Marriott – Changing With The Times

Earlier in 2014, I heard Karl Fischer, Chief Human Resources Officer for Marriott Americas, speak on the topic of Human Resources in a Digital World.I was expecting him to talk about how the company was using technology for all of their HR needs.He did, but it was in the context of changing generational expectations.
Marriott hotels have been built around the values and needs of the baby boomer generation, which wants consistency in their travel experiences.Yes, that’s me, especially when it comes to business travel.And I can attest that I’m never surprised when I stay at Marriott.There brands may vary, but my experience at the various brands has always been consistent.

Marriott is now seeing the necessity of evolving its hotels to meet the needs and wants of the next generation of travelers, the Millennials or Generation Y (Gen Y).They are looking for adventure in their travel experience, and Marriot must change their brand to attract those travelers (just when I was getting comfortable).
Gen Y is the demographic cohort that follows Gen X.By 2018, the majority of the workforce will be Gen Y.They generally have a different approach to work and to life than previous generations.Consider the following expectations of Gen Y:

1.Meaningful work, and work that is interesting.They want to make a contribution and an impact.They want to work in an environment where they feel comfortable.It's normal for them collaborate and to interact – all the way to the top of the organization.Gen Y has no problem sending an email to the CEO and expecting an instant response.

2.Smart technology.They are highly tech savvy.They are very connected through technology and grew up with the Internet and instant messaging.

3.Authentic connections.They want to talk things through (dialogue) and not be talked to (monologue) – and many of those conversations are virtual.For example, unlike Baby Boomers, Gen Y don't connect with brands (I'll always choose a Marriott hotel, given a choice and availability).Rather, they'll ask for recommendations, virtually, on line from friends and from people they don't know.More important to them is what other people say versus any advertisement Marriott can place on TV or other media.

4.Exploration and discovery.They want the unique experience, not the consistent one.
While Marriott is seeing the need to change its lodging brand to attract the new generation of travelers, it also must change its employment brand to attract Gen Y into its workforce.The challenge for Marriott is how to connect with them in the way Gen Y wants to connect.Gen Y wants simple, interactive access, anyplace, anytime.

At Marriott’s site,, potential employees can search and apply for a job, explore career paths, and learn more about Marriott. There is a “Connect With Us” feature on their career site where you can meet people who work for Marriott and discover why so many stay for a career. They have a “Stay in Touch” feature that provides a way to explore possibilities and learn about Marriott culture. Since Gen Y is all about their tablets and PDAs and not about laptops, they can visit Marriott Careers Mobile on their devices.
Marriott associates share news and make connections through all the social media platforms, where Gen Y hangs out. A Gen Y can check out job opportunities through Marriott Careers on Facebook, Marriott Careers on Twitter, and Marriott Careers on Weibo in China. There is even a GPS feature on the career site that allows applicants to calculate commute time to the particular property at which they are interested in working.

What impressed me after listening to Fischer was that Marriott is applying the research about theMillennial Generation to its marketing strategy and its employment strategy -- recruitment and retention -- so it can attract this generation as guests and as employees.Marriott is not standing still.It is recognizing that times are changing and is changing with the times.

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