Human assets are key to future growth

30 March 2006
Human assets are key to future growth

I refer to James Garner's leader (Caterer, 16 March, page 4), where he reported that Robert Cook had flagged up the HR issue as perhaps the key factor that will inhibit future growth in the hotel industry. I have to say that many top-rated public companies agree with him.

On 17 March I attended the annual Conference for Talent Management along with senior executives from a wide range of industries. They were echoing Robert Cook's concerns - for banking, IT, travel, law and many other sectors. I wonder, then, why it wasn't a bigger issue at the International Hotel Investors Forum in Berlin?

Key themes of the annual Talent Management conference were attracting and tracking talent; employee engagement; spotting potential; succession planning; performance management; developing and nurturing leadership capability; coaching; and talent retention.

Peter Holloway, head of people and organisation development at British Airways, said that the engagement of your employees is fundamental to your success and therefore a board imperative. David Deacon, managing director of executive development at Credit Suisse, said that the only real differentiator for service industries is the people - everything else can be copied.

And my quote of the day came from Sir David Bell, executive head of people at Pearson: "It's about having people who are so good they could leave tomorrow, but decide not to."

Achieving this level of talent management requires vision, commitment and investment. But then, if you're a smart Cookie, like Robert, you're doing it already.

Jane Sunley
Managing director, Learnpurple

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