In the past year when I’ve done interviews with the press, I’ve received the question repeatedly about how it feels to have a non-family member for the first time as CEO. Arne Sorenson is as much a member of our family as everyone else. I’ve always considered each and every one of our associates part of our family.Everyone finds their way in to the company differently – through friends, or family or even an advertisement. Almost everyone I meet says they were born to do this work. And me, I was born in my job too, and trained every day by a very demanding boss – my dad. My father was the human resources department, and he wanted all of our workers to feel that this is where they belonged. He basically adopted everyone. Let me give you a few old-time names.
Mac Woodward ran our central commissary when we had the Hot Shoppes. The Stiller brothers, Bob and John, they both worked in airline catering and running our restaurants. Herschel Hagen was the manager of our ice cream plant at the commissary. And there are many, many others, most of whom I can’t remember at this point, but all had an impact on my life.
86 years after our founding, “Marriott, Where I Belong” is the theme of our latest recruiting campaign. It’s a nod back to when we were a small family business. My dad would take sick workers to the doctor, and finally hired a doctor on his staff – one of the first companies to do so. If our associates got in trouble, he’d bail them out. He was always there for them.
The company has grown to over 300,000 associates who work at company-operated and franchised hotels. But it’s nice to know that our global company still feels like family. It’s that sense of family that makes our guests feel at home.
Family in the workplace can be an interesting dynamic. Some might say that business is business and that you should leave your personal life at home. But it’s difficult to put your personal life on hold while you’re working.
As part of the “Marriott, Where I Belong” HR campaign, we produced a video and this neat Facebook app. You’ll meet some of our extended family, and I’m sure get a chuckle at the end of the video from Palitha of Sri Lanka. They all make me feel so proud. Visit our Careers website if you think this is “where I belong.”
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.