Every year I look forward to attending and presenting at the Cornell HR in Hospitality Conference. It is a great time to connect with clients, contacts, and to learn from the best and brightest in the hospitality industry.
The three big themes this year seemed to be: (1) #metoo and the many repercussions thereof; (2) the struggle to get the best talent in an era of low unemployment; and (3) the uncertainty of immigration laws and how to best protect valued employees and still comply with the changing legal landscape.
On the issue of #metoo (an issue we have blogged about many times over), my takeaways were:
- Implement a “safe word” for colleagues to use with each other if someone is making them uncomfortable for any reason, without having to go to HR; I note my millennial niece often simply announces “uncomfortable.”
- It is important for leaders (especially male leaders) to really listen to women and how these issues have impacted them, and not simply “mansplain” (and if you don’t know what that means you are likely doing it).
On the issue of recruiting the best talent, there was lots of talk about how to define the company culture in a way that attracts desired recruits. One panel discussed performance assessments and how they are too long and complicated, and often do not mirror the company’s cultural values. Some ideas there were:
- Simplify and shorten
- Provide reviews quarterly instead of annually
- Ask fun questions: What is your superpower and why?
- Make them forward looking
- Embrace anonymous 360 reviews, up and down the scale, so candid feedback can be provided
And finally, on the issue of immigration, on the one hand there is compassion for employees. One panelist told a story about an employee who needed time off because her mother was deported and at 20 years old (and a citizen), she was suddenly responsible for the care of her 6 year old sister.
On the other hand, employers also have to deal with AB 450 (the California Immigration Worker Protection Act), which prohibits CA employers from granting access to immigration officials at a place of labor without a judicial warrant. As of last week, this law is being challenged under federal law. In addition, there is increased Federal I9 enforcement, so employers with concerns in that area should be proactive in reviewing those I9s. Bottomline, it is time to have immigration counsel on speed dial, or subscribe to our firm’s blog on that subject.
All in all, a great conference. Hope to see you there next year (March 25-27, 2019 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas)!