AccorHotels Leads the Hospitality Industry in Hotel Jobs at Socially Responsible, Sustainable Hotels
Job candidates no longer just want a “job”; they want a rich, fulfilling career with a socially responsible company that takes a comprehensive view of what it means to be sustainable and socially responsible in today’s world.
AccorHotels has a long tradition as an industry leader in sustainability initiatives. In 1994, AccorHotels debuted its environmental commitment by creating an Environment Department within the Group, one of the first of its kind within the hospitality industry. In 2012, they expanded upon these initial environmental efforts and created a comprehensive worldwide sustainable development program called Planet 21, with the objectives of giving back to the communities where its hotels are located, assuring guests of the company’s social responsibility actions (while providing them with opportunities to participate in sustainable experiences during their hotel stay), and providing employees with ample opportunities to get involved and make a difference.
Today, Planet 21 also has a distinct mission to increase employee engagement. In fact, “Heartists,” as AccorHotels refers to its employees, are one of Planet 21’s key commitment areas, along with guests, communities, partners, Food & Beverage (F&B) and buildings.
“’Feel Valued,’ our employer promise, means we want to serve an inclusive company that cares about its employees’ wellbeing, is open to the outside, hires and trains people locally, helps people find a way back from the fringes of society, and embraces diversity,” said Chief Talent & Culture Officer Arantxa Balson.
The program has already brought about positive changes for AccorHotels employees over the past few years. Most recently, for example, as part of their commitment to build a more inclusive company, the Group has seen an increase in the number of women in general manager positions.
They have also implemented a health and wellbeing at work program (in addition to regular employee health benefits) in the 100 countries where AccorHotels operates, in more than 4,300 hotels worldwide, and in 83 properties specifically in the North & Central American region.
5 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN ACCORHOTELS' PLANET 21 PROGRAM THAT EVERY JOB SEEKER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT:
1. Gain Business Development Skills in F&B
“Planet 21’s F&B charter has a very progressive mission,” said Marjorie Pittet, Director of Sustainable Development and Communication for the North & Central America region. Planet 21’s F&B directives, both mandatory and voluntary, run on five-year cycles to account for new technology and new advances and innovations in sustainable dining. The current phase, which began in 2016, outlines 21 actions that all hotels must implement by the cycle’s end in 2020, including decreasing food waste by 30 percent across its portfolio, requiring key products like coffee, tea and certain fruits be organic in all hotels, and (in countries where this is possible) transitioning entirely to free-range eggs by 2020.
According to Pittet, 50% of AccorHotels in North America have vegetable gardens and 30% have their own beehives, harvesting the aromatics and honey for use in the hotel restaurants that are increasingly becoming top dining destinations, sought after by both guests and locals alike.
The F&B teams are also working with local purveyors to create exclusive honey-based products for their dining facilities. For example, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel partnered with the local Wayward Distillation House and Whistler Brewing to create Fairmont Honey Lager, the hotel’s own honey liquor.
For F&B colleagues involved with these sustainability initiatives, it’s an opportunity to gain business development insights by learning how to cultivate and develop strong relationships with external vendors and suppliers. Of course, there’s also the option of becoming a certified beekeeper and working with the hotel’s hives.
2. Volunteer in the Community
AccorHotels are well integrated in the communities where they are located, and giving back to those communities is a priority. Colleagues and guests of Fairmont Empress Hotel in British Columbia, for example, served afternoon tea to more than 300 residents of a local shelter as part of the hotel’s donation program.
“That’s very exemplary of our culture and how we like to engage with our local community,” said Pittet. “We want to live and breathe for the community in which we’re located.”
She added that for ‘Heartists’, volunteering side by side with hotel guests is also an opportunity to understand the property’s guest mix and gain a better understanding into their life journey. Getting involved with Planet 21’s volunteer programs is an opportunity to meet colleagues who work in other departments and in a setting that isn’t only focused on business.
3. Get Healthy
AccorHotels colleagues have access to many of the wellness programs available to guests. Fairmont Washington D.C., Georgetown offers its colleagues discounted membership to its fitness center, including all classes. Many hotels also have running, walking or cycling clubs that operate daily or weekly and are also open to both guests and colleagues.
Pittet explained, “many of the programs offered to guests are also open to colleagues.” Another opportunity to interact with guests and colleagues, these activities are intended to boost heart rates, break sweats, reduce stress and keep hotel teams positive and motivated.
4. Help Create Sustainable Practices in Hospitality
Planet 21 is an overarching program which ensures all brands and divisions are aligned with the company’s sustainability mission. New Planet 21 initiatives are often a collaborative effort between individual properties and the corporate office.
For example, several hotels in North America have been testing different alternatives to plastic drinking straws, including paper straws and plant-based plastics. The collective results are then shared with Pittet’s sustainability team, which then researches how these potential solutions could apply to other properties. As for the plant-based plastics proposal, they do not disintegrate in water, and therefore they are not a great option for AccorHotels’ North American beachfront resorts.
“We rely on the hotels to create best practices that we can roll out to the rest of the region and showcase the initiative taken by our ‘Heartists’,” she said.
5. Get Involved in Special Events
Each year around Earth Day (April 22), AccorHotels organizes “Planet 21 Day,” a key event where hotel teams are fully involved and guests are invited to participate. Heartists from across various departments, such as F&B, sales and marketing and operations, come together to form committees and task forces to brainstorm, plan, and collaborate.
Throughout the year, hotels will host several events, such as Planet 21 Day, Day of Charity, World Food Day, Universal Children’s Day and end up the year with our Solidarity week. There are so many opportunities for employees to get engaged and demonstrate their commitment to social responsible causes!
These voluntary groups provide all Heartists with the opportunity to take on an active role in signature activities and events that are key to defining the property’s identity as a forerunner on the global stage of sustainability.
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