Understanding Human Resources Needs in Tourism: A Competittive Advantage

Understanding Human Resources Needs in Tourism: A Competittive Advantage

Teresa Dieguez (Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4318-4.ch002
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Abstract

As one of the world's largest economic sectors, travel and tourism creates jobs, drives exports, and generates prosperity across the world. Comprising a wide range of industries, it supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, has accounted for one in five of all jobs created across the world over the past five years, and is a dynamic and complex engine of employment opportunities. Its companies are inside a competitive arena and must ensure its sustainability on the basis of its greatest asset: its employees. Nowadays in the workplace there are a great diversity of cultures, ages, and generational differences, and employers have to explore new ways to motivate people to efficiently work. Each generation is unique and usually this variety does not work without supervision. The study will be conducted on two Portuguese Polytechnic Institutes with Masters Students from Hospitality and Tourism. As a methodology, it will be used a quantitative research. Conclusions may help companies to better understand the reasons why employees abandon them or are attracted by them.
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Introduction

As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, Travel & Tourism creates jobs, drives exports and generates prosperity across the world. Comprising a wide range of industries, it aims to serve and support domestic, international, business and leisure visitors. Companies, large and small, in industries ranging from accommodation and transportation to food & beverage, retail and culture and sports & recreation, all make every effort to generate products and/or services that bring people together, support communities and celebrate the surprises that our planet can offer. This sector, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC, 2019) accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or 10% of total employment in 2018. It supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, has accounted for one in five of all jobs created across the world over the past five years and is a dynamic engine of employment opportunities. Jobs in Travel & Tourism particularly support women, youth and other, often marginalised groups of society (Manzo, 2019). Factors influencing the flow of travellers around the world, such as a destination’s attractiveness and its currency strength, will continue to affect traveller behaviour in the coming years. New developments will emerge and Travel & Tourism will become even more critical as an engine of economic development and as a vehicle for sharing cultures and building mutual understanding (UNEDOSC, 2010).

For all these reasons, nowadays the tourism industry is highly competitive and more than ever the literature see it as problematic (Abreu-Novais, Ruhanen & Arcodia, 2016). As a complex phenomenon, tourism is a multi-sectorial, multifaceted business and this in itself creates difficulties when attempting to generalise about the management of tourism businesses (Pender & Sharpley, 2005). In fact, beyond the specific challenges of managing hotel operations, a broader focus on quality management in the provision of accommodation can be justified for a number of reasons, namely: i) quality (Kandampully, 1997; Langer, 1997; Poon, 1993); ii) overall tourist experience (Middleton, 1988) and iii) human aspects of the delivery system (Witt & Mühlemann, 1994).

These reflect that companies must ensure its sustainability on the basis of its greatest asset: its employees (Bilhim, 2007). According to Drucker (1954) the collaborators have a fundamental role on the success of organizations and are their strategic key-resource. More and more organizations have to invest in their Talents through their medium-term development: people will no longer be a problem for organizations but the solution to their problems and reinforce their competitive advantage (Chiavenato, 2000). In this sense, the big challenge will be Talents’ retention rather than attracting them, because people are looking for new projects that stimulate and develop their skills helping them to progress in their career (Tulgan, 2001). Nowadays in the workplace there are a great diversity of cultures, ages and generational differences and employers have to explore new ways to motivate people to efficiently work (Zemke, Raines, Filipczak, 2000). Each generation brings a unique culture, perspective and experience to the workplace, and usually this variety does not work without supervision. The problem is accentuated by itself due to the late retirement of Idealists / Baby Boomers and the abundance of Millennials / Y, who are trained but inexperienced, while Individualist Generation / X workers are not currently a bridge between the previous two (Jones, 2016). By 2020 it is estimated that around the world one third of the workforce will be constituted by Millenium Generation / Y (Manpower, 2016). Therefore, it is mandatory to evaluate what this generation privileges in order to be able to attract and retain Talents (Alves, Dieguez & Conceição, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Millennials: A generation with individuals born between 1980 and 2000. Its name is linked with the closeness to the new millennium and the growing in a a more digital age. This generation was influenced by computers and a greater acceptance of non-traditional families and values.

Baby Boomer Generation: Anyone born between 1943 and 1960 and called so because when the men returned from fighting in World War II, a large increase in birth rates followed, thus creating a baby boom. This generation rose in a prosperous economic time but without being dependent on technology.

Learning Organizations: A place where people continually expand their capacity to create results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn.

Intangible Asset: An asset that is not physical in nature. Goodwill, brand recognition and intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights, are all intangible assets. Intangible assets exist in opposition to tangible assets, which include land, vehicles, equipment, and inventory. Additionally, financial assets such as stocks and bonds, which derive their value from contractual claims, are considered tangible assets.

Asset: A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation, or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit. Assets are reported on a company's balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a firm's value or benefit the firm's operations. An asset can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow, reduce expenses, or improve sales, regardless of whether it's manufacturing equipment or a patent.

Management Control: A set of instruments that motivate decentralized managers to achieve the company's strategic objectives, privileging action and decision making in a timely manner and favouring delegation of authority and accountability.

Competitive advantage: An advantage that arises from internally developed core competences or distinctive capabilities based on knowledge developed through organizational learning. It depends on the behavior of the organization rather than its competitive environment.

Generation X: A generation also called Gen X, or Xers, born between 1961 and 1979. A generation immediately after the Baby Boomers and the first generation to return home from school without a parent to greet them, as their parents were out working. This generation grew up around divorce, a poor economy, and high crime.

Organizational Capital: A interconnected set of qualitative features, including educational, skilled, and cultural, which creates value added for the organization.

Core Competencies: Are the resources and capabilities that comprise the strategic advantages of a business. A modern management theory argues that a business must define, cultivate, and exploit its core competencies in order to succeed against the competition. A variation of the principle that has emerged in recent years recommends that job seekers focus on their personal core competencies in order to stand out from the crowd. Some personal core competencies include analytical abilities, creating thinking, and problem resolution skills.

Dynamic capability: The firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments. It can be distinguished from operational capabilities, which pertain to the current operations of an organization. Dynamic capabilities, by contrast, refer to the capacity of an organization to purposefully create, extend, or modify its resource base, The basic assumption of the dynamic capabilities framework is that core competencies should be used to modify short-term competitive positions that can be used to build longer-term competitive advantage.

Organizational Culture: A set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behaviour for various situations. It affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients, customers, and other stakeholders. Also, organizational culture may influence how much employees identify with their organization.

Human Capital: The investment in Human Resources in order to increase their efficiency: an investment for future use. Human capital refers to knowledge, education, work competence, and psychometric evaluations.

Generation: A group which can be identified by year of birth, age, location, and significant events that create their personality. It can be developed by significant life events such as pandemics, new technologies, wars or major economic or political transitions. These events form the personality, values, and expectations of that generation.

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