Competent, knowledgeable and proud: Learning as a brand promise in the hospitality industry

Maria Ek Styvén, Luleå University of Technology, Department of Economics, Technology and Society

What is the project about?
– We will investigate how important creativity and development opportunities are for employees in the hospitality industry. We want to study how employers can create good conditions for employees to learn and develop at work.

Why does the hospitality industry need this?
– Skills supply and skills development are key issues for the hospitality industry. Content and knowledgeable employees are crucial for companies to be profitable, so attracting new and retaining their staff is important. It has been a pretty stark year in many ways, but there is a future with recovery coming. The industry needs to build on the positive and convey what working in it is about.

– We also know from previous studies that many employees in the hospitality industry do not see careers in the way we might mean traditionally. The hospitality industry in general can become better at showing that it offers an innovative, exciting and dynamic work environment where individuals are given the opportunity to learn new things, be creative and develop.

What are you going to do?
– We will use three different methods: interviews, observations and quantitative studies in the shape of questionnaires. We will interview employees and former employees. Those who have left and switched to other industries are interesting to investigate and ask what they learned in the hospitality industry, what they think the job stands for, what abilities and knowledge they have acquired. We also conduct interviews with employers; managers such as branch managers, hotel and restaurant managers and HR specialists as well as with recruiters. Through observations in the form of job shadowing, we will follow employees to see what they actually do, what knowledge and abilities they need in their job. We will also conduct surveys of employees in the hospitality industry.

What will be your big challenges?
– First and foremost, it is the prevailing situation with a pandemic. Everything is uncertain. Currently we do not know how it will develop, how the industry will continue to be affected and how willing people will be to take part in interviews.

What do you hope to achieve?
– We hope to be able to produce some type of checklist and recommendations for employers and industry organizations regarding how to work with training and skills development in the industry. I do not think it is about employees taking an external course, but rather about how they can develop within their workplace and how to create good conditions for it. On an overall level, we believe that there is a need for an industry brand that clearly shows what the industry stands for and what it means to work there. Our ambition is to be able to highlight it, how it can be communicated and give suggestions on what a brand for the entire hospitality industry could look like.

About the researchers
The project group includes Maria Ek Styvén, professor of industrial marketing (project manager), Karolina Parding, professor of work science, and Anna Näppä, doctoral student in industrial marketing, all at Luleå University of Technology.

Reference group
The project reference group includes representatives from Luleå Business Region, Swedish Lapland Visitors Board, Kalmar County Region, Bard Branding AB, Stockholm, Beyond Learning AB, Stockholm and Frans Schartaus Handelsinstitut, Stockholm.

 

 

Project facts

Project

Competent, knowledgeable and proud: Learning as a brand promise in the hospitality industry

Research organization

Luleå University of Technology

Project Manager

Maria Ek Styvén

Members

Anna Näppä, Karolina Parding

Period

Jan 2021 – Dec 2022

Amount

SEK 1,700,000

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