“Employers in the tourism and hospitality industry must start considering each other as parts of an ecosystem. They have a common interest in making the industry's employer brand more attractive, says the dissertation's author”, Anna Näppä, doctor in industrial marketing.
Human capital is important in all industries, but in the tourism and hospitality industry it is of decisive importance. The tourism and hospitality industry depends on customer-oriented employees. They are the company's ambassadors who, in their meeting with the customer, nurture and develop the company's brand by fulfilling the customer's expectations. Employers in the tourism and hospitality industry are struggling with high labour turnover and a negative image of the industry, which has been reinforced in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are therefore in great need of an attractive employer brand.
Employer branding strategy
The empirical material consists of surveys and interviews with employees in the tourism and hospitality industry. The thesis also contains an observational study where employers and HR staff at small and medium-sized companies in a number of different industries in Norrbotten county participated in a project with the aim of creating a strategy for their company's employer brand.
The studies in the thesis that focus on the tourism and hospitality show a contradictory picture of it. On the one hand, many state that the job is stimulating and developing. It requires great social competence and the ability to solve problems. On the other hand, the tourism and hospitality has a low status. There is an image that it is something you do for a while until you get a "real" job.
“You need to develop a common and clear view of who you are if you work in the tourism and hospitality industry. If the industry is to be able to retain its workforce, it must have a value proposition that is better than today. You need to answer questions such as: What are we good at in the industry? How can we become better? What career and development opportunities are there? What opportunities are there for full-time employment?” says Anna Näppä.
Joint training and development
It can be difficult for an individual small business owner to offer, for example, training and development. One solution, according to Anna Näppä, is for several companies in the industry to jointly create training and development or benefit from industry organisations.
The need for development applies in particular within the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The industry has major problems with retaining talent. Greater opportunities for raining and development could help make the hospitality industry a legitimate career path. It is also in the consumer's interest that those who work in the industry have a high level of competence.”
Previous research on employer branding has mainly studied how large companies with extensive financial resources use their internal expertise to build attractive employer brands. Anna Näppä's recently published thesis places a greater focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. It also differs from previous research in that, rather than solely studying corporate HR and branding departments, it focuses on how employees function as co-creators of the employer brand. Furthermore, it takes a new direction in the field of research by also studying an entire industry, the employer brand of an entire industry or industry and not just the employer brand of individual companies.