Leading with Compassion: The Future of Hospitality Careers
On April 22, Valley Vision hosted a virtual regional advisory centered on the adaptations of the Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism industry through the pandemic. While the sector continues to represent employment below pre-pandemic employment levels, the Greater Sacramento region has recovered 40% of jobs originally lost in this sector. Nationally, wages have increased by almost $3.00 per hour to an average of $19.68.
The event featured keynote speaker Marc Sapoznik, President and CEO of Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism, labor market information from Aaron Wilcher, Research Director of the Center of Excellence, and an industry panel including:
- Shelly Moranville, General Manager, Residence Inn, Marriott
- Jonathan Modrow, Owner, Bottle & Barlow
- Brittany Claypool, Brand Strategist, Oak Park Brewing
- Andrew Moret, Director of Culinary, Oakmont Management Group
- Marc Sapoznik, President and CEO, Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism
During the event, panelists described changes and innovations within their companies including moving to fast-casual service with to-go options, producing canned beverages, advancing the adoption of technology, partnering to recruit for talent shortages, and turning a portion of their establishment into community rental space. As Shelly Moranville from Residence Inn, Marriott put it, “We’ve changed the way we do everything.”
The labor market information presented highlighted a need to fill management positions including General and Operations Managers, Food Service Managers, Personal Service Managers, Entertainment and Recreation Managers, Chefs, and Head Cooks. These positions also offer the highest earnings potential within the industry. The panel agreed on the need for training for management positions highlighting the burnout of their leadership teams from the toll of the pandemic.
Several panelists acknowledged investing more in their current workforce than in the past, including establishing “paths to success” for entry-level employees to gain the skills and experience necessary to prepare them for higher roles. Andrew Moret of Oakmont Management Group discussed their Executive Chef Training Program in development as an example of this upward mobility framework. The panel agreed that learning the career goals of individual team members and helping them achieve them was a best practice. This was just one example of a change to a more employee-centered culture including increased flexibility and accommodation of individual employee needs and schedules. Employers reported altering the availability requirements for existing workers and incoming hires to improve employee retention. As Ms. Moranville stated, “[We] have to be much more flexible to the needs of the associates, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As employers, [the pandemic] has forced us to shift and be more understanding of what’s going on in someone’s life.”
The panel agreed the need for high-quality soft skills or essential skills was desperately needed in employment candidates including communication, teamwork, leadership/initiative, cultural and self-awareness, and creativity/adaptability. Jonathan Modrow of Bottle & Barlow stressed the need for an “instinct for care and collaboration”. Mr. Moret closed us with critical words for today’s culture stating the need to lead with “compassion for guests, each other, and yourself” is greatly needed in today’s hospitality workforce.
Valley Vision’s employer and industry advisories are funded by Los Rios Community College District with Strong Workforce Program funds. Additionally, the Capital Region’s four workforce boards co-sponsor the advisories; SETA/Sacramento Works, Golden Sierra JTA, YoloWorks, and North Central Counties Consortium.
To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance a future-ready workforce in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!
Renee John is the Director of Workforce Development managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.