"People development is more than just a job to me: it’s a passion"

An interview with Frank Fischer, Director Human Resources

Frank Fischer has been the Director of Human Resources at GCH Hotel Group since May 2016 and has already achieved a lot in that time. His passion for working with people is clear to see in his current role and drives the innovative changes he is making within the company. In the following interview, you’ll find out more about what he likes about the GCH Hotel Group, his objectives and what he’s looking for in a prospective member of staff.

1. Mr Fischer, one of your responsibilities at GCH Hotel Group is finding the right staff for different positions within the company. Today, though, is all about you: how did you come to work at GCH Hotel Group? 

After working at the Israeli consulate general and embassy for 20 years, I was looking for a new challenge. The job offer at GCH Hotel Group came at exactly the right moment, although if I’m honest, I still didn’t know an awful lot about the hotel industry then. But in your working life, there are times when you just have to jump in at the deep end and be prepared to start over. That's how the best situations arise. Moving into the hotel industry and to GCH was a great step for me. The sector is very dynamic and diverse, and this makes working in the HR department particularly exciting. For me, people management is no longer just a job: it’s a passion, which I also had the opportunity to experience in depth in my previous role.

2. There is a wide variety of job opportunities available in the hotel industry. In your opinion, what makes the GCH Hotel Group so attractive to people?

Aside from company benefits, there are three key things that epitomise GCH for me: flat hierarchies, growth and creativity. At GCH, every member of staff has the chance to play an active role in the company’s development and contribute creative, innovative ideas. A unique feature of GCH is its excellent training offer. Through programmes like the Leadership Academy and Training Calendar, each member of staff can fulfil their potential and achieve their career goals. If our staff want to take on managerial responsibilities and make their way up the career ladder, they’re rewarded for their dedication and good performance: there are many examples of this within our workforce.

3. On what criteria do you appoint staff? What qualities, qualifications and strengths do you expect in a prospective employee?

I always say that most skills can be learned and trained. What counts for us is personality. A CV with excellent qualifications is therefore an advantage, but we also look closely at the applicant’s social skills. Is the applicant a good fit for the company and the team? Will they feel comfortable in their new role? What can we do to maintain team spirit in our departments? At GCH, we look for new colleagues who are team players and willing to join GCH Hotel Group on new, innovative paths rather than people who want to go it alone. 

4. So let’s assume an applicant has been successful and has got the job: what does the on-boarding process at GCH look like?

We’re keen to ensure that new employees feel at home right from the start. So GCH Hotel Group has developed a range of programmes, such as the GCH Welcome Day, for welcoming new hotel staff and giving them a guiding hand. In addition to our on-boarding process, we have a pre-boarding process, which prepares staff for their forthcoming role, even before their first day of work. In our headquarters, new staff members get the chance to learn about other departments, which gives them a good overview of GCH and its teams from the very beginning. By doing this, we ensure that all new starters are sufficiently informed and well-integrated.

It goes without saying that we have to keep developing these processes and adapting them to the next generation of applicants. The time prior to and during the on-boarding process lays the foundation stone for a partnership lasting many years, so in future we will be paying particularly close attention to this phase.

5. What’s been your biggest success at GCH so far?

Most definitely the expansion of our Leadership Academy. I took part in the programme myself when I first started at GCH. However, shortly after, in my role as director, I gave the programme’s format a thorough overhaul. Participants now have to take an active part in the Academy and are given the chance to be a part of the change – this perfectly reflects the working environment at GCH too. We need staff who want to shake things up a little, who share my motto in life: 'By changing nothing, nothing changes!’'

The careers forged by many of our staff are a testament to the success of the Leadership Programme. It gives me great pride to see how participants have developed with us and how they successfully perform their roles as managers today.

6. You’ve already achieved a lot in your current position. What other goals do you have at GCH?

My aim is to continue discovering and nurturing the talents and skills of our staff. At GCH, we’ve already made a huge stride in this direction, but we must never stop improving on what we do. Another objective is to build even better networks between our staff. Communication is particularly important at a company like GCH, which has staff operating in many different regions. So, my personal ambition is to continue improving and promoting communication within the company: because only by communicating effectively you can achieve success.

Editor: Caroline Wacker

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