“Putting People First” helps Marriott hotels attract and retain talent

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Emma Jones, Vice President, Human Resources Operations APEC, Marriott International


Marriott’s Global TakeCare Program focuses on physical, mental, and financial well-being, supporting both personal and professional growth of associates. Emma Jones, Vice President, Human Resources Operations APEC shares more from Singapore with Brand TD.

Brand TD: In today’s interconnected world, where diversity, equality, and inclusion are imperative for businesses to thrive, how have the Marriott Group of hotels made for an inclusive workplace?

Emma Jones (EJ): Marriott International champions inclusivity by embracing and valuing individual differences across all spectrums, recognizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a key driver of innovation. Our strategic approach in Asia Pacific excluding China, includes diverse hiring practices in collaboration with non-profits to create opportunities for underrepresented groups. Our Associate Resource Groups foster a sense of community, supporting women and the LGBTQ+ community, among others, while our mentorship programs and social media campaigns highlight the diverse stories of our associates. This inclusive culture aligns with Gen Z’s priorities, positioning Marriott as a top choice for talent seeking employers who value diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Brand TD: What is Marriott Group doing to ensure that talent is not only spotted but also nurtured? What is the scope for employees to grow within the company?

EJ: “Putting People First” has been a cornerstone of Marriott International’s philosophy since the beginning. Our Global TakeCare Program focuses on physical, mental, and financial well-being, supporting both personal and professional growth. There is emphasis on internal talent development through programs like the Marriott Development Academy and Emerging Leaders Program, ensuring career advancement opportunities. Leadership development is also a key priority, with our leaders playing a crucial role in engaging and developing associates, as reflected in our leadership capability metrics.

Brand TD: As far as gender diversity stands, what is the employment ratio for men and women by the Marriott Group? How many women are employed in senior positions across the brand?

EJ: Marriott International is committed to gender diversity, striving for gender parity across leadership roles. Our strategy includes human capital planning and talent reviews to monitor and advance both male and female talent pools. In addition, our longstanding mentorship programs prepare talent for career advancements, reflecting our balanced approach to talent development and promotion, aiming for enhanced team performance through diverse perspectives.

Brand TD: The hospitality industry was deeply impacted by Covid. This resulted in numerous jobs getting over and a lot of attrition from the hospitality industry to other service industries. What is Marriott doing to counter that and inspire passionate hoteliers?

EJ: Despite COVID-19’s impact, Marriott International has seen a resurgence in business, underscoring the enduring appeal of travel. Our “People Brand” campaign, “Be,” emphasizes empowerment, inspiration, and authenticity, attracting talent by highlighting the unique opportunities within the hospitality industry. Sharing success stories and career path options plays a key role in drawing professionals back to the sector.

On a personal front, I have worked for Marriott for 17 years and for the hospitality industry since I graduated more than 25 years ago. In hospitality, you can gain exposure across functions and work your way up to be a General Manager of a hotel in different countries. Associates are also invited to explore unilateral roles and work across multiple hotels in the same city – the opportunities are limitless. My hospitality career began as a Food and Beverage intern at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and I am now a VP of HR Operations based out of Singapore having worked in 5 different countries and 6 cities. It is sharing these opportunities and stories that have been one of our successful strategies in attracting and retaining talent.

Brand TD: What are the key elements that are challenging the hospitality industry in terms of recruitment, growth and attrition?

EJ: Post-COVID, Marriott International has adapted to changing work preferences, such as incorporating flexibility in work schedules to accommodate the gig economy trend. As a global organization that is constantly expanding its footprint into new destinations, there’s need for continuous talent development and retention strategies. Our Talent Management and Development Programs ensure a pipeline of ready talent, complemented by a personalized and professional recruitment process.

Brand TD: What Human Resource trends are we likely to see in the hospitality and related industries in 2024?

EJ: The continued emphasis on DEI, adaptation to an aging workforce, and engagement of younger employees through a positive culture and flexible career paths will be key. Leadership development programs focused on nurturing the next-generation will also continue to be critical to the future growth and success of our business. Lastly, in today’s fast paced world, it is important that we give our employees the necessary time and resources to focus on their own personal wellbeing.

The post “Putting People First” helps Marriott hotels attract and retain talent appeared first on Brand TD.


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