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Ms. Grennan

Human Resources, Recruitment & Training

Leveraging the Power of the Gig Economy

A New Era in Hospitality

By Kim Grennan, Co-Founder & CEO, FindSideGigs.com

The Gig Economy is a chance for hotel executives to hire some of the world's most talented professionals, free of long-term commitments and costly responsibilities. This phenomenon is the result of social change, technological freedom and a global shift in people's attitudes toward work. These forces enable individuals with specific skills, such as fluency in graphic design, information technology (IT), and marketing and promotions, among other things, to take advantage of opportunities from hoteliers large and small, from boutique properties to international resorts, from vacation spots to locales for conferences and conventions.

This worldwide trend will transform all manner of industries. That means hoteliers can rethink their approach to recruiting and the way their respective HR departments operate, since there will be an increase in the number of virtual workers who oversee specific projects.

These workers are agile and mobile, mobilized as much by ambition as they are by the convenience of their mobile devices. They work from studios and libraries, as well as parks and other public places. They are fluent in the language of the Web and conversant in several dialects of technology and business.

They constitute a new generation of workers, a generation eager to try different things and ready to test their skills in different ways on behalf of different things. They are innovators and inventors, voices of independence who are vocal about what they want, because they will do whatever it takes to fulfill their wants and needs.

The good news is that hotel executives have the freedom to choose the right experts for the right assignments, provided they choose the right website to help them in this search to source freelancers and independent contractors.

That search requires due diligence, since the right website is the principal factor in easing this recruitment process. That search demands patience and transparency, so hoteliers have the confidence they need - and the care they have a right to receive - from an expert who has a talent for spotting talent, so to speak.

The process influences all manner of things, in terms of diversity, experience and expertise. It is a process hoteliers should familiarize themselves with - it is a process they have every reason to familiarize themselves with - because it represents an opportunity of global importance and economic significance. To follow this process is to secure the loyalty of patrons, the support of fans, the praise of critics and the popularity of a brand that is more valuable than some generic business.

Put another way, technology transforms the independent contractor from being an island unto himself - in this case, no man (or woman) is not an island - to being a member of a vast archipelago of connections; of having the connections, in terms of an actual Internet connection and a network of business contacts, to accept assignments without regard to time or place. Having a credible source to connect these contractors with projects is essential, too, because it ensures consistency of quality and a constant supply of superior talent.

In turn, recruiters for the hospitality industry can go beyond their conventional means of finding and hiring eligible employees.

Think, for a moment, about how laborious the status quo is: It requires a lot of travel and meetings (and follow-up meetings), in addition to selling each candidate on the merits of this or that job. It involves hosting events at colleges and universities, interviewing undergraduates and graduate students, touring a select number of business schools in the Northeast, the South, the Midwest and California. It involves, in so many words, plenty of toil, tears and sweat.

Compare that scenario with hiring independent contractors or freelancers, when there is no need to crisscross the country and every reason to choose the virtual over the physical; which is to say, what many can do off-site is often better than having someone do the same thing onsite.

Think, too, of how hoteliers can invest this savings. Think of how they can apply this surplus to improving the guest experience by way of adding amenities, approving renovations and authorizing upgrades to their respective properties. Think of how much more creative a hotel executive can be, if he has the resources - if she has the budget - to channel that creativity toward achieving a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

That advantage is critical because of the many ways hoteliers seek to differentiate themselves in not only a crowded field, but a particularly crowded city like New York or Los Angeles, where the Travel section of each city's flagship newspaper continually features the latest - and hippest - downtown hotel; the one with a rooftop pool and DJ versus the other with a lobby that serves as unofficial nightclub for guests and visitors.

If anything, an independent contractor can strengthen that competitive advantage, thanks to his or her very independence -- thanks to that person's willingness to speak truth to power and give an outsider's advice about an opportunity others may not see or know exists.

Think, then, of how hoteliers can maximize this moment. Think of the liberating power of technology, where, with the help of a single website, job candidates can pair themselves with individuals and institutions that best reflect each other's needs. Think of how people think of work as a series of experiences, instead of a lifetime with a single company or a career within a single industry.

Think of how men and women want work to be less of a chore and more of core element of what they believe and what they want to do. Consider, too, the desire by employees to personalize their work; to give their projects a sense of identity and commitment, where they have an investment in the quality of what they do and how they do it.

That is the reality we have every incentive to accept, because that is the reality of the present and the present opportunity we can seize for the future. This is a disruptive force, not a destructive one. And therein lies a distinction with a difference: Disruption is not a zero-sum game, where one employee's freedom is another employer's loss of liberty.

This is a win-win situation for all, especially when one side gets to choose a variety of jobs and the other gets to make money via a variety of savings.

Recognition of today's workforce, of its size and significance, of its availability and willingness to avail itself of opportunities worldwide, of its range of skills and set of skills for a wide range of industries -- all of these things are a benefit of invaluable proportion.

Hotel executives can innovate their way to success, so they may monetize this reality for the good of their guests and the cause of their own self-interest. Nothing less should define this moment, because there is little or no room for advancement for a hotel that does not adapt to these changes.

There is no room, period, for any business that tries to reject this environment of the new and the ambitious.

That truth is a maxim of business: Technology begets greater efficiency and higher productivity; it provides options, empowering consumers and emboldening entrepreneurs to revolutionize a full spectrum of products and services.

It is our duty to direct this technology in a way that rewards innovation and inspires a culture to pursue innovation as its own reward. This is a duty equal to our needs, as it is a route toward more personal freedom and more freedom for professionals to do their best work. We can use this occasion to lead, evolve and succeed; as it is time for all businesses to thrive rather than just survive.

Such is also the case with the freelancer or the independent contractor. Each has the means to advance this campaign through the work he does or the projects she supervises. Each is an agent for change, in an economy that changes sometimes by the second, so long as each embraces change; so long as each proves change is worth it.

We should, therefore, dismiss the notion that change has room for the few while it bypasses the many. There is, as hoteliers realize by now, plenty of room for the independent contractor or the freelancer.

Either one is a model of the New Economy, or whatever title people give it, since either one likes a good challenge, an interesting project and exposure to something different.

Hoteliers can also be models of positive change. They can inspire other industries to emulate their success and follow their example, because leadership - being a leader of economic opportunity - is an asset.

Let hotel executives be the leaders they can be. Let them flourish in an economy that encourages experimentation and inspires everyone to innovate.

Let them do these things, free of criticism or concerns about a backlash, because we need hoteliers to be advocates for change and champions of the right kind of change. Let them be the leaders they must be.

Kim Grennan is the Founder and CEO of FindSideGigs.com, a free lead generation service for freelancers and those wanting to make extra money part-time. Ms.Grennan is also the CEO of Axle Eight, a marketing and strategy agency for tech start-ups. Prior to starting FindSideGigs.com and Axle Eight, she worked at a sell-side investment bank in Chicago specifically focusing on deals within the plastics, chemicals, and packaging industries. Over her career, Ms. Grennan has worked with 100+ companies in a variety of industries helping launch and scale their businesses. She holds her M.B.A. from Loyola University Chicago and her Bachelors in Economics from The University of Arizona. Ms. Grennan can be contacted at 480-225-7178 or kim.grennan@gmail.com Please visit http://findsidegigs.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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