Tomorrow’s Future Is Today, You Can Bet On It!
To have a truly successful business you need to start grooming potential future hospitality industry employees. Here’s the inspiration and knowhow on getting this done! In listening to politicians lately, I am astounded about how they talk about the disarray of today and their dire predictions for our country’s future. As I am sure, many people feel the anxiety today of our business or lack of and why this is all happening and what will happen next, or is the glass and the future half full or half empty. We are typically a group of optimists, candid, blunt, but necessarily concerned with what happens next, but hopefully thinking about it.
I remembered the time I got one of those phone calls from a parent who was concerned about their son’s ideas for the future; code name, going to college and what would be the best major area to attain a degree in for their future. They had heard from mutual friends that I had experience talking to and mentoring young adults about careers and attending college and would it be possible to meet with me to discuss their thoughts. It got me thinking about who should I really be speaking to, the parents or their child? My experience with speaking to the parents is most of the time they have their own ideas about what they think their child should do, not necessarily in concert with the child’s thoughts or ideas.
Before I talk about the meeting or the outcome, maybe we should focus on the overall situation that we have today; code word – next steps, the future of our industry and what are you personally doing about it? Oh sure when someone asks about the hospitality industry you tell them all the good things, wonderful experiences, etc. but when was the last time you spoke to a young person who might want to be part of our industry or better yet, spent the time to talk to them about the pro’s and con’s of the type of experience they might need or get, whether to go to a vocational school, Community College or University and what they might expect when they graduate and the type of industry position they should pursue? I did a brief unscientific survey and called several business people to ask them the last upcoming high school graduate they spoke to about their future, might have given advice to or even to an employee or staff member they encouraged to go take management classes at the University or Community College in their area, to better themselves, increase their skill level and knowledge and also to learn. All had the same response more or less, “no one had approached them for advice.” I am not sure we are prepared as an industry to “give back” or many just don’t understand that the future of our business is in question to many young people on what we are about, what type of experience and education do they need to be successful along with how and where should they be looking to learn more about the hospitality business?
Once we get out of this current economic situation and the malaise of business today, over the next few years we will need more educated and trained professionals to move the overall industry and development process forward. As an industry person, you have a choice, think about only today or focus on tomorrow, an assist in the process of developing the talent of the future who will propel our fate moving forward. It is too late at this time to talk to this year’s graduating high school seniors, but not too late to see about speaking to your local high school or contacting your alma mater about how you can assist with their recruitment in your area or volunteer your time to talk to your own child’s or your friends children’s class about the opportunities that can exist for them in the future. You can also take a look at the people that you’re currently working with and take an independent poll on talking to them about their dreams and the potential of more education to better their personal chances of professional advancement too.
Now you might be saying why do this for others, what’s in it for me or I might have hit a cord in your mind about giving back or a warm feeling that it’s just the right thing to do. But depending on where you are in your career and how you got there, I am sure you either got some great advice, lucky breaks or worked damn hard to achieve some type of success. Now is the time to pass on the opportunity to others. Maybe it’s not as easy as it seems, but believe me it is. Talk to some parents who don’t have the overall view of the world or interesting experiences like some of you do in this exciting business; they will be very grateful and so will the person you are advising, and maybe someday they will come back and thank you too.
Oh that young student that I mentioned before, he went on to a great career working for several well known hotels, restaurants and chefs and now is another consultant dispensing advice to his clients. I plan to give him a call someday soon to remind him of his commitment to our industry and his promise to “give back” and work towards the future of our industry – you can bet on it!