With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the world is in the midst of what could turn out to be one of the biggest pandemics of the century. Covid-19 crisis is already breaking a number of enterprises and causing record unemployment. Retaining staff is a challenge for most companies. Interestingly, to infer from a recent survey conducted by Fortune of CEO’S of the Fortune 500 2020 list, 56 % of the respondents have responded that there have been no layoffs in their organisations and 50% respondents confirmed that they have discussed and agreed on salary reductions for a limited period of time as a result of the crisis. Additionally, 60% of the CEO’s stated that one of their top business priorities was to ensure their employee safety and productivity.
However, COVID-19 is a catalyst for change and to reinvent the business model to improve productivity and margins. In order to do that one needs to retain the talent. Lebua Hotels and Resorts, is the only prominent hotel in Thailand’s that is leading the band wagon to retain all its staff members despite lockdown and no business. Also, Lebua is the only international brand with a significant presence in India which has not furloughed or laid off even a single employee. This speaks volumes about the India properties owner’s long term vision and the strategic partnership with the Lebua which has its core in every single employee.
Indeed it is extremely significant that it’s not only the values that Lebua stands for but also the like mindedness that it seeks for in property owners prior to collaboration – A high EQ along with a deep understanding of Human capital.
In a recently held webinar, where Deepak Ohri, CEO Lebua Hotels & Resorts along with Yuthasak Supasron – Governor Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mayuree Chaipromprasith, Senior VP Siam Piwat from Thailand participated. All of them spoke on this issue, Deepak Ohri, CEO Lebua Hotels & Resorts said “Every hospitality CEO in the world should consider and ask the simple question; how do you evaluate the risk of letting people go, your most important asset, when a crisis emerge? The only foundation that made lebua so successful is the fact that, as a service business, all is based base on core values and probability. Not on anything else but on probability; how can you let the only foundation of your business slip through your hand? This is the most challenging question to every CEO in hospitality, anywhere in the world”.
One of the top hotelier asked Deepak Ohri, when there is no business why should we retain so many staff? Deepak smilingly replied, In the Army, Navy and Air force so many soldiers are recruited to keep our borders safe. If there are no wars, can we retrench them, definitely, no? Similarly this is a pandemic time and no one could anticipate that things will go this way, so do we remove them from job for none of their fault. This answer left that gentleman speechless.
Deepak Ohri, CEO Lebua Hotels & Resorts, speaking exclusively to Mumbai Messenger from Bangkok said “The staff members of Lebua are like a family to us and we can’t leave them or terminate their services during the pandemic. It is unethical to think in that way. Their support is of paramount importance to us while we were doing good business. The bad time is everywhere that doesn’t mean we should say bye to them at the time of crisis. Indeed good days are not far away when hospitality industry would re-emerge as a winner”.
Arun Kumar Singh, Principal Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology Mumbai (IHM Mumbai) said “At the hour of Pandemic, hotels and restaurants must retain their existing staff as they have served organisation to grow from several years. It is highly inappropriate to retrench them in the hour of crisis, as they also have their families to feed. Some hotels, restaurants have come up with idea of retaining staff with salary cut and just expecting that business will revive in 3-4 months’ time.
Singh further adds “Human Resource is biggest asset for any organization, therefore in my opinion organisation must do all possible effort not to retrench them .Government should also come forward for the rescue of hospitality industry. In some countries government is reimbursing 70-80% of manpower cost of hotels and restaurants for 4-6 months through corpus available with ESIC or provident funds”.
Lay-off employees negates many hospitality companies’ core values (taking care of their people), it also is a huge financial burden. In addition to the severance packages company may have to provide, there is a very high cost in hiring and training new team members. So think again, if leadership Lebua hotels and Resorts can do it, so can you!
First published at Mumbai Messenger