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SPOTLIGHT ON Vicente Jaramillo, Southern California Director of Talent & Culture, Accor

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
26 October 2021
3 min read
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Company culture and employee satisfaction are high on the agenda as Vincente Jarmillo talks about keeping employees engaged and invested in growing their career with Accor.

How important is company culture in developing employees who are empowered and inspired?
Vicente JaramilloCompany culture is one of the most important aspects when running a successful hotel. Culture is key to unlocking our organization’s greatest potential. Great work culture and employee satisfaction aren’t just about the job — the worker must be willing to empower themselves. Modern workplace cultures engage employees in open dialogue, inspire them, and empower them to collaborate to reach successful business decisions. Organizations that invest in their employees’ development have higher employee engagement, increased profitability, and decreased turnover. Creating a culture of learning, whether through a common learning portal or a career development path in your organization, is one of the best ways to engage and retain employees. Giving them opportunities to develop new skills and learn will help them grow in their current role or expand into new roles within the company.

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How are you navigating fluctuating staffing levels?
Mainly by constantly evaluating business flow. These include planning, recruitment, selection, decision making, job offer, and retention system. Staffing the organization requires attention to both the number (quantity) and the type (quality) of people brought into, moved within, and retained by our organization. Observing and evaluating regular business flow offers key insights into staffing needs. I also believe that an informal but effective way to determine optimal staffing levels is to talk to managers about their needs, to pay attention to customer experience, to keep bases covered, and finally to use competitors as benchmarks.

What strategies have you put in place to make staff feel safe and understood?
To make sure employees feel safe, it is important to conduct thorough training, ensure everyone has the right tools, and implement safety protocols right from the start. It’s crucial to use labels and signs, keep things clean, and have regular equipment inspections. It’s also a good idea to partner with occupational clinics or a health organization for employees’ wellness, and encourage stretch breaks throughout the day. And finally, safe behavior should always be rewarded!

To make sure employees feel understood, the culture should celebrate individualism, focus on increasing trust, and encourage compassion from management. Leaders should show employees to own their voice in the organization, that their contribution matters, and that it is okay to make a mistake (and own up to it).

How can the luxury hotel industry raise the bar on talent retention?
I believe the luxury hotel industry can raise the bar on talent retention by following three simple rules. First, start by hiring the right people. Second, support your employees to retain them longer. And third, take care of your workers by encouraging a positive work environment.

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