Ginger Hotels is the largest chain of branded hotels and the pioneer in budget hotel space in India. Known for its unique blend of caring and efficiency, Ginger Hotels is an excellent choice for leisure and business travelers, alike. Launched in June 2004, operated under the company name Roots Corporation Limited, Ginger hotels has 78 properties planned across 50+ locations in India. In a one-on-one conversation with Ajit Dias, HR Head at Ginger Hotels shared his experience creating talent in the ever-growing hotel industry through apprenticeship programs for the last three years.
How did they start?
Ginger Hotel used to tie up with educational institutions to get the trained manpower for their work. But those trained professionals were not very function-specific. The company acknowledged certain gaps in the expectations in terms of skill sets and knowledge from what actually students came with. To combat the issue, management opted to go for an apprenticeship, looking at the opportunities of grooming talent from the scratch and creating employability for the right kind of talent pool. When you want to start something new, obviously there are some challenges on the way. They faced the challenge of sourcing manpower followed by an administrative process. With the help of their trading partner, they were able to resolve it and move ahead with the program. A little investment in the selection process through the Talent Council comprising HR and L&D representatives to enroll in the apprenticeship was a part of the plan. The first three months were very crucial for the apprentices to get on with the training process. Everything was new and the organization had to try making trainees feel valued and connected with the organization. So, they divided the program into two major parts - one was foundation training and the other was advanced training. And the advanced part included certain skill assessments which every associate or employee took before becoming a permanent employee.
Results through apprenticeship
Apprenticeship supported the talent development and hiring strategy for the organization on a larger scale. About 90% of the employees moved back to the organization and joined the company. It turned out to be a great advantage for the organization as the apprentices were already familiar with the culture and understood the processes. “It has definitely paid off in whatever we’ve invested, definitely more than what we were looking for”; said Ajit Dias, HR Head, Ginger Hotels during his conversation with Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP.
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A massive difference was observed between the productivity level of apprentices and employees hired from the outside. Freshers may have more qualified degrees but when it came down to the ground reality, apprentices always had an upper hand. They hold a better understanding of the functions of the processes. Apprentices came in as fresh and raw talents, got moulded in the company’s environment and they also aspired to grow two to three levels in the same organization where they worked really hard.
Apprentice support during uncertain times
Everyone was aware of the Covid situation in and around the world. Hotels were converted into quarantine centers as per the government guidelines. Staff members were meagre as compared to the responsibilities to be taken care of at the Covid care centers. Yet the trainees put up their best efforts to manage. Single-handedly they were able to operate multiple duties which they learned during the training period. Of course, it was an appreciative measure from the apprentices. Authorities and hotel management acknowledged their valuable contribution at the time of need.
Why apprenticeship needs encouragement
There are some visible qualitative and quantitative benefits observed by engaging apprenticeships.
- Talent according to their work culture.
- Lower attrition rate and higher absorption.
- The focus is on creating better employability in the industry.
- The impressive productivity after the job training period really justified the efforts made by Ginger Hotels into the program.
The hotel industry has always had apprentices. Some of the actual great leaders that are seen in the industry have grown from that traditional route not only internationally, but definitely in India as well. All in all, an apprenticeship program is something to invest in if an organization wants to see long-term results. If an organization doesn’t want to get hassled with the selection process, it is always better to get external help to start with the onboarding process. Also, proper assessment and monitoring for the trainees can ensure proper skill development and influence the candidate to join the organization rather than seeking employment anywhere else.