Leadership and Generation Y

New Leaders, Traditional Values: Part Two

On October 1st EP, together with the partners showcased below, hosted a thought-provoking and insightful conference that brought together industry leaders to discuss the changing landscape of leadership and the industry’s return to traditional values. This is the second in a series of eshots exploring the topics covered during the event.

Angela VickersHow is the hospitality industry preparing for the leaders of tomorrow?
Angela Vickers, the Managing Director at Apex Hotels, prompted the leaders in the audience to think about how their organization is preparing for the new generation coming through the industry. After completing her modules for her Executive Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Leadership programme from Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, Angela chose to present a thesis on “Developing an effective leadership strategy for Generation Y”.
The following are some key characteristics of Generation Y that Angela presented for the audience to consider: Gen Y are individuals born between 1981 and 2000, there were raised during a period of economic prosperity by active parents who lavished attention on them, they are immersed in technology and are comfortable doing most things in a group or team. When looking at the sector, it is important to consider that 56% of hospitality workers were Gen Y in 2010 and this number has kept on growing. Within a highly competitive sector, all businesses have two important factors which drive competitive edge and customer service: the quality of customer interaction and most importantly the standard of service delivery. As hospitality businesses generally rely on the younger labour pool to staff frontline positions, the engagement and education of the Generation Y workforce is crucial for success. It is therefore important that hospitality HR practices pay cognizance to this emerging leadership pipeline. Angela noted,
“The traditional leadership framework that exists does not fit the current and projected set of circumstances we are facing. We have not adjusted to accommodate for the unique traits of Gen Y compared to previous generations. Gen Y is entering the workforce without the skills & competencies to be successful leaders of the future.”

Conference Conference 2

To combat this current situation Angela outlined some solutions developed from her thesis that included ‘action’ learning – taking a real time business issue and allowing apprentices or young leaders to collaborate via project work to resolve the problems presented to them. Angela’s presentation resonated with the audience and triggered much debate.

Conference 3

The following panel brought along a diverse group of key players across the industry to talk about different aspects of leadership.
Chaired by Michael Gottlieb, the panel consisted of
• Chris Penn, General Manager of ACE Hotels UK
• Allister Richards, Managing Director, Gather & Gather
• Dominic Lake, Managing Director, Canteen
• Paul Loebenberg, Group Operations Manager, Drake & Morgan

Key highlights included:
On how the industry differentiates itself: “The only thing that isn’t replicable in our industry is the culture our business imparts to consumers”– Allister Richards

On how to encounter success as a leader: “You’re going to be more successful as a leader in a business where you can be genuine”– Chris Penn

It is important not to lose traction on such an important topic so the team at EP is already planning a follow-up conference in 2015. For more information on upcoming events or to get more involved, please contact Arlene McCaffrey

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