Don't Outkick Your Coverage

August 6, 2012

The Challenge of Growing Globally - Recruiting Great Talent

In a recent blog, I indicated that in the next two years we would be opening one hotel per month in China.  This, of course, represents a huge challenge to hire and retain some 40,000 new associates. 

Our Hotel Rocks

We are working closely with several hospitality schools and colleges to hire the very best.  Many of these institutions are not in the major cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, but in smaller cities in different parts of the country.

As we face this incredible challenge, we are ramping up our on-the-job training.  We know that if we achieve the reputation of being the best hotels where people can learn the business, we will be able to attract and retain the very best. 

Our Human Resources department is getting creative in helping us hire people and telling our story.  They’ve started a video competition in China called Our Hotel Rocks.  Hotel teams produced videos about why their hotel is the best in an effort to recruit top-notch associates.  We are sharing the very best and posting them to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.  I love to see the passion and creativity for Marriott.  


I’m pleased to report that our culture of taking care of our associates is making a big difference in China.  For 2011, our Hong Kong JW Marriott hotel was selected by Aon Hewitt as the top employer in all of Hong Kong.  This was a competition between 40 different companies across all industries.  We were measured on five key areas that differentiate the best:  

  1. Strong Organizational Alignment
  2. Clear Vision and Compelling Employee Promise
  3. Performance Driven Culture
  4. Efficient and Effective People Practices
  5. Persuasive Accountability and Trust

We have 740 associates in this hotel which opened in 1989.  140 associates have still been with us after 20 years, and 470 associates after 5 years.  In fact, last year they had 9% employee turnover, which is one of the lowest in the company.  

My hat is off to our general manager Mark Conklin and his team.  In visiting the JW Marriott in Hong Kong recently, I saw that Mark knew his associates by name and knew what they did and something about their families.  I found that this often makes all the difference in the world.   

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

REMINDER: My Cook-Off Challenge deadline is August 15th.  Email your recipe and a photo of your dish to:
For a list of ingredients and more details go to:


Listen to blog - Our Hotel Rocks

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Booka, Mr Marriot, Wise man leader of hotel, I work for you, You give me my monies to live good in land, thank u for doing this,

Hats off to Marriott for leading the way. Too bad there is not an Intern plan for college students who believe they want to go into the Hotel Industry. My daughter has travelled the world with me and loves staying in Marriotts. Currently in College she is Interning next summer for a competitor as she desires overseas experience and is set to get that in Israel. Look internally as well, especially from within your most loyal customers. Thanks!

It is no secret...if you want your employees to respect, follow, and stay loyal you MUST get to know them personally. Clearly, Mark and his team have done just that and with a 9% turnover rate, his track record speaks for itself. Kudos!

It's amazing to see that Marriott will expanding to other countries in Asia. This could lots of job opening and can help those who have no work and lessen poverty.

The Hong Kong JW Marriott is doing something right. 140 associates still with them after 20 years? That's really impressive. Marriott has always been great at hiring and retaining the best employees, and I love this "Our Hotel Rocks" program. Very cool!

I'd like to know when JW Marriott xinghai square in Dalian,China will be open? It still under construction. I'm looking forward to enjoying Marriott's services in Dalian!

It's not easy expanding rapidly in Asia. The cultural barriers carry over to the hospitality industry. Most potential hires have no concept of a hotel and how to set a table. They also tend not to be loyal to an employee if offered a few pennies more. Good luck with recruiting. Don't let your Marriott culture get lost in translation.

I think I have posted this same comment a few years ago, so please excuse if this is redundant. If I were a lot earlier in my career I would try to get a job with Marriott, a company that has my respect!