[September 2017] Managing and Leading a Millennial Workforce

By Peter Lucus, General Manager, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok and Benjamin Krieg, General Manager, Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 & Director, Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

Today’s hotelier, armed with a savvy sense of operations and sales & marketing attributes, must now focus on a rising global industry trend – the Millennial Workforce and the unique nature of the skill set of Generation Y’s, and how best to manage and motivate them in the demanding 24/7 occupation that is the hotel industry.

Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000’s as ending birth years.

Marriott International does a lot in this regard, in Thailand they have the Marriott Thailand Millennial Business Council, whereby each hotel has a Millennial representative (at management level) reporting to a Hotel GM in market who coordinates all members. In this quarterly forum, goals are formulated with regards to developing the skills of young Millennial managers as well as compiling information on how to best obtain the necessary leadership factors to retain and keep Millennial’s motivated in a highly competitive industry (with no shortage of job opportunities).

AccorHotels another global leader in hospitality are addressing the ever growing percentage of Millennials in the workforce not only on a local level, but also from a Global standpoint. A recent initiative lead by Sébastian Bazin, Global Chairman and CEO was the introduction of a ‘Shadow Comex’ (Executive Committee) whereby 12 Millennial’s made up of 6 men and 6 women under the age of 35 was created in order to provide additional insight into strategic decisions, collaboration of ideas and projects including access to the agenda of the Executive Committee monthly meetings and able to suggest topics for discussion, helping shape the direction of AccorHotels for tomorrow.

This structure has been replicated in different ways by AccorHotels properties and regions all around the world, be it working groups, teams or discussion groups at a regional or hotel level. Through actively engaging and implementing suggestions and recommendations of this generation, employee engagement increases and as a direct result, turnover within this generation of employees decreases, which remains one of the largest costs in the workplace.

There is an estimated 80 million young Americans who belong to the so-called millennial generation, roughly aged between 18 to 35. By next year, they are expected to comprise 36% of the U.S. workforce, and by 2020, millennials will be nearly half of all workers.

What has become evident is that Millennials are best motivated by several factors including :

  • Explaining the company vision and reasons behind strategic decisions
  • Prioritising community service within the business
  • Quick step career progression and titles
  • Give encouragement and regular feedback
  • Offering flexibility in when and where they work
  • Provide education and development
  • Give them time for personal projects
  • Access to Senior Management

Turnover is particularly prevalent within Millennials, gone are the days of people working for the same employer for 5, 10 or even 20 years, disengaged Millennials  vote with their feet, studies show they are confident to resign and find new employment, and the average tenure for Millennials in some industries is as short as 18-24 months.

It is important to take on board and determine if the suggested recommendations from the Millennial workforce is suitable, not all will be however for the betterment of your internal teams, as well as from your guest/customer perspective. Current estimates show there are 2.4 billion people in the world under the age of 30, the reality is within the next 5-10 years, depending on your business or region a large proportion of your customer base will also be Millennials

It is important to note, that many other generations within the workforce feel similar in many ways to Millennials, however they perhaps do not have such a forward manner in communicating these wants and needs, so in catering for the expectations of Millennials more often than not, the greater workforce within your organisation benefits .

Peter Lucus

Peter Lucas | General Manager, The Westin Grand Sukhumvit Bangkok


Benjamin Krieg | General Manager, Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 & Director, Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

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