How Hospitality Companies Can Drive Diversity and Inclusion in the Workforce

November 11, 2021 | Consumer Goods

With the plan to exceed 25 million tourists by 2025, UAE is projected to become one of the top global tourist destinations.

To take advantage of this tourism upswing, UAE hospitality and leisure companies need support from a talented and committed workforce that can deliver memorable experiences to guests. Finding such talent, will require hospitality companies to drive diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, as companies that prioritize diverse and inclusive working environments often outperform competitors and achieve better success with guests.

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce, however, will not happen overnight. Thoughtful and integrated strategies must be implemented to build such a culture and achieve the lucrative results.

What Does it Mean to Create a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce?

A diverse and inclusive workforce is one that represents, celebrates, and empowers all staff, regardless of who they are and where they sit within the organization.

A workplace is considered diverse when there is representation of different types of people, perspectives, and experiences. Diversity includes the representation of people of different ages, genders, religions, ethnicity’s, cultures, educational backgrounds, among others.

Workplace inclusivity comes from the celebration and empowerment of the diverse staff. When diverse staff members regardless of who they are and where they sit in the organization, feel safe, respected, and valued.

It is important to note that diversity and inclusivity are not so integrated that having one guarantees having the other. To truly be a diverse and inclusive workforce, companies must actively work to foster both facets.

The Importance of a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce in Hospitality

The hospitality industry is in the business of people. It is in the business of caring for and understanding guests in order to deliver memorable and enjoyable experiences.

To be able to understand guests and deliver great experiences, however, hospitality companies must be equipped with a strong workforce who is dedicated and talented. Staff that come into work every single day ready to host guests to the best of their abilities.

But as many hospitality companies know, finding qualified and talented staff is not always an easy thing to do. Retention rates are often low within the hospitality industry and talent can be hard to come by.

One of the best ways hospitality companies can find the type of talent and staff commitment they need is by focusing on developing a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Hospitality workforces that are diverse and inclusive often earn deeper trust and more commitment and are more likely to have staff that take pride in their work. This level of trust, commitment and pride often translates into better care and experiences for guests as the workforce feels empowered and confident to do their job to the best of their abilities.

Moreover, a diverse and inclusive workforce brings different viewpoints and perspectives that can often support a hospitality company in outperforming competitors and attracting highly skilled employees that further support the performance of the company.

How to Drive Diversity and Inclusion?

A diverse and inclusive workforce is not something that will happen on its own. Hospitality companies must place specific attention on creating initiatives and practices that enable such a culture.

Here are some ways hospitality companies can drive diversity and inclusivity in the workforce:

Foster a Welcoming Environment

Company culture plays a strong role in supporting the diversity and inclusivity efforts of a hospitality company. A welcoming environment needs to be created and fostered so that every person in the company feels safe, empowered, and capable of doing their job. Some things a company can do to foster a welcoming environment and culture is to:

  • Offer staff floating holidays to accommodate different religious and cultural events
  • Set firm zero-tolerance policies around racism and discrimination
  • Create spaces inside your business for staff members to connect with one another and build relationships
  • Host team bonding events, like team dinners or retreats, where deeper connections and relationships can be formed
  • Develop open lines of communication so team members feel empowered to voice any opinions or concerns that may arise

Eliminate Bias from the Hiring Process

To allow for equal opportunity in the hiring process and to build a diverse team of employees, it is important that diversity and inclusivity is represented among the hiring committee. Different positions, perspectives and types of people should be present on the hiring committee to avoid potential opportunities for bias.

Start From the Top Down

Creating an inclusive and diverse workforce starts at the top of the organization. The senior leadership team sets the tone for the rest of the company, and the make-up and actions of this team need to reflect core diversity and inclusivity values. It is important for hospitality companies to ensure that their senior leadership teams are made-up of a diverse set of people and that all of their opinions are heard and play a role in the decision-making process.

Provide Clear & Direct Communication

A diverse workforce will likely contain groups of people that speak multiple languages, and it will be common to have staff whose first language is not the one primarily spoken in the workplace. To foster inclusivity, it is important that companywide communications and training programs are offered in multiple languages or with translation services available. Every staff member should feel confident in their ability to understand and utilize the information shared with them so that they can work and perform as effectively as possible.

Leading To a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

For hospitality companies to create the best possible experience for their guests, they must focus on creating the best possible experience for their staff and making this a continuous process and not just a one-time effort. Implementing proper policies and procedures around diversity and inclusion is critical for hospitality companies and must be handled with attention and care.

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