"We want to make sure when somebody tweets out that there's a job at a particular hotel, but if they're on their iPhone or mobile device and they click on that link for that job, they should be able to read what that job is. Right now, most companies if you clicked on that job link, it's taking you to a major ATS vendor, you're not going to get a mobilized version of that job and you're not going to be able to apply, right? That doesn't make for a good candidate experience." Randy GoldbergWelcome to Insights Amplified, a monthly podcast featuring interviews with the movers and innovators in talent acquisition, staffing and corporate human resources. Insights Amplified is a production of Riviera Advisors, helping organizations improve, enhance and optimize their corporate recruiting and staffing capabilities through sophisticated levels of expertise and tactical and strategic global acquisition, and by TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration.
Randy Goldberg is responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of Hyatt's recruiting programs and initiatives to ensure that Hyatt's talent needs are met. Randy works cross-functionally to establish Hyatt's Talent Acquisition strategy and integrate them into business plans and company-wide practices. These efforts have led to recent recognition for Hyatt including BusinessWeek's "Best places to launch a career", CollegeRecruiter.com's "top employer list" and others. Peter Clayton met with Randy at the recent HCM Summit in Boston, where he took part in a panel discussion focused on talent acquisition options and innovations.
Goldberg has worked with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts for over 24, years. His career started with Hyatt's Corporate Management Training Program which led to several operations management positions in properties in Southern California and then Human Resource generalist positions that included positions in Texas and Atlanta Georgia where he was the Divisional Director of Human Resources overseeing the HR function of 25 properties.
Randy Goldberg TotalPicture Radio Interview Transcript
Welcome to Insights Amplified, a monthly podcast featuring interviews with the movers and innovators in talent acquisition, staffing and corporate human resources. Insights Amplified is a production of Riviera Advisors, helping organizations improve, enhance and optimize their corporate recruiting and staffing capabilities through sophisticated levels of expertise and tactical and strategic global acquisition, and by TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration.
This is Jeremy Eskenazi, managing principal of Riviera Advisors. Our guest today on Insights Amplified is Randy Goldberg, Vice President of Recruiting for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Randy has worked with Hyatt for over 24 years, starting with Hyatt's corporate management training program, which led to several operations management positions in properties in Southern California and then human resource generalist positions, that included positions in Texas and Atlanta, where he was the division director of Human Resources, overseeing the HR function of 25 properties. Randy has been very active with the education community, recently sitting on the Board of International Cree and Association of Hospitality Educators.
Why do we want to interview Randy for Insights Amplified? I started my HR career with Hyatt as a part of the Hyatt Corporate Management Trainee Program at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco many years ago. Hyatt is an organization committed to recruiting great talent and investing in their HR and recruiting process. I'm sure you'll gain a good deal of insight regarding the recruiting practices of a true, world class organization from our interview with Randy Goldberg.
Peter: Thanks Jeremy. In his role as VP of recruiting for Hyatt, Randy is responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of Hyatt's recruiting programs and initiatives to ensure that Hyatt's talent needs are met. Randy works cross-functionally to establish Hyatt's talent acquisition strategy and integrate them into business plans and company-wide practices. These efforts have led to recent recognition for Hyatt, including Business Week's Best Places to Launch a Career, collegerecruiter.com's Top Employer list, and others.
Randy, thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today on TotalPicture Radio's Insights Amplified.
Randy: Great. Thanks, Peter.
Peter: Thank you. What's different today regarding your talent acquisition priorities than perhaps a year ago?
Randy: Peter, I'll tell you primarily our strategy - and I think this is one of the things I really enjoy about working with our company - is always very kind of long term thinking. The basic pieces of our strategy, for the most part, stay the same. Now obviously we make little tweaks each year, looking at different metrics, trying to figure out how to make our process a little bit more efficient. But the core of it is always about (1) is that the quality of the hire. Obviously we're hiring people that are interacting with our customers face-to-face everyday and that's really the core differentiator for Hyatt.
Almost everything we do around our strategy is around how do we find those best people and hopefully how do we find them in a relatively quick timeframe as well.
Peter: Let's take this a step further, Randy; how is your recruiting team structured? Do you use internal? Do you use RPOs, contract, contingency? How do you go about finding the people you need?
Randy: That's a good question. I think always, whenever I try to explain that, I said it always sounds a little different to me than I think some other companies structure this. For us, we have recruiters in the field and obviously, for Hyatt that's out in our hotels. Each of our properties has its own recruiting staff and then at our corporate office, we have a staff that obviously puts the structure and strategy together. We manage any of the systems throughout Hyatt, our applicant training systems, career sites, social media management, all those pieces are managed from a corporate perspective. All of our college pieces are also managed out our corporate office as well.
It's a little bit of a different setup, so there's pieces that are centralized and then there are pieces that are definitely de-centralized. In fact, when we start looking outside the US and globally, most of the recruiting efforts is really very localized.
Peter: You bring up something very interesting because one of the things I've heard in the recruiting world is that you may be a global organization, but all hiring is really local. You really have to respect the culture and traditions within the markets that you're recruiting for.
Randy: Yes, Peter, that's exactly right. A lot of companies have really tried to centralize their recruiting process and there's some definitive advantages around that. We are starting to move in that direction, but we're trying to do that in a localized manner. Instead of taking all of our recruiters and putting them in one location and saying you're going to kind of acting like a call center and take care of recruiting activities, we have put recruiters put together that are much more localized. We have someone covering maybe Southern California and somebody covering Dallas, areas where we have multiple hotels and they're able to leverage the efficiencies being in a city where there's multiple Hyatt locations.
Peter: One thing I'm really interested in is how do you get the field level HR leaders at the hotels to participate in shared recruiting concepts and sort of the program that you're trying to implement?
Randy: I'll tell you Peter, a lot of it is actually driven by them, by the hotels themselves. Everything we do and every part of our strategy that we come up with really starts with the feedback that we've received from the local properties. That is where 95% of all of recruiting is happening. Obviously, we have a very large hourly workforce and there are higher volume-type recruiting that we're focusing on. So it's essential that they're a part of that strategy and a part of making it actually happen at the hotel.
Peter: Right. I would imagine that in some of these properties, that you have unionized employees. Is that correct?
Randy: Yes, absolutely. That's typically in the major cities, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. We've got properties that have union representation and a lot of properties that don't.
Peter: How do you balance that mixture as far as recruiting is concerned? How do you go about balancing the req load of a recruiter who in, let's say in one of your facilities, that is recruiting not only for the unionized hourly laborers but also for senior level people who are running the food and beverage stuff and sales.
Randy: Sure. That can definitely be a little bit of a challenge. I'll tell you though, if we're recruiting - let's look at an hourly position. We are recruiting a front desk agent or clerk at a hotel and one is union and one is non-union. Sometimes that happens within the same city. Really the person that we're looking for and the qualities that we're looking for, there's really no difference at all, right? I mean we're trying to find some people that are good at interacting with people, people that are good at multitasking because they are often having to do several things at one time, people that are typically very flexible in their schedule. The representation by union or not, from a recruiting standpoint, really doesn't make any difference for us at all.
Now from a recruiter-workload standpoint, we definitely have to try to balance that out because these hourly positions can be much higher in volume. Our typical recruiter can be handling as much as 50 open requisitions at a time. The management ones might take a little bit more time and effort. We definitely try to balance that out and if we see there's certain peaks happening for certain recruiters, we'll definitely have some assistance come in to help them out because we don't want that time to fill to get too out of hand. We'll sometimes shift some of the workflow to other recruiters as assistance is needed. Just an example, if we have somebody in Dallas over the summer, obviously there's not so much recruiting happening at that time right, because there's not as much business.
Peter: It's too darn hot!
Randy: It is way too hot. But if we take a look at San Diego over the summer, that's a little bit busier. So their req workload might go up, so we might shift some of those requisitions to one of our recruiters actually in another area, and it's typically those types of requisitions that are easier to manage from a distance.
Peter: How do you go about measuring the success of your recruiters? You mentioned at the beginning everything is about the quality of hire. So what metrics do you have in place to say, 'this recruiter is bringing in really great people. The retention rate is great.' How do you go about doing that?
Randy: So there's a few key metrics that Hyatt takes a look at and we utilize those metrics when we measure our recruiters' effectiveness as well. Those are things like engagement. Obviously, we just heard that a lot in our session today, but engagement is a key piece to making sure that we've got employees that are taking care of our customers.
Then we look at our actual customer service scores within our hotels as well. It's pretty interesting; we're actually able to pinpoint the service levels down to the specific employees. So it's not even necessarily saying, "I had a good experience in the restaurant." I can say 'this particular server had this type of score over a period of time.' Then we'll relate that back to the quality of the hire and the job that the recruiter did.
In addition, and something else we do quite a bit of, our other customers as recruiters is the hiring manager. That is our customer. We do survey our customers quite a bit to make sure that they're satisfied with the quality of the candidates that they feel like they're getting and the timeliness of getting those candidates as well. So a big part of their performance is based on that feedback from the hiring.
Peter: In another session here at the HCM Summit was Jeremy Shapiro this morning talking about talent analytics and how you go about measuring those kinds of things. Talk to us a little bit about your use of analytics and how you take those numbers and put those into actionable results.
Randy: Jeremy did a great job just being very transparent. This is one of those areas that while we definitely have different measurements that we use, that I think we can all do a better job of. Trying to correlate what happens when you have a high performer that comes into your organization as a result of the recruiting process, versus someone that's maybe a little bit more mediocre and putting, I guess, a measurement and cost to that, I think is always the best type of analytic that you can actually get. But as I just said, for us right now, that quality of hire and ultimately what the customers are telling us in terms of what their interaction is and what those scores are, which obviously we do quite a bit of, is really the most important measurement that we look at.
Peter: Jeremy was talking a lot about using customer satisfaction scores as really the driving force for the whole recruiting process.
Randy: Yeah, he spoke a little bit about Caesars, and as he was talking about it, I was kind of back there smiling a little bit because it is so similar to what we do as well. Obviously, whether it's a casino or a hotel, in Hyatt's case obviously the hotel business, it's very, very similar in regards to what we are trying to achieve.
Peter: As I mentioned in the open, Hyatt has been recognized by Business Week as having the best places to launch a career and College Recruiter as the top employer. What incentives have you put in place that have created this competitive advantage for your business?
Randy: Peter, for Hyatt - and I'll tell you, I started off with Hyatt going through Hyatt's Management Training Program out of school as well. The program is very similar to what it was when I went through it about 25 years ago. It's very much a part of the culture of Hyatt. Ultimately, a lot of companies talk about their employment brand today and that's something we focus on as well.
When I talk about employment brand, I'm not speaking of it from a marketing tagline perspective. I'm talking about it as, what is the real employment experience in the workplace? Ultimately for Hyatt, when we bring people in and on board, put them through this training programs, it truly is a very good training experience. This is not something where we say you're going to go through a program but you're just kind of thrown in. It's very structured. There's a lot of follow up. There's a lot of development and that experience has been very positive. Ultimately, it's those people that are talking about Hyatt and their experience.
Peter: You mean it's not just a Facebook fan page?
Randy: It's not. We have that, of course. One of the great things about social media is that those people that go through the experience can share the experience. It's not so much about Hyatt talking about our training program or putting that information on our corporate career site, because that's always going to look good. That's good for any company. But when you can get your own employees to start talking about their experiences and sharing that, that's very authentic. I think any candidate seeing that is going to see that that's real and probably think pretty highly of the company.
Peter: When you look at all of the social media sites now, like Glassdoor and Vault.com and now theFIT that just launched, the transparency is out there. Employees are going to be talking about your organization from their perspective. Companies can't control this message anymore.
Randy: You cannot control it and you shouldn't try to control it. You should obviously have a voice in the message, which is really what we use social media for. We don't use it from the standpoint of we're going to go out and try to seek out candidates, like search through Twitter for people talking about hotel jobs, but we do use it to share what the Hyatt experience is about.
Peter: We'll return to our interview with Randy Goldberg after this short break.
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Peter: We talked a little bit about global recruiting at the beginning of this interview and the last time I looked, you have 483 properties in 45 countries. Talk to us a little bit more about that because it's not only that you have all these different properties, you have a number of different brands out there.
Randy: That's a great point. For Hyatt, like many other companies, a lot of our growth right now is outside of the United States. While there is still growth within North America, most of that growth is in Asia, including China and other countries. Obviously managing the recruitment process in other countries starts to get a little bit more complex. It's one thing to say we're going to have these systems and structures together for a specific country, but it's very different when you start to spread that out amongst 44 other countries.
There are some key pieces that stay the same. We make sure our applicant tracking system is used globally so that our own internal people, as well as external people, can see all the job openings that are available with Hyatt. There are also some key pieces in terms of what the employment experience looks like, to make sure that that is consistent across the globe as well. But the actual recruiting that's done day-to-day becomes a little bit more tweaked based on the country that they're recruiting in. We leave most of the day-to-day recruiting efforts up to the local hotels in those specific countries.
Peter: One of the things that has become part of the conversation again at these conferences that I attend in recruiting, leadership and HR, is the candidate experience. How would you rate your candidate experience?
Randy: I love that question. It's one of those things we have focused on over the last two years. Of course I would love to tell you we have a great candidate experience but I think it's one of those things that you always say cautiously. We have a lot of people apply to Hyatt every year. A lot. We'll have a typical requisition, let's say at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for a front desk agent might have 500 people apply. We'll select one person out of the 500. So trying to make sure the other 499 have a good experience is a little bit challenging.
One of the things we did when we started working our employment brand is we focused on each stage of the employee experience and that stage really started with the recruiting piece. We call that the introduction stage.
When someone first starts to seek you out, they're starting to get an impression about who you are and what your company is about. We obviously also know that these are people that could end up being Hyatt customers in the future, so we want to make sure that they have a good experience. We've put together some standards with our recruiting staff and with our hiring managers around communication, how long it takes to get back to somebody, and then we've put in some automated processes as well that helps us out with that.
Just an example, when somebody first applies, first of all, obviously they're going to get a note immediately that says, "Thank you for applying." But in that same note, we're going to let them know that you're going to hear back from a recruiter within typically 5 to 7 days, to let you know if we're going to continue to consider you or not. That might sound a little bit harsh, but that is what happens sometimes; sometimes someone does not meet those requirements.
Peter: If you've got 500 applicants for one job, chances are maybe 15% actually are qualified out of that 500. Is that right?
Randy: That's exactly right. But we think it's fair to let them know that upfront. Let's just tell them upfront that you're not qualified for this job, we'd still love to consider you for these other positions, but let's let you know about that upfront. Anybody that we end up interviewing in person, we always follow up with in person. It's not going to be just an email that somebody gets once I've interviewed somebody, but we will call that person and let them know either what the next stage is or again, if we're not going to continue considering them.
We have those same standards around how the hiring managers work with our candidates as well because sometimes that's where the gap starts to form. The recruiter might do a great job in staying in contact with a candidate, but when it's passed on to the hiring manager, sometimes it can get lost.
What's great about this is our operation has really kind of dived into this. They know how important it is. I think we all just know as people how important it is, right? Everyone wants to have that certain respect level to be followed up with. I think we've definitely made some great headway but this is one of those things that I think all of us need to continue working on.
Peter: Let's take a look at this front desk agent a little bit further. You've got 500 applications. How long is the process before you actually make an offer? What's your time to fill on a position like that?
Randy: It's going to depend a little bit but typically, that type of role, we're going to fill within a two-week period. In some of the locations now, where we have this more of an area recruiting position. You can imagine in a place like Chicago, they're not just recruiting for Hyatt Regency Chicago, they would be recruiting for our other hotels in the city as well. If another property just had that same position open, and then another property opens it up a day later, that recruiter might have had 2 or 3 other candidates they had already screened, had already spoken to, already felt really positively about and because of that, those people might be interviewing the very next day the positions that actually posted.
In some cases, it can even be shorter. It could be less than a week. In most cases for that type of role, it's going to be about a two-week timeframe.
Peter: What that says to me is, when you make a hire, there's probably top 2 or 3 candidates that you make a decision on and someone is putting a note into some database somewhere saying, "This is a great candidate. They fit into our culture. We need to stay in touch with this individual."
Randy: That's exactly right. Again, that's where I think our newer structure where we don't necessarily always have one person in one hotel is really able to maximize that because they've met the person, they're a little bit more tied to that person in trying to make sure that this is someone I've identified, already met and would be great. As soon as that opportunity comes about, they can pull them up in the database, contact them and get them connected to the other hotel.
Peter: How closely do you work with human resources?
Randy: I'm going to tell you, very, very closely since in our case, we are part of human resources. Obviously recruiting is always a little bit unique, but my background is more of a HR generalist. It's got to be a part of the recruiting process. Whenever I talk about recruiting, one of the first things I talk about is what are we doing around engagement and retention. If we can do better there, then my job becomes lot easier as well. That obviously involves all the different HR strategies also.
Peter: And on boarding?
Randy: And on boarding, yeah, absolutely.
Peter: What other departments do you work with at Hyatt on a consistent basis to map out your talent acquisition strategies and what resources are they able to contribute to your team?
Randy: Most of our focus is on our operational areas of Hyatt. So if you think about a hotel, most of the staff is either focused around the rooms part of the hotel. All those departments that make up the rooms division, those are the front desk agents, those are the housekeepers, those are the guest service people. Or the food and beverage functions, the banquet servers, food servers, etc. That's most of the company really because that's where most of our employees are. We work very closely with those people that manage those particular areas, both at a high and at a low level.
We meet with them periodically. If we see that there may be issues or challenges happening, we then work with them on what the strategy should be. An example of this is, most of our management positions are filled internally. Typically 80, 85% of all of our management positions come from within, which is great.
Peter: Back to your management training.
Randy: Yeah, it goes right back to that. That's kind of the feeder. We found that in some of our food and beverage positions, we were having a little bit of a struggle and had to go outside a little bit more. Not a lot, but a little bit more. That was an area that was difficult for us, from a cultural standpoint because we are always wanting to find the internal person, and just from a skills standpoint because we didn't have recruiters that specifically focused on management food and beverage positions. So working with our food and beverage group, we came here and said, "We really think we need to have somebody that just builds the pipeline of these F&B positions."
In fact, that was a conversation that happened last year and working with them, they wanted this to happen and we wanted this to happen. We ended up with some food and beverage specific recruiters. It's just a good example of the only way that that type of thing is going to happen where you're going to get the buy-in is when the strategy is formulated together.
Peter: I'm interested in your use of social media. Do you work with your marketing or sales departments on formulating social media strategies around recruiting?
Randy: We do. It's a little interesting for us because we actually started going down the social media path before Hyatt officially did as a company. We kind of had pieces already out there and going, and in fact, when Hyatt overall marketing started to get involved, they came to us. Then we started to have all of those types of conversations.
What should the voice feel like that's coming from Hyatt?
How do we manage the consumer channels versus the employee channels, because sometimes those two things kind of cross with each other, which is actually a good thing, but we need to talk about what that looks like.
How do we make sure that we're not commenting on something and Hyatt overall is commenting on it as well? We'll make sure that those messages are very clear.
We do work very closely with our marketing and PR group on that. I think that's the only way to do it. In Hyatt's case, we really felt it was important though that those audiences usually are a little bit different. Some companies might try to group it all under the company and the company name and their customers and employees. Most of our channels have the consumer version and the jobseeker version - whether that's Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, you'll see both versions with all those different types.
Peter: We had the good fortune of meeting here in Boston at the HCM Summit. You participated in a panel discussion focused on talent acquisition options and innovations. Can you tell us a little bit some of the bullet points from your presentation regarding talent acquisition options and innovations at Hyatt?
Randy: I'll tell you, most of what we do and I kind of mentioned this before, always revolves around the employment brand and the candidate experience. So any of the innovation that we're usually focusing on is usually trying to support those two initiatives. A lot this isn't necessarily new. It's just trying to make it better, right? So we want to make sure that it's great that somebody tweets out that there's a job at a particular hotel, but if they're on their iPhone or mobile device and they click on that link for that job, they should be able to read what that job is, right? Right now, most companies if you clicked on that job link and it's taking you to a major ATS vendor, you're not going to get a mobilized version of that job and you're not going to be able to apply, right? That doesn't make for a good candidate experience.
Peter: No it doesn't.
Randy: A lot of the things we focus on are those types of things. Hyatt actually, several years ago, we put together a mobile version of our career site. We then mobile optimized our jobs so people could search and find jobs easily. We obviously are starting to talk about all the social media pieces that we started to add as well. Social media itself is such a huge tool that recruiters could really leverage so much more. We all know how important employee referral programs are and this is something that has been a big focus for Hyatt as well. We know again there's still more that we can do.
We're looking at options now where not only can the Hyatt employee go in and look at our jobs and then look at their social networks and see who might connect, but we're actually turning that around a little bit too so that as the candidate can go in and say, this job looks interesting for Hyatt, who do I know at Hyatt? Obviously in LinkedIn that's very easy, but can you do that through Facebook and some of the other social networks? Who do I know out there and can I connect with them and ask them to refer me. Because while we have some people that are great about referrals, it's not our employees' full time job. They're not out there looking at every job, trying to figure out who they can connect. So can we make that connection happen more from the candidate perspective and push that out.
It's a lot of kind of smaller things like that, but I think it makes a difference in the candidate experience and the overall perception of Hyatt. We want to make that process as easy and make sure that we're communicating in the best way that we can.
Peter: What has been the adoption of your mobile optimized applications?
Randy: I'll tell you, it's really been great and this is one of those things where you draw the graph, you just constantly see higher and higher usage of it. We've had it out there for 3 years for Hyatt. The last time I looked at this, we were at about 15-16% of the people that visit our career page are visiting through a mobile device, which I think is pretty high.
Peter: That's pretty substantial.
Randy: That's pretty high. So if you think about that, not having that would mean they're pulling up the full version of our career site. Today with the smartphones, you can still navigate it but it's definitely challenging. We feel pretty confident that we would lose a lot more people if we didn't have all those mobilized pieces to it.
Peter: Randy, thank you so much for speaking with me today here on TotalPicture Radio. Is there anything we haven't discussed that you'd like to share with the audience?
Randy: I try to encourage anybody that's in our roles, focusing on recruiting and sometimes we forget to do this, but to go through your own applicant experience yourself, or get a family member to do it or whoever, but get someone to actually go through the process and see what it's like. You may think you've got this all figured out, and the strategy down and the communication down, but ask someone to actually walk through it, see what the communication looks like, see how quickly people respond, I think as practitioners of recruiting, you'll get some pretty good insight.
Peter: Randy Goldberg is the Vice President of Recruiting for the Hyatt organization. I'm going to close this out telling you what my last experience at Hyatt Hotel was, which was in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Regency. I took this Jet Blue flight in from New York, got into the hotel about midnight. I was tired, I was hungry and I asked the front desk clerk, "Is there any place I can get something to eat around here?" He said, "You know what, we have some sandwiches." I got a free chicken Caesar salad from the check-in guy at the Hyatt, which I thought was pretty damn cool.
Randy: That is cool. I am glad the story turned out that way.
Peter: Randy, again, thanks so much.
Randy: Alright. Thank you, Peter.
Thank you for tuning in to the latest Insight Amplified, a production of Riviera Advisors and TotalPicture Radio. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. Just do a keyword search for Insights Amplified. Also, subscribe to the insights from the Riviera blog at rivieraadvisors.com/blog. To learn more about Riviera Advisors, real world experience in leading and managing global, corporate, internal recruiting and staffing functions, please call toll free 800-635-9063 or visit rivieraadvisors.com.
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About Peter Clayton
Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.