The hidden opportunity: Talent distress
The hidden opportunity: Talent distress
20 MARCH 2020 7:51 AM

The clear and sudden downturn the hotel industry is facing is obviously catastrophic, but it also presents an opportunity for companies willing and able to take care of their people.

In the long gap between downturns for the hotel industry, it became increasingly common to hear the head of some hotel ownership or development group talking almost longingly for the days of recession, when distressed assets were available to gobble up and turn in to a tidy profit.

Well, the recession days are clearly back. And it seems like things are likely to reach unprecedented heights in terms of distress if the current, bleak predictions about cash-flow issues turn out to be true.

But it strikes me that picking up assets for pennies on the dollar is far from the only opportunity the better positioned, more cash-rich companies will see as the hotel industry claws its way back from this latest hurdle of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For the past couple of years, one of the biggest issues faced by hotel companies was the lack of highly skilled, qualified individuals at both a property and corporate level. Obviously with a sharp upturn in unemployment from this crisis, that’s no longer the most pressing issue, but it also means that there is suddenly a sea of great potential candidates available for when travel restrictions lift.

While everyone is battening down the hatches to weather this storm, the enterprising companies that commit to keeping their people taken care of or even venture out to find the best of the best from this suddenly available pool of talent—one could even call it talent distress—will be well-poised to thrive coming out of this crisis.

Being the company that helped its people survive through one of the most difficult times will also go a long way in establishing a solid reputation as a place people want to work for.

I know I’m going out on a limb, and financially this isn’t an option for everyone right now, or even most, but for those who happen to be cash-rich and well positioned, it might be useful to invest in the best possible workforce now for later in 2020 and beyond.

It isn’t the case, today, but there will be tight labor markets, again, some day. And how you act today could determine how much you succeed when that happens.

What do you think? Let me know via email or on Twitter.

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