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Why Hilton Is the Best Company to Work For in America

Why Hilton Is the Best Company to Work For in America

Matt Schuyler, the chief human resources officer at Hilton, has spent 10 years at the global hospitality company, after having worked for three others (Capital One, PwC, and Cisco) that have all been perennial companies on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. He discusses the many changes that have taken place over the past decade and reveals a few of the secret ingredients that help Hilton’s happy employees result in even happier hotel guests.

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Show Transcript

Chris Tkaczyk:

We are at the Great Place to Work For All Summit 2019 in San Francisco, and I'm joined today by Matthew Schuyler, who's the Chief Human Resources Officer at Hilton. Welcome, Matthew. 

Matt Schuyler:

It's great to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Chris Tkaczyk:

Thank you. I wanted to sort of go through a bit of the numbers with you about what makes Hilton such a great place. Looking at the numbers is always the first place to start for telling a company's story, I'd say, but then I want to talk to you to hear about what has made those numbers so great, especially at Hilton. For those of you listening and you don't know what Hilton is, which you probably should, Hilton is the leading global hospitality company that is comprised of 5,700 managed and franchised properties in 109 countries and territories. It also has a portfolio of 17 brands. The most recent one launched last week. Matt, which one's that?

Matt Schuyler:

Signia Hilton.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Signia Hilton, in addition to Tapestry, all these new hotel brands that are coming out, so as people are traveling and seeing new hotels and you don't know what it is, it's probably a Hilton property, but it also has its award-winning customer loyalty program. Hilton has 55,000, more than 55,000 employees that are based in the U.S., and 405,000 globally. Through the Great Place to Work Trust Index Survey, we have discovered that 96% of Hilton's employee say that it's a great place to work, 98% say that when you join the company, you are made to feel welcome, and 97% say that they are proud to tell others they work for the company, so congratulations, Matthew.

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Tkaczyk:

One of the other big honors that just recently was announced was that Hilton has taken the top spot, number one, on Fortune's 2019 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. That's an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations.

Matt Schuyler:

Thank you. We're proud and humbled by that achievement.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Yeah. It shows a testament of all the work that you've done over the past 10 years since you first joined the company, but one other thing that's really surprising, or at least I was surprised by it, was last December when we published the list of the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity, and Hilton came in at number one on that too. You're also on our list of the World's Best as well. How did you do it?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, it really starts with our strategy, which is a reflection of our business model, so I'll start there. We're a business of people serving people, and for the longest time, the first element of our strategy has been our culture. We want to make sure we have the very best culture to be able to attract, motivate and retain a great workforce, so that we can be the best at serving our guests, so a business of people serving people. This vision really started 100 years ago, as we get ready to celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2019, and it's carried forward to this day.

Matt Schuyler:

We call our employees team members for a very distinct reason. We know that running our business, our hotels, requires a team effort, everyone pulling together to service guests to the best of their ability. I think the accomplishments of these rankings are a manifestation really of our culture of people serving people, and one team doing that together around the world.

We're awfully proud, and as I mentioned, humbled to have those achievements, and in some ways we feel like we're just getting started, so the future looks bright.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Well, you've been in this role now for 10 years, so tell me a bit more about what the company was like when you first arrived, and then I want to get into more about what you've done to help effect change at Hilton. I mean, the company itself has gone through quite a bit of organizational change just because it's had different owners over the past few years.

Matt Schuyler:

That's right.

Chris Tkaczyk:

I'd like to get a little bit of insight about how you were involved in that process.

What part of that did culture become so important?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, it really began with the purchase of Hilton by Blackstone in late 2007 into 2008. At that stage they hired our current CEO, Chris Nassetta, to come to join Hilton and get the company re-energized relative to their purchase. He began, as you might imagine, by forming a team around him, and I joined that team in mid-2009, so I'm coming up on my 10-year anniversary here pretty soon. Along this journey, we've been really steadfast in the vision Chris had originally when he came on the scene in 2007, and that was to start with our culture.

Matt Schuyler:

Literally, make sure that everyone knew that all of our service begins with our people, and to achieve our goals, we were going to have to have very best people, aligned around a singular vision, mission and set of values. When we all arrived on scene in 2008 and '09 and looked around, we realized that various properties and corporate offices had different sets of values, different sets of vision and mission statements, and they weren't exactly the same, and so that created I think quite a lot of confusion around the organization as to just what are we shooting for, what's the north star.

Matt Schuyler:

One of the first things we did was to set out a singular vision, mission and set of values for the company. We wanted to make sure everyone understood them. They were simple and easy to understand, and ultimately measurable and liveable, I'll call it. It really started with our values, which we laid out very simply as H-I-L-T-O-N, Hospitality, Integrity, Leadership, Teamwork, owning your decision, so Ownership, and operating with a sense of urgency, or Now.

Matt Schuyler:

That maybe at the time seems too cute by half, but in the end it made the biggest difference, because we have 99% recognition of those values around the world. It starts with Hospitality for a reason. We believe that we're a business of people serving people, and our goal is to be the most hospitable company in the world, and from there it just cascaded and we've had great success in that result over time, yeah.

Chris Tkaczyk:

As you had to have that conversation around culture, was it difficult when you were talking, having those conversations with top management, with leadership, with Chris, saying, "we really need to focus on culture," or did he already understand that? Was it a challenge for you to sort of convince him to focus on it?

Matt Schuyler:

He definitely understood it, drove it, set the strategy to begin with, and we cascaded it from there across our ... starting with our leadership team. Tone at the top was important, but really where it manifested itself is at our properties, and so we needed to get the message out. We've got 5,700 properties now and growing. We're up to 17 brands now in total across 109 countries, so to get that message out to over 400,000 team members under Hilton flags around the world was a big undertaking, and it took us a while to get there.

Matt Schuyler:

I will tell you, what made a big difference was to be absolutely resolute, to not change, to continue to drive that message from the top. To make sure everyone understood, we measured it annually. Began a survey in 2010 across the entire enterprise with a 92% completion rate, so hundreds of thousands of data points coming back in from a survey. That told us whether or not that message was resonating, and then we just kept after it year after year, measure and reinforce, measure and reinforce. In the end, that I think has made a difference over this last 10 years' journey.

Chris Tkaczyk:

What has been the most surprising thing for you as you're looking through those numbers? Is there a specific area of focus that you're seen has had major improvement?

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah. We took considerable time to reinforce the fact that we're in this together. We're a family, and that matters. We also quickly realized that people would rally around a broader purpose and the meaning it provided to their work, irregardless of their role. We have some 3,000 different job types across our enterprise, and irregardless of the job type, people don't want to come to their place of employment every day just to do a job. They want to come there for a broader purpose and meaning, and so I think our greatest learning along that journey was to harness the energy of a broader purpose, and to make sure our team members understood that we're shooting for true north here. Matt Schuyler:This business of people serving people means that we can have a great impact on people's lives, and to be a difference maker in their lives. When you think about our business, many of the major events in life occur at a hotel, and we're enablers in that regard. Weddings, business meetings, speeches of a lifetime, happen at our hotels. When we began to communicate about this broader purpose, we saw a bounce in the step of our team members, their eyes getting wider and lighting up. It resonated, and we just keep reinforcing it each and every time we have an opportunity.

Chris Tkaczyk:

One of the things that I have noticed in the past, just when you look at social media, if you're on Facebook or Instagram, people are often sharing photos of themselves, not always at home, but they're doing it when they're traveling. People love to travel. They do it when they're on vacation or if they're visiting family or wherever, but people love sharing that moment. I think that this is where Hilton has had a great opportunity to really not only, you know, extend its brand awareness, but also to talk about the culture as well.

Matt Schuyler:

We agree, wholeheartedly. In fact, what our statistics and surveys show is that it's not the hotel property that you remember, it's the service you receive. It's that moment that matters, where someone has done something above and beyond your expectation, or they've recovered from an issue that you've encountered during your journey, or they've provided delight in a way that you didn't expect. Those are the more memorable moments of travel, and we're at the heart of that.

Matt Schuyler:

Part of our messaging to our team members has been to ensure that they understand that we know this is what they provide. We want to enable them to do that, empower them to be at their best all the time. If you chew all the way back to our strategy, from an HR perspective, the programs and the practices that we've established over the last 10 years are really meant to enable those team members to be their very best. Because if they're at their very best, we know they'll deliver the best service, and during those moments that matter it'll be distinct, and guests will come back for more.

Chris Tkaczyk:

In these 10 years as CHRO, what has been the one singular most awesome, best day for you in the past 10 years?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, I have to say recently it's being ranked number one on the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For. That was a culminating moment in our company, and I have to say the amount of energy that it has provided to us as people learned of it has been palpable, and it's really great to watch. From the top of our company, our leaders, to our properties just like the San Francisco Hilton here, people are absolutely overwhelmed by this news, so most recently it's that.

Matt Schuyler:

I would say more broadly, I've been in five different industries in my career as an HR practitioner. The day-to-day experiences that you have in the hospitality industry is not an event-driven moment, but it's a moment nonetheless that I say in comparison, this industry is incredible in comparison to other industries. You are absolutely humbled every day by watching our team members serve guests and dedicate their lives. Decades of work experience dedicated to our guests has to me been the singular most reflective moment over my career.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Now I have to balance that question with what's been the hardest day for you?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, look. Like any role and job, there are hard moments within every day and hard moments overall in the course of your experience. I think whenever we have to take dramatic steps in a workforce, whether it's tacking to a different set of experiences that we might need in our corporate offices, to a hotel that's going through lower volume where we may need to reduce our workforce for the moment, those are hard days, and we've had those moments.

Matt Schuyler:

Of course, 2008 and '09 when the economy was waning, there were some low moments where we had to retract a little bit in certain pockets, and those were days where you have to go back to your values and just make sure the moves that you're making and the steps you're taking are adherent to your values. I think when you do that, it makes a big difference, so I'd say those were probably the moments that I'd say were the lower points.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Yeah. I want to talk a bit about you were at Capital One. Matt Schuyler:That's correct.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Before coming to Hilton. I know that Capital One has been on the 100 Best list for a number of years. Was it while you were there that it first showed up on the Fortune list?

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah. I've had the distinct pleasure of working for four of this year's Top 100 Companies in my career, Capital One being the most recent before Hilton. It was during my tenure that we began the application process, and we were fortunate to get on the list and it I think remains on the list today, 10 years after the first one.

Chris Tkaczyk:

You've seen this success multiple times over at four different companies. That's kind of amazing.

Matt Schuyler:

I have. I've been really blessed to work for some really great companies, among them Cisco as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers, and so I've been real fortunate.

Chris Tkaczyk:

From the larger picture, looking at the fact that you've worked in five different industries over your career, by focusing on culture, I mean, I keep talking with executives from many different industries, and it's sort of the same thing. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, you can improve the work experience for your employees. As you've approached those difference jobs, those roles in those five different industries, what have you seen that has been sort of the running theme about what's making companies not-so-great places to work, and then sort of turning that around?

Matt Schuyler:

It's a good question, Chris, and in my experience it's the most talked-about aspect of business but equally the least delivered upon, because in the end it requires investment and tradeoffs. Oftentimes, businesses are unwilling to make that investment ... they'd rather invest in something else ... or unwilling to make a tradeoff. What I've tried to employ over my career is a business rationale for the investments that showcases the return.

Matt Schuyler:

Using Hilton as an example, when we are conversing with our owners of properties around the world, we talk about the ROI equation for investing in team members. It's the service-profit chain. Hire great people, give them a great working environment, let them be great. They'll deliver great service, you'll have better returns. If you don't do that investment, you won't have those good returns, and importantly, you'll have higher attrition. People will leave you faster. That is a considerable expense the business often overlooks.

Matt Schuyler:

It's a hidden expense. There's no line item called attrition. It's buried in the P&L somewhere, various spots generally. The cost to backfill, the lost time that you experience as a business when someone's ramping up to backfill someone who had departed that you otherwise would have liked to retain, is a very big expense. We have spent considerable time at Hilton showing the analytics associated with that equation, where a small investment in people, programs and practices results in a larger return, both because your revenues will be better ... in our business, your guests will come back for more ... and also your attrition will be lowered.

Chris Tkaczyk:

The theme of this year's summit we're at now, today, is Innovation By All, and the concept or at least the term that we've created at Great Place to Work is that it's the ability for a company to inspire every single person within the organization to contribute to the innovation process, no matter what that is, whether it be creating new products or services, new processes internally. I'm wondering what it is that Hilton's doing to focus on inspiring its employees to innovate.

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah, we're strong believers in this concept. If you look at all the innovations that have occurred in our 100-year history, they happen primarily at a property level. They're small in some instances. The piña colada was invented at a Hilton. The brownie, invented at a Hilton. The Waldorf salad came from the Waldorf Astoria, a Hilton property, and so we have small innovations that end up becoming very big and system-wide ... or for that matter, societal-wide ... that happen locally, and that's exactly what we want.

Matt Schuyler:

We want to empower our teams at a local level to be creative as they're providing services to guests. That will make for a distinct experience, which in the end could result in some pretty nifty innovations that we can leverage across the enterprise or more broadly. It's true corporately as well. We want our corporate team members to feel empowered to innovate, because we know the next big thing is on horizon. If we can be there first, if we can leverage that to provide even better service, all the better for our owners and all the better for our guests.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Speaking about diversity and inclusion, the hospitality industry is already very diverse. What are you doing within your organization to help anyone who might not be on a career path that will allow them to climb the ladder at Hilton? What are you doing to inspire them? How are you training them? I've heard a lot of success stories over the years about Hilton employees who may have started as a housekeeper or might have been doing something in back of the house, not necessarily guest-facing or whatever, but what are you doing to try to inspire your employees to make those big career changes?

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah. Well, one famous starting point is our CEO started his career in the hospitality industry in engineering, sanitation engineering to be clear, so he worked his way up through the organizations that he was employed by with a very humble start, and that is true with many examples across our enterprise. Let me start by saying for us, diversity is a given, but inclusivity is a choice that we have consciously made. We want to be a great workplace for all, everywhere we do business. We want to be a welcoming environment for every type of interested worker, or as we call them, team members. We have really great jobs at starting points, at middle management points, at leadership points, and we like to showcase how starting a career at Hilton can be a rocket ride.

Matt Schuyler:

You start at entry level. We have tremendous training infrastructure to provide you with in-the-moment training, regular training at intervals that make sense in your career, ultimately management training and leadership training that will allow to you achieve your personal goals and objectives. The rest is up to you.

We've got the infrastructure there to support you. We encourage it. We make it part of our recruitment pitch to candidates, and we've had great success. Many of our senior executives ... in fact, I'd say most of our senior executives ... grew up in the industry, and many have spent decades with Hilton, growing up from entry-level positions to ultimate leadership positions, like the one I mentioned with our CEO.

Chris Tkaczyk:

At what point in your career ... was there a turning point or an event that happened that made you, as you were beginning your path in the HR space, think that culture is not only the most important thing at a company, but what made you really want to focus on it and just use that as a point to really change a business?

Matt Schuyler:

Yeah, it's a great, great question. I started my career as an auditor at Pricewaterhouse. I was an accounting major from Penn State University, and in my audit days, working with large clients in the Pittsburgh office for Pricewaterhouse, it became crystal clear to me that so much leverage was born out of the people equation at the big companies we were auditing, and yet those companies weren't seizing the opportunity to make that the leverage point. I thought, "If this is my strong belief, why don't I get into this field and learn as much as I can about it?"

Matt Schuyler:

I shifted from being an auditor to an HR track, starting in recruiting, and working my way up to a regional role, a national role, ultimately a global role at Pricewaterhouse, where I was able to really experience many of the facets that taught me the leverage points of HR. As I look back over that experience, I will tell you the hunch was right. It's a highly-leverageable area that most companies don't take full advantage of. 

Chris Tkaczyk:

What's the best leadership advice you've ever received?

Matt Schuyler:

You know, I think it's probably one that many people have received, and that's to be authentic, be yourself. Make sure you know internally who you are and what you want to be, and be true to that. If not, the imagery you create as you are being inauthentic will eventually catch up with you. You won't show well, and so for me, I think the best advice I got was early on, of just be yourself, do your best work. Work hard, try hard.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Who told you that?

Matt Schuyler:

Again, growing up in professional services, it was a bit of a cultural norm to get continuous feedback, and so early on in my tenure, the partners that I was working for and with were quite clear on this fact, and that was impactful for me. It was formative, learning years, and as I looked around at people that were not adherent to that advice, I saw a distinct difference from those that were, so it resonated with me and I think they were right.

Chris Tkaczyk:

When you're looking at potential suppliers or partners that Hilton has across the business, whether it be with food and beverage ... I mean, you tell me all the different types of suppliers you have. I don't specialize in the hospitality industry.

Matt Schuyler:

Many, many. In fact, interestingly, in my role I actually run procurement for Hilton as well, so procurement reports to me.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Okay, so you know suppliers pretty well. Matt Schuyler:Yeah, it's quite diverse.

Chris Tkaczyk:

As you're looking at potential new suppliers and partners, does the culture topic or conversation come up, just to make sure that you're working with not only a reputable business, but that they're treating their people well?

Matt Schuyler:

Absolutely. It's a key criteria in us doing business with any partner. We go through a very thorough vetting process to ensure we're doing business with the right companies. We are at a large-scale purchasing volume, as you might imagine, in our business, so billions of dollars of spend run through our purchasing roles every year.

Matt Schuyler:

We're dealing with, in many instances, large vendors, and we run them through the same trappings as a small vendor, just to make sure that their values are consistent with ours, the treatment of their workforce is consistent with ours, because we know we're going to work hand-in-hand with them to deliver the supplies needed to run our hotels. Really the hotels are businesses within a business, and so procurement is a really critical function for those hotels. Making sure we have the right partners who adhere to the right set of values is an absolutely critical part of our business model.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Have you ever had an experience where you had to stop doing business with a supplier because of that issue?

Matt Schuyler:

Absolutely, yeah, and we won't hesitate to do that. Chris Tkaczyk:How would you find out that something was wrong?

Matt Schuyler:

We'll either hear it from one of our properties, or we'll experience it or we'll read about it. I mean, all the normal ways you might imagine where you could come into contact with some information that shows that supplier or that vendor isn't adhering to your values. We obviously then investigate, to make sure that what we've heard, read or seen is accurate, and then we don't hesitate to make a change. Our values are non-negotiable. Yeah, the starting point.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Can you think of an example that, you know, you can tell me a story about how this happened? You don't have to mention the name of the company or the property or whatever it was, but what happened and what did you discover after your investigation, and then how did the separation go?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, look. A lot of it is based on what criteria you might imagine. Quality of products is not what they promised. Treatment of their workforce is obviously different than what we'd expect. They don't adhere to the same principles around diversity and inclusion that we would support. Those are the general criteria that we would come in contact with that would warrant us digging deeper to make sure what we'd heard, seen, read, was accurate, and then we just won't tolerate it. We literally will move on to do business with someone else, if indeed we find something in the antithesis of the way we like to conduct business.

Chris Tkaczyk:

I assume, now that Hilton is the number one Top 100 Best Company to Work For, you're going to see a lot more interest from potential suppliers and partners that are wanting to work with you, just to get in the door that way. Matt Schuyler:You know, I suspect. We're a well-known brand and we've been in business for almost a hundred years, so we've had a lot of interest through the years, because unaided, who's a hotel company that you know of? Our name has generally been number one through the years, and so I do expect we'll see a little surge, but we've had surges through the year as well, just given how well- known we are. 

Chris Tkaczyk:

What are you doing to focus on your Millennial level of team members in terms of training for leadership positions, because they could be the future head of the company?

Matt Schuyler:

For sure. Our training is evolving pretty rapidly. As I think most training organizations are experiencing, we're experiencing the same type of phenomena, which is people don't have time necessarily in their business lives, in their business work schedules, to go away for a couple days of training. We're moving to a platform through what we call Hilton University where we'll be delivering training in a way that you're accustomed to receiving media more broadly, which is snackable bites, TED Talk-like formats that we can deliver to you onto your mobile devices, laptops if you're in the office, desktops if you're in the office, but consider our workforce is largely out in the field and largely walking around properties each and every day.

Matt Schuyler:

Delivery to mobile devices is really where we want to take our training. This happens to coincide nicely with expectation sets of Millennials, who are used to receiving their content through mobile devices and digital platforms, so this all marries up quite nicely to our strategy, which is to move our entire training platform to a mobile-enabled, digestible type of format that you can learn what you need to learn in the moment.

Matt Schuyler:

If you think about the way a Millennial generally tends to learn now, it's call out the mobile device, Google it, YouTube it, and learn in the moment, so we want to take our training to that style. That will work very well for our properties, where there might only be a 15-minute break in between shifts, or a stand-up in back of house, where we can enable the mobile platform to be broadcast onto a flat screen, and use those 15 minutes wisely.

Matt Schuyler:

In my view, the day and age of going away for two days of training six months from now are really obsolete. Those days are gone. You don't have that luxury anymore to wait, number one, or to go away any longer. Now, we still do leadership development in a concentrated way, where we'll bring senior leaders together and let them work with one another and team-build and so forth, but by and large the highest volume of our training will be delivered the way I just described.

Chris Tkaczyk:

You've been with the company 10 years. You must have seen someone's career completely transform, taking on new leadership roles, someone who may or may not necessarily be Millennial but could be Gen X or whatever. Who is that person that really stands out to you, just seeing how well they've performed? Matt Schuyler:Well, it happens all the time, is the interesting part in our business. Give humans a chance to be great, and they will generally be great, and so that's really our model with respect to career opportunities. It literally happens all the time in our business, where we'll take an assistant general manager and give them an opportunity to be a general manager of a big property. A stretch assignment, not sure whether they're going to be able to hit the ball out of the park or, you know, just a single. We'll see. They generally do great things, and that's literally a daily occurrence.

Matt Schuyler:

I don't mean to sound facetious about it, but it's literally a daily occurrence in our business environment. With 400,000 team members around the world under Hilton flags, we're stretching people every day, and they do great things when you stretch them and challenge them, motivate them, and so it's literally a regular occurrence.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Okay. I would be remiss if I didn't start asking you more about Hilton's properties, because you've probably visited. Have you been keeping track of how many you've been to?

Matt Schuyler:

Yes, indeed.

Chris Tkaczyk:

How many?

Matt Schuyler:

Plenty. I'm well into the hundreds at this stage, but lots more to go. Chris Tkaczyk:Yeah, and which one so far has been your favorite?

Matt Schuyler:

You know ...

Chris Tkaczyk:

Whether you're on vacation or you're going on a work trip.

Matt Schuyler:

Different properties for different reasons. We have so many great ones, but I'm going to cite the San Diego Bayfront Hilton for personal reasons. I did a business immersion there, where we take our executive leaders and we have them go work in a hotel for a week and do all the jobs. There I did housekeeping, engineering, managed the bar, did front desk check-ins, was a bellman, and I really had a chance to get to know the team there very well.

Matt Schuyler:

Did all their jobs, really hard work. Laundry was my favorite because it was just an incredible task at hand, and to see how hard those team members worked, dedicated themselves to making sure the laundry got done each and every day, was incredibly compelling to me and just a humbling experience. I'm going to say the Bayfront Hilton down in San Diego, because I know the team there really well and I got to work there for a week. It's a fantastic property, so I really love that one.

Chris Tkaczyk:

I haven't been there. My favorite so far has been the Waldorf Astoria on Maui. Matt Schuyler:Ah, yes.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Have you been there?

Matt Schuyler:

I have. I have.

Chris Tkaczyk:

A friend of ours, my boyfriend and I were traveling, and I was planning on proposing on the beach on Maui.

Matt Schuyler:

Excellent.

Chris Tkaczyk:

A friend of mine called the hotel to let them know, and he didn't pay for it, you know, but a surprise to us. We got back to our room after dinner, and there was a big shape of a heart in rose petals on the bed and there was a bottle of champagne. It was just, you know, that extra touch that shows that, you know, when have you employees who care ...

Matt Schuyler:

Yes.

Chris Tkaczyk:

You can also take care of your guests too.

Matt Schuyler:

That's exactly our model, and I'm really delighted to hear that you had that experience.

Chris Tkaczyk:Yeah. It was great.

Matt Schuyler:

This is exactly the point that I was making earlier, that those moments that matter are why you come back to our properties, and that's a great property at Grand Wailea in Maui, and so I'm glad you had a good experience there.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Yeah, it was really great, and we plan to go back.

Matt Schuyler:

Excellent.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Yeah. I want to talk a bit about how artificial intelligence is sort of now beginning to disrupt the work experience for a lot of companies. It'll be slow to adopt in different industries, but how is it happening in hospitality right now?

Matt Schuyler:

I'd say we're at the beginning stages. We're just getting started with some of the AI opportunities that are available today. We use it in HR for recruitment screening presently. We're having a good experience, with AI engines are allowing a more efficient approach towards initial sourcing of candidate criteria.

Matt Schuyler:

We're also beginning to dabble with AI in training, virtual immersions. I mentioned a physical immersion where I went to San Diego and worked for a week. We're building a virtual immersion curriculum where you can just put on the goggles and you're in a hotel and you're back of house, and you're doing some of the tasks that exist there. We're also moving to a chatbot type of format for HR services that our team members might need.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Oh, interesting.

Matt Schuyler:

The basics. I have a question about my 401(k) balance, or what's my vacation accrual presently. We believe that the future will be such that chatbots will be able to do that.

Chris Tkaczyk:

With the goal, I guess, as an example, of asking about, you know, paid time off or vacation days, so that somebody will not have to then go bother their manager and say ... you know, or reach out to HR directly, so there's not a big pile of email over time? It's just there's somebody dedicated to answering that question?

Matt Schuyler:

Instantly, yeah. The goal is for us to be able to provide that key information instantly as you need it. First stop would be does it exist online and I can get to it via my mobile device. That would be our first goal. If not, can I use an automated technology to get that answer instantaneously versus having to wait? That's where the chatbots come in, and you're seeing that in other service industries where, rather than pick up a phone and call someone, you can text or do an online exchange with them to get a more instant answer. That's our goal in HR as well, to be able to provide that information instantaneously.

Chris Tkaczyk:

Do you know which companies are now working to develop that type of software, for chatbots?

Matt Schuyler:

Well, let me use an example from recruitment. We're working with a company called HireVue to deliver a better candidate experience using AI screening technologies, as well as interview assistance tools that allow our recruiters to be more effective and more efficient. It also allows the candidates to have a better experience, because they understand where they stand in the process and they don't feel like they're wasting their time with an unruly or inefficient screening process.

Matt Schuyler:

That's a good example of where technology is supplementing the experience and making it more efficient, and a well-known vendor that has a really great product that we're leveraging to reduce the time to fill roles considerably, and the cost to fill those roles, importantly. If we can be more efficient, it's a better candidate experience, a better experience for our owners and our general managers, to be able to hire people in a shorter amount of time.

Speakers

Christopher Tkaczyk

Chief Content Officer, Great Place to Work

Matthew Schuyler

Chief Human Resources Officer at Hilton