Hilton’s NextGen Team Member Resource Group (TMRG) was founded as a resource group to help connect new, current, and future Team Members across the organization with a focus on retention, engagement, network expansion, career development, mentorship, community engagement and personal development. With a global corporate workforce spread across three generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials, with Gen Z beginning to come on board; as well as a third-place ranking on Fortune’s 2021 Best Workplaces for Millennials' large companies list, Hilton is a recognized proponent of multigenerational employment and intergenerational workplace relationships.
As the workforce generationally shifts, it is more important than ever to learn from each other and take advantage of diverse perspectives to drive innovation and make the right business decisions, driven by the belief that we all have something to learn from one another. To celebrate Intergenerational Awareness Month, Hilton spoke to three NextGen TMRG leaders across the organization about their thoughts on generational values and what they’ve learned from — and appreciate about — other generations in the workforce.
Q: Why did you join the NextGen TMRG?
- Talene Staab, global brand head, Tru by Hilton: I’m still very new to the NextGen TMRG, but what better time to join than Intergenerational Awareness Month?
- Jay Tom Ratliff, director, revenue management consolidated center — Americas: My career and life have been greatly benefited by the support and guidance of those with more experience. I joined the NextGen TMRG to help create more opportunities for those earlier in their career to get the information and resources needed to build the careers they want.
- Franziska Heller, director, planning & optm – EMEA: I have led our NextGen Watford Chapter since 2019 and it’s an area I am very passionate about. Each generation has distinct experiences and perspectives and, as the demographics shift, the way we work will inevitably change too. However, I think it’s important to remember that we are so much more similar than we are different. We collectively need to speak up, stand up and help educate to continue shaping a generationally diverse workplace culture — a culture in which we welcome and celebrate ALL.
Q: Which generation are you part of and what would you say makes your generation unique?
- Talene: I’m a proud Gen Xer! We are a small but mighty cohort. Our claim to fame is that we are an independent, self-reliant group. We existed before helicopter parenting was a thing and tend to be straight shooters.
- Jay Tom: I am part of the Millennial generation. One thing that may set us apart is that we are mostly old enough to remember not having the internet but also grew up just as the internet was developed. I think that means we approach today’s connected world completely different than Gen X that grew up before much of the internet or Gen Z that never knew a world without it.
- Franziska: I am a Millennial and, aside from our shared love for avocado toast, I believe Millennials were the first generation that had a really hard time breaking away from generational stereotypes that, due to media digitalization, began to be widely and globally publicized just as we embarked on our career journeys. I would like to think that this, by default, forced us to become more resilient, strengthened our critical thinking abilities and motivated us to advocate for D&I matters.
Q: What is something that you’ve learned about and admire about the other generations in the workforce?
- Talene: As I was coming up in my career, I always looked up to my elders for advice and counsel. I’ve appreciated their loyalty and dedication to their careers, and perhaps learned to balance work and life a bit more because of that. Younger generations, on the other hand, are definitely more tech-savvy, whereas Gen Xers and Boomers were already in the workforce as many tech innovations were entering the mainstream Also, I appreciate how younger generations are matching personal values with other elements of their lives like career planning and purchasing choices.
- Jay Tom: If you look at all the amazing things that were invented or created by Gen X, you can’t help but be impressed. That generation really did embrace the idea of thinking outside of the box and it has had a huge impact for the rest of us.
- Franziska: I can go on about this all day! The work ethics instilled by Baby Boomers, the importance of work-life balance pioneered by Gen X, the new tech I learned from my Gen Z colleagues, or simply the fresh perspective of my coworkers on any given challenge.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to have a multigenerational workforce?
- Talene: A multigenerational workforce is important like any other aspect of having a diverse workforce. In some ways, having a multigenerational workforce is one of the easier diversity initiatives to achieve because we’re all aging – that can’t be avoided! As a brand leader, I rely on my colleagues to represent other generations as we evolve our brands. For example, how are we adapting our brands to newer generations without alienating older ones? Or, are we able to find common threads across multiple generations with our target customers?
- Jay Tom: Like with all diversity, the more you challenge your own thoughts and behaviors – embracing what others and their experiences can bring to the table – the stronger you can be as an individual and an organization. Experience is an invaluable tool for avoiding mistakes and recreating successes, while new and fresh perspectives are sometimes the only way to truly innovate. Without a multigenerational workforce, our company wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is today.
- Franziska: Chris Nassetta, our CEO always says it so accurately: “We are a business of people serving people.” People, with their own individual backgrounds, expertise and opinions. It is a clear advantage for any organization to be able to tap into this wide range of ideas, leveraging unique strengths and learning from each other. I truly believe this culture is what makes Team Members excel in terms of engagement, productivity and overall happiness. And don’t even get me started on the proven financial benefits for organizations with multigenerational teams!
Q: What would you say your generation looks for in an employer?
- Talene: Opportunity to grow, independence, flexibility and low drama.
- Jay Tom: Opportunity. Maybe that applies to all generations, but I believe that Millennials are looking for opportunities to grow themselves, opportunities to give back and opportunities to make a difference.
- Franziska: A company that clearly lays out its development and learning opportunities; an employer with accountable D&I and sustainability targets; a workplace that advocates for its employees’ flexibility and work-life balance.
Q: What makes Hilton stand out as an employer?
- Talene: I’ve been a ‘lifer’ with Hilton and remember when I was at the youngest end of the multigenerational spectrum. I feel like I’ve grown up with Hilton, had growing pains, learned from experience and have gotten better every year. We’ve learned how to listen better to our teams and franchisees — we’ve always been good at listening to our guests. We’ve made huge strides in D&I and our sustainability efforts and I appreciate how we’ve taken the light and warmth of hospitality beyond just our hotels and have impacted our communities as well. The Hilton I started with is not the same Hilton of today and I appreciate all of the changes we have made to be the greatest hospitality company for our teams, our owners and our guests.
- Jay Tom: Hilton has always provided me the opportunities I’ve sought out. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to grow my skillset and impact, and I have felt challenged enough in each role to develop and grow with the company.
- Franziska: See my response above! But focusing specifically on D&I, Hilton has done an impressive job of recognizing early on the value of a multigenerational culture and actively making sure each generation’s skills can be effectively leveraged. There is always room for growth, and we should hold ourselves at the highest standards, but we have already made great progress in ensuring there are ample diverse, multigenerational representatives in all areas of the business to leverage the power and beauty of different perspectives and experiences. Just as all of Hilton’s TMRGs have challenged us to do, we must ask ourselves if we feel ALL voices are being heard and represented.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 22 world-class brands comprising nearly 7,300 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 165 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.