Think Outside the Box and Then Try It Again
Written by Deanna Flanagan
I spoke at length with Marlon Dean from the Marriott corporation. A year ago, Marlon created a new position and piloted a program aimed at reducing the time to fill open positions. He worked with eighteen smaller hotels in the Marriott brand, where two to three managers were working to fill open positions. Job requisitions were aging and applicants were scarce. During the pilot, Marlon turned over every stone to find new potential applicants. Through his efforts, he reduced the time to fill open positions from 50 days to 36 days.
He came up with many unique and creative ways to locate and hire applicants. One of his approaches was to find customer service-focused retail businesses that were closing and reach out to the employees losing their jobs. He shared with them the many benefits of working with the Marriott corporation. Another approach was to walk around malls and hand out cards with his name on one side and the benefits of working for Marriott on the other side. When he gets an opportunity to have a conversation, he asks potential employees if they have considered a career in hospitality. Other approaches included working with local community colleges such as Collin, Richland, and Northlake where he teaches seminars on interviewing and how to prepare and feel confident for an interview.
Community-based organizations and organizations supporting individuals with disabilities / special needs have recently come under Marlon’s microscope. Many back-of-the-house positions have been filled by partnering with these groups. xplaining career pathways to Fort Worth ISD and Plano ISD is also part of thinking outside the box when sourcing talent.
Reducing the time from application to hire has allowed Marriott to turn more applicants into employees. In addition, the ability to text from the HR software; and streamlining the interview, drug test, and cheek swab activities has allowed Marriott to more quickly extend offers and beat other companies in this tight job market.
One special success story that Marlon shared was about the individual who Marriott hired to fill one of its hardest to fill positions, which is also a critical job role. Marlon found a young person from a disability organization that had the qualifications for the entry-level engineer position. The young man and the supervisor for the position were both hesitant about him taking the position. After working with a job coach, the young man was hired. To everyone’s surprise and delight, this employee has been one of the most dependable and reliable employees with the company. He was highlighted in the Q3 Marriott select brand as the “new hire of the quarter,” and his best practices were shared with the entire company. The pride in hires like this are a wonderful side benefit that Marlon did not expect when he created the functions of this position.
The out-of-the box strategies Marlon implemented allowed this position to be more successful than anyone thought it could be. The new position was supposed to be a pilot project, but after only three months, Marriott decided to hire three additional employees to support other regions of the country. Marlon has been instrumental in hiring over 300 employees this last year and plans to be just as successful next year.