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February 2022

Employers in Dire Need of Any Labor Solution


By Scott Kauffman

When hospitality icon Horst Schulze helped start the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1983, hiring the right employee was fundamental to the future success of the new company as much as selecting the perfect place or building the most luxurious properties.

As Schulze once put it, “To make customer service a reality, not just a label, we have to start to hire the right kind of people.” To be sure, this employee-focused philosophy is one reason the Ritz-Carlton became a $2 billion global hotelier under Schulze’s leadership, renowned for its distinctive company culture and/or customer-centric brand.

In today’s U.S. labor shortage – where 10.4 million jobs were available in September, 2.9 million more job openings than the pre-pandemic peak in November 2018 – being able to just hire someone is deemed a success. Let alone the right employee, as Schulze would say.

Nevertheless, one company helping the hospitality industry navigate these challenging times – and a number of public and private golf clubs -- is Talent Plus. Montclair Golf Club general manager Roger Bacon has been using Talent Plus for more than 20 years and says the Lincoln, Neb.-based selection research firm is an “invaluable tool.”

“It’s really kind of built my career over the years,” Bacon adds.

In fact, Talent Plus also can be credited for helping build Schulze’s signature Ritz-Carlton brand as the architect of the company’s original employment assessment. Schulze, who founded the Capella Hotel Group after retiring from Ritz-Carlton in 2005, has been a Talent Plus client partner since 1990.

At Montclair Golf Club, Bacon says job applicants are encouraged to take one of three online assessments designed for supervisors, front-of-the-house employees and back-of-the-house positions. And regardless of whether someone is applying to be a dining room server or member of the grounds crew mowing and raking bunkers, Bacon says each applicant needs to score high on these proprietary assessments to be considered for employment.

Talent Plus is not willing to share sample questions, but Bacon says the science behind the assessments is proven and pays dividends for him repeatedly.

“In this particular labor environment now, it’s really helping us get a better return on the investments we’re making in better wages and all the benefits,” Bacon says. “If you hire somebody who is kind of a rock star as far as their assessment is concerned, their productivity is exponentially higher than someone who is, say, a mediocre employee. That’s another way we get a return on this investment.”

Talent Plus, which is focused on partnering with small to medium-size companies, notes the churn of employees alone can be devastating to a business with a bad hire, costing employers as much as $190,000.

According to Kate Wilson, corporate director of marketing and branding for Talent Plus, the company’s proprietary software, TalentBank, is continually optimized to ensure all clients can quickly access their “unique talent mapping to engage and accelerate each team member.”

Perhaps Talent Plus executive vice president of research and innovation Karl Giuseffi sums it up best when asked why his company’s 60 years of rigorous research and focus on studying success is so valuable.

“Thoughts, feelings and behaviors are better predictors of performance than experience, skills and education,” Giuseffi says. “Talent is what you select for. “Knowledge and skills is what you should train for.”

Wilson declined to discuss costs for Talent Plus services but says, “No matter how big or small the business, we tailor our talent solutions to fit every need. Our work is only done when you succeed.”

And succeed they have certainly done, thanks to hospitality ties rooted in the Ritz-Carlton company started by Schulze.
“(Talent Plus) work in hospitality goes back 30 years, ensuring an unforgettable guest experience by focusing on and investing in the people who are providing the service,” Wilson points out. “This extends now into healthcare, retail, financial services and more. Today, nothing is more important than ensuring your company can deliver your solutions, products and services with the highest level of care, authenticity and positivity.

“Talent Plus is delighted to work with clubs like Montclair to ensure a world-class experience for their members. In an industry that prides itself on service, distinction and at times, exclusivity, golf clubs cannot afford to hire less than top-performing talent.”



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March 2022 Issue


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