In an industry that welcomes a diverse range of guests, it makes sense that AccorHotels aims for similar diversity in its teams. With a long-term goal of 50% women general managers globally and a Talent & Culture programme that encourages people of all ages, races and cultures to succeed, AccorHotels has put diversity and gender equality at the centre of its operations.
This month the Group celebrates the fourth anniversary of its Women At AccorHotels Generation (WAAG) programme, which provides support and mentoring to women within the organisation. Members will enjoy a workshop on mindfulness and a networking session at the Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa to mark the occasion.
Asia Pacific has the strongest WAAG network in the world, with over 1,400 members (or over 33% of global membership), showing there is a real push for change in the region, with both men and women represented in the network.
“We believe that diversity of the teams, right up to management level, is a key driver of the company’s performance,” says Garth Simmons, AccorHotels Chief Operating Officer for Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
“Women at AccorHotels Generation demonstrates the Group’s commitment to support women in their personal and professional development through mentoring, training and networking opportunities.”
Jessica Uekermann, General Manager of ibis Singapore Novena has seen for herself how the Group helps develop women. She says the biggest obstacle is often women’s own fear of not measuring up.
“The main obstacle I had to overcome was to have enough confidence in myself. I feel that especially in Asia, women still need more empowerment and this programme helps to support women to overcome their fears. I was very lucky to come across female and male General Managers who taught me a lot and I greatly respect them for their work ethic. Being part of Women at AccorHotels Generation allows me to give back to the cause so we will have more women following their career dreams.”
Currently AccorHotels in South, North and Central America lead the way in terms of gender equity with 42% of hotels being run by women General Managers. Across Asia Pacific, cultural norms can create challenges to equality, but the Group has introduced a range of policies to make it easier to identify high-potential women and ensure they have equal access to the company’s senior positions.
Christine Rumble, AccorHotels Senior Vice President Talent Development Transformation shares, “AccorHotels firmly believes in nurturing a culture of equality and we were pleased to see that 52% of our International Hospitality Management Program participants for this year were women, the first time we have had more female participants and an indication of real change. This program helps us to identify and nurture high potential hotel managers, so it basically builds the future of our operations.
“AccorHotels has a strong focus on staff learning and development and with a talent shortage in the industry, creating equal opportunities in the work place is vital to us. This is not just about gender equality but also about ensuring people of all ages and cultural backgrounds can thrive within the organisation.”
AccorHotels, a member of the HeForShe movement created by UN Women, is also committed to changing mentalities in the hospitality industry by paying particular attention to female guests. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that provides a systematic approach and targeted platform on which men and boys can become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality.
With over 760 hotels across Asia Pacific in 17 countries, AccorHotels opens at least one hotel per week in the region and requires more than 10,000 new staff each year, just to maintain its current growth. Helping to ensure the highest standards in the industry, the Group has its own accredited training college, Academie Accor, which provides on the job training and qualifications to its staff to ensure they can make a real career in the industry.