While it’s not uncommon for organizations to claim ‘our people are our greatest asset’, often these are empty words. Not so at Hilton, which has a refreshing twist on those words. “Our team members are at the core of our success, so we actually call them the Heart of Hilton,” explains Brendan Toomey, vice president of HR for Asia Pacific at Hilton. “And in order for our business to be successful, we need our team members to have their heads in the right state. So we took a decision to really think: What do we need to do to engage all of our team members? How do we capture their hearts and minds?”
He refers in particular to millennials, who are always looking for out-of-the-box benefits and solutions and constantly thinking about how their work can be elevated in terms of workplace, culture and purpose.
“We wanted to create an environment where people thrive, where our team members thrive, our business thrives. And that is now our overarching employee value proposition in the company,” Toomey says.
To put this concept of ‘thrive’ in practical terms, Hilton has partnered with Thrive Global, whose mission is “to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance, and purpose, and create a healthier relationship with technology”. The belief is that it’s not a zero-sum game – success does not come only at the price of well-being, but it’s in fact the other way around – only by putting well-being first can people be properly empowered for success.
With this in mind, all of Hilton’s HR strategies and initiatives are now placed under the Thrive umbrella, which is now split into three key areas – body, mind, spirit.
When talking about the body, the first thing that often comes to mind is living a healthier lifestyle. But Toomey explains that it goes beyond what happens in the body and also means looking at where the body is situated.
He illustrates this point by painting a familiar everyday scenario. “Imagine waking up at six o’clock in the morning and dragging yourself to work. You get to your workplace and it’s very dull and dim, and you’re hardly energetic and motivated to hand the customers a hearty breakfast.” Hilton is keen to overturn this stereotypical image of a dark and dingy behind-the-scenes for hotel staff by ensuring consistency all throughout the hotel in terms of quality of space and service.
This can be seen from the Heart of House program, which was designed to provide team members their own set of basic quality facilities that hotel guests normally have. “If you were to walk behind the scenes in a hotel, and if you were to go dine in one of our team members’ dining rooms, then you would have a similar experience if you were to dine in one of our guest-facing restaurants,” says Toomey. Apart from the healthy meals served, the staff dining rooms are also designed in such a way that’s conducive to learning and leisure, where team members can bring their laptops and connect to Wi-Fi and do their work or unwind – an environment wherein they can really thrive.
Team members are also encouraged to take a break, go around for a walk when needed, and to get enough sleep.