Career Development Opportunities During COVID-19

Note: I originally wrote this for my company’s blog, but I wanted to share it here as well for all those who might find it useful. xo

Current circumstances have heavily impacted the world of work, making permanent changes in organizations and their operating procedures. As we go into an uncertain phase of unemployment, remote work, or changing roles, it is important to take a step back and understand the implications such transitions will have on your team. It is also crucial to identify opportunities that will allow you to retain your staff once things start returning to normal, whatever that new normal may be.

Here are some ways you can continue to support your personnel professionally, as well as create an environment that showcases your organizations core values.

  • Train your employees. Cross-training is the first action human resources departments suggest during down time or low season, and for many properties this may be the tactic to lean on. Use this time to develop your staff in areas that would benefit them in their careers, allowing them to enhance their tangible skills as well as build their profiles. This not only shows that you are willing to invest in your team and help them grow, it also gives you a stronger talent pool of trained employees willing and able to work when the crisis ends. For your consideration, some of the most sought-after training topics are Communication, People Management, Creative Problem Solving, and Use of Technology.
  • Provide educational resources. If you are unable to cross-train due to budget constrains or lack of means, you can still guide your staff to workshops, seminars, or websites that offer industry relevant education. Many experts emphasize the importance of education during times of high unemployment, indicating similar benefits to the cross-training method. There are many academies offering free or discounted courses that will certainly strengthen resumes and, once again, provide you with a stronger team. Here are a few examples of websites offering hotel specific skills:
  • Keep everyone informed. Local governments are continuously monitoring the situation and releasing information about available benefits that could assist your staff. Take it upon yourself as a leader to be up to date on these benefits so that you may properly assist your colleagues. This further helps unify everyone in times of need and ensures that all members can avail of emergency relief. For details about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, click here.
  • Exercise compassion. Alongside the tangible methods above, this is also an important time to create an environment of care. Everyone is being impacted by this, directly or indirectly, so it becomes increasingly crucial to be empathetic and understanding. This can be done by simply creating new incentives or checking up on the team, or can be an internal procedural change, for example, becoming more lenient with certain policies. All businesses and services have been affected, which would in turn affect everyone’s day to day activities and abilities to do basic tasks.
  • Create a social responsibility. We are already hearing about companies coming together to turn a dire situation in to one that positively benefits the community and their staff. Restaurants are providing food for the front-line workers, cafés are delivering beverages to hospitals, and so much more. Times like this call for utilitarianism, and no action is considered too small. If you are a hotel looking for a way to support your community, consider Emergency Hotel Rooms, a platform that helps families of those who are ill, first responders, any individual impacted by COVID-19 to find low-priced accommodation in their area.

May be cliché, but we really are all in this together and must consider every possible way to aid those who need it, whether they are the healthcare workers dealing with it first hand, or the thousands of people who risk losing employment indefinitely. Through professional development practices and basic care, you can successfully maintain the integrity of your team and be ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

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