Posted 2/6/2013 - 10:37:21 AM
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What are these?
Just last week, I read an article in Forbes, “Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You.” The author, advocating employee retention (through understanding, leading and investing in your staff), shares his top-10 list, based on research, observations and insight, in an effort to “stop the talent door from revolving” as, ultimately, few things are as costly and disruptive as unexpected talent departures. And often, businesses struggle with this. Especially those in creative fields. Like design professionals.
After digesting the information—and, subsequently, cutting out the article as a worthy reminder of what makes a good leader—I turned my attention back to writing and editing stories for this issue of Hotel Business Design, and noticed something. A theme, expressed in a few of the articles in this edition, seemed to emerge and, moreover, seemed to gel with the Forbes piece: Truly successful firms do develop equally successful talent by putting these principles into practice.
So why do they leave? You failed to unleash their passions. You failed to challenge their intellect. You failed to engage their creativity. You failed to develop their skills. You failed to give them a voice. Bullet points one to five.
And as obvious as some of the points may be, the ones who not only get it but truly embrace it reap the rewards. It’s this wonderful win-win for both the leader and the team, the next generation of designers who learn to pay it forward when they eventually become the managers.
Look at Kirk Nix, for example, principal of design firm KNA (Q+A, page 28), whose “all-inclusive” approach to managing and mentoring works and is, in his words, “priceless.” He encourages every member of his team to bring ideas to the table, actually listens to them, and fosters creativity and collaboration so that there is pride of ownership. Or take our “new faces” in the industry (see pages 14, 16) who are beginning their careers in firms where they’ve had the opportunity to experience this type of management. For example, Judd Brown Designs not only supports but nurtures Dana Ricci’s passion about the environment and sustainable design and, in turn, named her the design director of its new hotel and resort division. Similarly, Michael Brown “loves the collaboration in the office” of Wilson & Associates where, she enthused, “We come up with ideas together.” Moreover, she credits the firm with not just developing her skills, but expanding them by teaching her the “more business-related side of graphic design beyond just the creative.”
Of course, we all know there is a huge return on this investment in your talent, especially in an industry where ideas and innovation directly affect the bottom line—and the guest experience, which, of course, dictates that bottom line, bringing everything full-circle. And that need for creativity is stronger than ever in this solid renovation market, whether a major overhaul, like the Trumbull Marriott (page 10), Hanover Inn at Dartmouth (p. 36) or the Algonquin (page 40), or just the upkeep and upgrades of existing properties in an effort to increase revenue and profits. Not just full-scale renovations but, on a smaller scale, “refreshes” are flourishing as guests not only want, but now demand, current and cutting-edge amenities at all levels of properties. And manufacturers are stepping up their creative game to provide those “extras” that designers are increasingly specifying on their projects. Two good examples are in bedding and linens (see our report on page 18) and bath fixtures and fittings (page 30) where just that special pattern or color or spa-like showerhead, for example, can be the differentiators between one hotel and its competition.