The impact of talent recognition; who will you nominate?

‘Talent of the Year Award’ What does this exactly mean for young talents and organizations who are looking for them? Cees van der Haagen (HTH ’17) provides us his insights. 

The challenge for organizations to attract and retain young potential employees is getting more attention. Especially in the hospitality industry, many organizations are looking for the right people. Preferably, people with characteristics that match the core values of the organization. But that’s only half of the job.

During the 6th Future Hotello, an initiative of HotelloTOP, more than 300 students, postgraduates and leaders of industry were present. An extensive programme filled with workshops, panel discussions, award ceremonies and presentations formed the ultimate set-up for all whom attended. Many trends, developments and threats were discussed and the impact of talent recognition was one of them.

A couple of months prior to the event, I was informed that our CEO nominated me for the Talent of the Year Award. I perceived the nomination to be an enormous token of recognition. For me personally, it was the ultimate “thank you for your effort during the past year”. I have to admit, when I saw who the other nominees were, I felt even more proud. The competition was fierce to say the least. Out of more than 30 other nominees, Marjolein van der Ham (owner of Restaurant Orangerie de Pol), Kasper Hanewacker (President of the Hospitality Network Group) and I were selected as the three finalists for this award by an official jury of industry experts.

In order for the jury to make a well-founded decision, we had to answer many questions. Questions such as: “What was your biggest achievement last year?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” are fantastic questions, but are not asked often enough. Moreover, if these questions are asked, we don’t put the answers on paper. The questions forced me to reflect and to elaborate on these reflections in such a way others would understand it. The process of answering these questions took me more time than I expected. Therefore, the nomination itself not only provided me with the feeling of recognition, but also provided me with the challenge of self-reflection. For both of these benefits, I will remain forever grateful!

The challenge for employers to attract and retain the right people in the hospitality industry is becoming more important than ever. In the end, companies (regardless how small or large) can’t afford to sit on the sideline and are forced to go the extra step, because the right people will help differentiate them from their competitors. Recognizing talent publicly, by nominating them for awards such as the Talent of the Year Award, will prove beneficial on the long-term in many ways. I am convinced that the impact of talent recognition will become more vital in the coming years and that its effect on attracting and retaining the best people will grow as well.

There are many milestones and goals on everyone’s agenda in 2019. I hope, for the long-term benefit of your organization, recognizing talent is one of them.