An 18-month collective programme, IHMP is structured around 20 days of dedicated training sessions, a project component and a cross assignment throughout the region.

GM Pass is a 12-month individual self-driven programme, focused around the achievement of a Personal Development Plan, tailor-made based on the needs of each participant.

Women at AccorHotels Generation (WAAG) Celebrate Third Anniversary

Women at AccorHotels Generation (WAAG) Celebrate Third Anniversary

  1. What are the reward and recognition programs put up in place to make employees feel valued, appreciated and motivated for their contributions?

Recognition programmes for AccorHotels Asia Pacific are:

  • AccorHotels Excellence Awards, an annual programme running for the last three years is open to all employees working in hotels and corporate offices, as long as they are below General Manager level. This award acknowledges and pays tribute to employees whose exemplary behaviours embody AccorHotels’ values.
  • Bernaches Awards, the highest form of recognition within our Group, rewards exceptional achievements of our employees, hotels and corporate head offices as exemplary representatives of the Group’s culture.We value employees’ work and implicationin the Group. Employees whose work, actions and commitment embody Guest Passion, Respect, Innovation, Sustainable Performance, Trust and the Spirit of conquest are awarded, The Bernaches, the AccorHotels’ symbol.

In addition, each country/region has their own local programmes to recognise their teams such as the Best Employee of the Year Award in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore or the Peopleologist of the Year Award in Australia.

  1. What are the succession planning strategies or processes implemented at Accor to future proof organisation?

Our succession planning initiatives are defined for all top senior executives and re-evaluated every sixmonths.  A development programme and talent potential management (HR, marketing, finance, etc.) are available as part of our succession planning to support functions at a regional level.

  1. What are the health and safety measures recommended and implemented at Accor Hotels to promote employee wellbeing and create healthy workplace culture?

AccorHotels has published an Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Charter as well as a Diversity Commitment Guide. Both serve as guiding principles to ensure that the workplace is a healthy environment that respects work life balance, welcoming towards others, accepting and valuing differences.

We believe that this is the key to our collective success, as it drives AccorHotels’ sustainable growth and harmonious development for the benefit of all our stakeholders.

The Diversity Commitment at AccorHotels comprises:

  • Combating all forms of discrimination
  • Equal Opportunities for all
  • Diversity Training and awareness-raising for employees
  • Publicising actions taken to promote diversity
  • Sharing our demands
  • Reflecting diversity in offer of products and services
  • Encouraging debate and assessing our diversity initiatives
  • Effective governance for strategy and monitoring

Also read: In Conversation with Datuk Alexandra Chin: Empowering Women to Assume Leadership Roles in South East Asia

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