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5 Strategies for Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Hospitality

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Daniel Poulin,  Accor’s NCA LGBTQ+ Pillar lead shares his thoughts on how to effect change in Diversity and Inclusion.

Most people would agree that hospitality is behind other industries when it comes to diversity and inclusion.(D&I)

What are diversity and inclusion?

As Vernā Myers, VP, Inclusion Strategy at Netflix so eloquently puts it: “Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

What this inclusion looks like is something we are all trying to figure out as an industry. Here are 5 strategies for creating a more inclusive environment in your hospitality business.

Start with your own team

Hospitality is very behind other industries in this area. We are very white and very male, particularly our board rooms. We can begin by changing this is in our own workplaces. One cannot claim to be diverse and inclusive when this is not evident in your employment practices. Once you have the procedures that encourage D&I in place as a workplace, then you can put this before your guests.

 Have a realistic strategy

It’s not uncommon for companies to decide they’re going to hop on the D&I train and switch out their senior management teams to include, say, 30% BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) by next year or the year after. Wonderful! But how you are going to do that? If your boardroom is 99% white men and you don’t have a high level of turnover or a large budget to increase hiring, this is not a reasonable plan.

Don’t try to find solutions to racial inequalities or gender parity if you’re a white male. Remember, “nothing about us without us” should be your guiding principle. Always involve those who are members of that particular group as their lived experiences are key to a successful D&I strategy.

Reconsider hiring for “fit”

Companies commonly hire for cultural “fit,” meaning people who will “fit” in with the existing team. Where this becomes problematic is when your team becomes a bunch of people who look and behave the same way. Your guests are diverse and so your workforce should be. It’s time to rethink hiring for “fit” and seek out people with new and different experiences who are not like you and the rest of your team.

Explore ideas for how you can make people feel included

Beyond hiring and staffing, how can we create more inclusive environments? People are beginning to accept that not everyone identifies as male or female and not everyone is white and thin, and yet we still only offer male and female uniform options to our teams, and feature thin, white women in our marketing campaigns. We could have gender-neutral uniforms and marketing campaigns that show the whole spectrum of body shape and gender identity.

Understand that it’s not a quick fix

Research has proven that diversity is a winning strategy. Companies with a diverse workforce have better financial results and guest satisfaction. And being relatable to people with an array of life experiences can only be good for your brand.

These changes will take time and we will need people who have lived experiences that are different from our own to advise us. But it’s the way the world is moving and, like so many other developments and innovations, those who don’t adapt will feel the repercussions later.

Read the full article in Spa Executive Magazine here

Linda Harding-Bond
Linda Harding-Bond is shifting the paradigm on spa retail training. Her Express Online Retail Training Course is exactly what's needed for post-COVID-19 spa re-openings. Designed to bring your therapists' retail skills up to speed, it will quickly position retail as a robust alternate revenue stream. Linda has provided training for many world-class organizations including The Oberoi Group, St. Regis Hotel, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels, The Resort at Pedregal, GoldenEye Resort and Spa and Six Senses Resorts. She is author of "Listen, Engage, Sell!: The Foolproof Method for Increasing Spa Sales in 7 Days or Less" and "The New Esthy Handbook: an Essential Guide for Novice or Nervous Estheticians". Connect with her at Linda@Moontideconsulting.com .
Linda Harding-Bond

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