RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Attracting College Grads with Technology-driven Tools

Hyatt resorts to new social networking functionality to better recruit new graduates.
by Randy Goldberg
As one of the world’s top operators of full-service luxury hotels and resorts with more than 365 hotels and resorts in more than 45 countries, Hyatt heavily relies on its human capital to differentiate itself from other brands. Established in 1957, it has grown to more than 75,000 employees, and attracting and retaining a workforce that’s motivated to provide a high level of service excellence—both innovative and customer-focused—requires constant attention and effort.

It is our talented workforce that is taking care of our customers that ultimately makes the biggest difference for Hyatt. To attract and retain a workforce that is able to provide this level of service, Hyatt needed to embrace emerging technology. Through these tools, Hyatt is finding future leaders through our college campus recruiting program. It’s these recruits that are Hyatt’s main source of talent for the Corporate Management Trainee (CMT) program.

Hyatt’s CMT program is designed for college graduates with a great potential to become a part of our top management team and to progress rapidly within the company. Hyatt uses the training program to provide employees the knowledge to understand Hyatt’s operations and management skills to ensure superior customer service. Trainees spend two months rotating through each department in the hotel before landing in their chosen area of concentration.

Hyatt consistently visits dozens of colleges and averages about 300 new CMT hires annually. Prior to Hyatt’s use of Taleo, there were many instances in which college students would not return paper applications and found the application process cumbersome. Hyatt is able to post job requisitions on its Taleo-hosted career portal to invite student to fill out applications before the college recruiters visit the campus. With the prescreening tools and assessments offered through Taleo, Hyatt evaluates all candidates through behavioral assessment that gauge cultural fit, customer service values, and work ethic. As a result, Hyatt staffing managers can identify the best student candidates and arrange personal meetings during the campus visit. Staffing managers focus on a targeted list of higher quality candidates quickly and spend time only with those that are best suited for the positions.

Once Hyatt has identified these top candidates, it uses online resources such as Facebook and Ning groups to start building relationships with the candidates applying for the CMT program before they even accept positions. The online groups are used to answer questions such as where to live and how to find roommates. Once a candidate accepts a position, these online groups are used to welcome the new employee to the Hyatt family.
In addition to these online communities, campus recruiters have embraced other technologies such as text messaging to communicate with college students. The ultimate goal is to reach the college audience in a way they are most comfortable communicating.

It also eliminates some of the paper waste previously dropped on campus. College recruiters are also able to access the Taleo system via Blackberry while on campus to see which positions have been filled and which positions are still open. This allows them to make job offers quickly to candidates.

In a further example of smart social media leverage, the company recently launched CMT YouTube video challenges to recent college graduates participating in the CMT program. One challenge encouraged the trainees to create videos talking about their CMT experience and their experience working at Hyatt. Selected videos are posted on explorehyatt.jobs that describe the CMT program and explain the hotel’s sustainability and environmental efforts. Since launching this program, these videos have recorded about 50,000 hits.

When Hyatt looked at all its different recruiting efforts, it was clear that the pipeline was increasing due to great branding and word of mouth, but these weren’t enough to match the growth needs. The only way to sustain application flow and global growth was to fully utilize Taleo. Prescreening and assessments tools from Taleo helped Hyatt get through nearly two million applicants globally to choose the best candidate.

Hyatt is using emerging technology to source, attract, and retain the workforce necessary to differentiate itself from its competitors. We are able to hire 350 trainees for the CMT program in the U.S. each year. Employees entering this program play a huge role in the success of Hyatt. Beyond filling entry-level management positions, these recruits directly affect customer satisfaction. Entry-level managers are key to making sure customers are satisfied.

The CMT program also has a long-term effect.  By embracing a variety of emerging technologies, we help new hires build relationships that are important to keeping them engaged. Hyatt retains more than 90 percent of employees who go through the CMT program. The program feeds the pipeline for future leaders at Hyatt. Many of the current leaders at Hyatt, including the COO for North America and the senior vice president of HR went through the corporate management training program.

In addition to grooming future leaders, Hyatt’s future strategies include enhanced global talent management capabilities, performance management, and even better articulated career paths. With a continued focus on global rollout, mobile applications, and voice response, the partnership with Taleo continues to grow and unified talent management vision sets the stage for a bright talent future even in uncertain times. HRO

Randy Goldberg is vice president of recruiting at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

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