Impact of continuing training and development, quality of service in Maldives in post Covid-19

By Zakariyya Easa

As a country solely dependent on tourism, Maldives is among the worst affected countries in the Asia region and potentially globally, due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, stated in a recently released report by UNDP Maldives (Rapid Livelihood Assessment Covid-19).

Remember, the economy has taken a hit. But the economy is not simply financial. The hotel industry is distinguished, among other service industries, by an everlasting competitiveness through an agile culture of imparted skills and talents delivered by L&D professionals across the organisation.

The economy exists because of human capital and that capital requires support to grow and develop its resilience once again with careful nurturing by all the stakeholders, especially today’s visionary and strategic HR/L&D leaders across the Maldives and around the globe.

Both resort and hotel industry is a human-intensive industry, the human element is crucial in this industry; where all the resorts and hotel activities and services are based on the human elements without denying the increasing modernity overflowing into this industry.

Consequently, the need for well qualified and well trained employees becomes a strategic objective. In turn, resorts and hotels’ human resource training system is a key factor in ensuring the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to achieve competitive advantage. Human touch is an inseparable element in hospitality service.

As learned from the recent virtual meetings organised by Maldivian Association of Human Resource Professionals (MAHRP), there will be a huge skills gaps that would emerge and unpredictable shortage on required human capital in Maldives especially in hospitality industry. Obvious “leakage” of expatriates’ skills-sets will be imminent, where many major high-class companies and resorts relied on, will no longer be available, especially when reopening the tourism activities in Maldives in post Covid-19 era.

Can local workforce be able to manage? Will they be able to cope within the required skills and talents demanded by all the variety of service expectation of different categories of resorts and hotels in Maldives? What sort of skills and talents would surface in post Covid-19 resort/hotel operations as adjoining requirement?

As I believe, in hospitality sector, human capital development (L&D) activities have to be a fundamental strategic business policy to achieve success and acquiring a competitive advantage.

At Crown & Champa Resorts (CCR), as a leading resort operating company, we believe that a positive relationship between work-based training activities and customers’ behavioural intentions is highly considered a logical finding as customer satisfaction of quality of service and quality of the products offered in resorts and hotels.

The world of work has changed not only in Maldives. It has always been evolving, however, during post Covid-19 pandemic is more significant and expected beyond. The time and the service expectation has started changing. Think industrial revolution as well as the introduction of automation, digitalisation, and contactless, paperless, demanded by Gen-CX, from millennials to centennials. This is the future of this industry. Are the HR and L&D professionals ready to mould the new skills-sets and talents that demands by new service expectation. Increasing productivity, learning new skills, acquiring re-skills and talents are vital for the time that we are entering now. Are L&D leaders prepared and skilled to meet the need?

I am sure all business leaders, not only HR/L&D professionals, have had a gamut of emotions in the last few months. Inertia, panic, hope, fear. How can we rebound with loads of dreams that this industry looking for? What is evident is the need to have a wide set of skills within the workforce. Swift adaptation on the majority of training now available online together with excellent remote support, it is a great time to invest for the future through training and upskilling and reskilling of teams through current techniques of blended approaches.

Preparing our HODs, operational managers as right caliber of coaches and mentors for the operational teams. Inspecting what you expect through the true “eyes” of operational leaders. Embracing resort teams from top to bottom on technological adaptation. Enabling operational implementation in line with newly amplified H&S measure to combat Covid-19 to live with “ever-normal life” in resort operation.

Both HR and L&D professionals and resorts management team need to focus on the following ranges of evolving work-force talent acquisitions to survive over rivals during post Covid-19 and beyond in hospitality operation. Impact of continuing T&D and quality of service would be shifted upwards as the application of the following in the operation:

  • Workforce digital transformation and adaptation
  • Machine intelligence application at work
  • Application of Artificial Intelligence at work
  • Cross-disciplines of learning system (multi-skilling, re-skilling at workforce)
  • Work from Home (WFH) and creating flexi-working culture among team members (no more micro-managing) – can this be applicable for resort operation?
  • How should human capital developers ensure team members’ social sustainability
  • Developing training programmes that would assist, team members mental well being
  • Preparing team members for “work-cultural transformation” in post Covid-19 and beyond
  • Preparing “teams” for change management during digital transformation
  • Adopting work team in to “tele-commuting” – different digital platforms for meeting teams, HODs and event organisation – to adhere physical distancing as required
  • Emergence of “different talents spectrums” in post Covid-19 and preparing for those talent requirements (adjustments of skills gap, developing locals as required, etc.)
  • Operational managers, HODs to become mentors and coachers for team member in operation to achieve service expectation

As an industry leader in L&D, the training and development team of Crown & Champa Resorts and its business leaders are fully immersed into the new “curve and wave of service expectation” from the hospitality industry. We are prepared and are adapting in to the best-fit agile – learning culture required for the “ever normal” operational journey.

Note: Zakariyya ‘Zaki’ Easa is the Director of Training and Development at Crown & Champa Resorts, one of the leading hospitality companies in the Maldives.

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