Close this search box.
OTEC Training Solutions woman in the computer planning training

Intelligence For Youth & Workplace Success

In today’s high-paced world, the hospitality industry is adapting to meet the needs of multiple generations.  While boomers are entering their retirement years and seek extraordinary service experiences, millennials are bringing their own expectations for equality, support and fairness into the workforce.  Although generation gaps can be a challenge, there are also opportunities for hospitality operators to differentiate not only on service and product, but on how they lead and invest in their teams. 

Many industries are adapting to these new workplace demographics, with the service-focused hospitality and tourism sector leading these changes by focusing on the core strength of their teams.  Modern terms have emerged such as “human capital”, “people resources” and “talent strategy” which demonstrate not only the importance of their teams, but how our sector must continually invest in their team-members.  Talent management is the solution for our growing industry, where labour shortages will increase substantially in years to come.  Employers who are change agents will lead by investing in talent recruitment, management and retention strategies supporting the needs of the modern workforce which include youth, an aging population and newcomers. 

This investment comes in many forms, including training, competitive wages, career planning and other creative incentives which engage their teams.   In addition, today’s youth expect recognition, transparency, and upwards mobility. So how will employers adapt to this new paradigm?  With wage rates set to rise in Ontario, among other provinces including Alberta and British Columbia this fall, employers will need to be more progressive in their recruitment strategies, while operating efficiently to offset increased payroll costs.  

When employers are able to identify candidates as a natural fit for the industry, the stronger the likelihood of a successful hire.   The ALiGN Network recently launched by OTEC in partnership with industry partners from across Ontario and the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) is designed to match youth with active job postings, based on their own personality attributes and natural interests. Psychometric-based, this talent-to role fit assessment and job matching system is a first of its kind, establishing the benchmark for a new approach to workforce development models.  (Connect with @ALiGNbyOTEC to learn more)

In a recently prepared “State of the Industry” prepared by OTEC, Hospitality and Tourism operators from across the province shared stories reflecting the challenges our sector is experiencing with recruitment.   Hotelier magazine recently published an article identifying how only a select few employers are becoming creative with their employment and retention strategies.   Employers are invited to join the ALiGN Network and receive a free copy of the report Click here to learn more about Employers.

As a result of OTEC’s industry consultations and as published in the report, employers are adapting but often by using strategies which place increased demands on existing teams, often leading to burnout and decreased morale in the workplace.   Such strategies may well work in the short-term, but Intelligence for Success Strategies include;

1.       Invest in Recruitment
a.       Recruit from a pre-qualified candidate pool such as the ALiGN Network.  Not only does ALiGN identify natural fit, the network includes pre-employment training and industry recognized national certifications.
b.      Competitive Wages: A tried and tested strategy which few employers are using, despite record growth in the hospitality and tourism sector.
c.       Creative Incentives: including retention bonuses, mental health, EAPs and other employee support programs.

2.       Invest in Talent:
a.       Employee training, in addition to pre-employment programs is an invaluable investment.  Successfull employers understand what happens if they don’t invest in training.  This includes management training.  Consider investing in programs such as OTEC’s LX series.  The LX Leadership Bootcamp is designed for new and emerging leaders and is an innovative two day program which will equip new leaders with the emotional intelligence, leadership and team skills they need to be successful in the work place.
b.      Employees demand Recognition!  In addition to employee of the month and recognition within their peer groups, they want tangible feedback on how they can accelerate within the organization.  Forms of intrinsic motivation which place emphasis on their value to the team and enhance their career trajectory are sure-fire ways to engage team-members.

3.       Invest in Retention:
a.       Career planning within the organization is often on the minds of hiring managers, but how about considering a candidate’s career path beyond the organization?  Would you invest in an employee for their benefit in the long term?  Many employers would say ‘No way!’   However intelligent employers and youth are thinking about this from day one.  If you invest in their long term, think about the present term benefits for both you as the employer and your valued employee. 
b.      Transparency is critical in the modern, social media driven age.  Both employees and customers seek transparency.  But what does it mean to you as an employer?   Are you being honest with your team?  Are you making the right decisions which have the best possible impact on the organization or are you thinking short term and what is better for the bottom line this quarter?

Youth Intelligence: If you’re 15-29 and looking for your first job, considering post-secondary studies or   ready to accelerate your career, connect with @ALiGNbyOTEC to gain access to free resources to help you explore your options, including Free Training and more available through the ALiGN Network!  Connect with @ALiGNbyOTEC on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook

Employer Intelligence: If you are an employer struggling to retain or find the right talent, connect with the ALiGN Network.  How can you invest in your team? 
A series of leadership webinars and a full-service program applying the foundation of emotional intelligence to provide concierge-type service skills round out our Intelligence for Youth Workplace Success toolbox. Stay tuned for more information!
Coming up later in August, Intelligence for Leadership Success!  Register for O-News here today to receive our latest updates!  OTEC has always prided itself in the diversity of individuals, organizations and employers we support.   Read more in our O-News about how OTEC brings Intelligence to the Workplace and how we focus on the diversity of our youth – the next generation of workers.  Click here to learn more about OTEC’s Youth-focused programs!   

Author: Emmanuel Rey, MBA
Emmanuel is OTEC’s Manager of Workforce Development and Industry Partnerships.  He enjoys hiking throughout and exploring Ontario with his family and loves back-country camping in all seasons.  In his spare time between shuttling his kids to activities and working with OTEC he spends time with his wife and loved ones in Toronto. He can be reached by email: or connect with him through linkedIn.


Download Resource