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Getting to Know - Dr. Altaf Sovani, DBA

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By: Dr. Altaf Sovani, DBA | Aug 9, 2022

Name and designations: Dr. Altaf Sovani, DBA 
Position: Educator/Consultant/Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO
Employer: Alzen Consulting, Inc.
Joined MPI in: 2006

Dr. Altaf

Contact information
Email: altafsovani@rogers.com
Linked IN: Dr. Altaf Sovani

Labor Crisis Cover

When and how the project of writing a book got started?

My book was a two-phase approach. As the past Chair for the School of Hospitality & Tourism at Algonquin, I was very aware of the issues of labour shortages in the industry. When it was time for me to do my dissertation for my DBA in 2020, I chose this subject.

Upon graduation, I saw this issue get worse through the pandemic and in late 2021 I used my doctoral research as the basis for writing the book. 

How long did it take to complete this project from the idea to the release of the book?

It will take approximately 14 months, from idea to the published release later this fall.

Labour Crisis is the biggest challenge facing our industry today; what should we know about it?

Hospitality, Tourism & Event Industries globally are finding it challenging to attract and retain employees, specifically millennials. Millennials are currently about 40% of the workforce and heading to become 75% by 2025. A strong hospitality industry is fundamental to global economic prosperity. Prior to COVID-19 the discussion was about labour shortages however; the pandemic has pushed it to a crisis. Organizations have been forced to find innovative practices and figure out what they need to do to attract, recruit and retain millennials in the workplace. 

What have you learned by focusing on the Millennials?

I wanted to understand why Millennials are choosing to leave the industry so I listened to them and the insights from our conversations form the core of the discussions and recommendations in this book.

The findings led to eight key factors that affect millennials’ job satisfaction.

  • inconsistent application of organizational policies by supervisors,
  • culture of favoring seniority,
  • ·opportunities for advancement,
  • baby boomer culture,
  • communication,
  • training & development, compensation,
  • human connection and work-life balance,
  • want to be listened to and they want autonomy with flexibility.

Millennials see their jobs as a stepping stones and growth opportunities. They want to feel committed to an organization and in return, want investment in their development and opportunities to learn and grow. They want advancement that is fair, transparent and based on merit vs. seniority and personal relationships.

Human connections matter a great deal and are a key to retaining millennial employees by building their loyalty; how they are treated plays a key role on what they think about you and your loyalty to them.

What advice would you give to Millennials interested by a career in our industry?

Change is happening and it’s happening now.

Industry leaders are thinking seriously about how to bring about change. i.e.:

  • More flexibility in scheduling, workplace well-being programs, better pay and benefits.
  • More opportunities to broaden personal and professional networks, ability to decide where and who you work with, opportunities to travel and potentially work in different parts of the world.
  • More ways to build employees loyalty.

How do you define the “new normal”?

The new normal includes a number of things, starting with Employees:

  • Having experienced flexible work/family time, not returning to the same way of working. Expecting continued work- life balance and understanding their needs. They want to be heard, contribute and affect your practices. They want a voice at the table.
  • Having incurred personal or professional losses has led them to dig into their purpose and how it relates to them and their families especially in the workplace. If they cannot connect their purpose to the work you are offering, they won’t be interested.
  • Want new skillsets that reflect this post pandemic ‘new normal’, and expect governments/academia to revise policies and programs to meet these needs.
  • Want innovation and want organizations, government, academia and industry to invest in innovations.

Last word

This is a global issue. Focusing on millennials can provide insight into attracting, maintaining and satisfying this growing demographic in hospitality and related careers. This issue is not going away. It will take many years and concerted efforts to keep ahead of the game.

Darlene Headshot Article edited by: Darlene Kelly-Stewart, Stonehouse Sales & Marketing Services

 

Author

Dr. Altaf
Dr. Altaf Sovani, DBA
Educator/Consultant/Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO at Alzen Consulting, Inc.

 

 
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