Image: Mexy Xavier
Miguel Munoz faces the same challenges as the service sector: Attracting and retaining talent in an industry that has postings in remote areas and no fixed hours. Munoz, who joined Mahindra Holidays in 2016 and has been in the hospitality industry for over three decades, has his own solutions. Upskilling, enabling people to multi-task and trusting them are some of the strategies he employs.
“It’s a difficult industry to bring in young talent. So we try and bring excitement into their lives. It’s not just the day-to-day work… when they work with us they will have an opportunity to have a career and there can also be [an element of] self-expression to it,” he says.
Employees are encouraged, even incentivised with extra pay, to develop skills and pursue a passion. The resorts have activities for customers, and employees are encouraged to participate. “It’s about getting people to multi-task… so the housekeeper good at dancing has the opportunity to break the routine, and by doing that, make work more exciting,” the 57-year-old explains.
The organisation allocates training time and resources to upskill employees so that they are able to perform in front of customers and engage with them. “This adds value to the customer experience and is great for the company,” says Munoz, adding that attrition has come down by nearly 50 percent over the last year or so.
The Spain-born and Australia-educated manager had worked in The Netherlands, Spain and Australia before he got an offer from Sterling Resorts in 2013 to work in India. At the end of three years, he joined Mahindra Holidays, which has 60 resorts, 40 of them across India. Munoz has about 20 people directly reporting to him and 3,000 that he is responsible for. “You don’t know people’s true potential unless you give them the opportunities. You have to give them your trust and confidence, and facilitate them with all the resources, which we do,” he says.
When the company opens up a new resort, for instance, they take an up-and-coming manager and put them in charge. Says Munoz, “We put them in the limelight and say, ‘This is your baby, you’re in the driving seat’. [This way] we’ve got some of the best managers that were, say, heads of department a few months ago.”
Munoz finds it rewarding to facilitate leadership and develop skillsets at the local level, since 40 to 50 percent of resort staff are from local areas.
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(This story appears in the 10 May, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)