Leader Perspectives: Hilton’s Chief Human Resources Officer Matt Schuyler on Building a Winning Workplace Culture
This is a milestone year for Hilton in many ways. Not only does Hilton celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, the company also landed the #1 ranking on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S. We asked Hilton’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Matt Schuyler, to share his thoughts on these milestones and how the company has built a great workplace culture for all Team Members.
Congratulations on being named the best company to work for in the U.S. What are some of the factors that led to this recognition?
Matt: We are proud and honored to be #1 on this prestigious list – the first hospitality company to do so in the history of this ranking. When Conrad Hilton founded this company a century ago, he had a vision to spread the light and warmth of hospitality around the world. That remains our vision today and is delivered through our 408,000 incredible Team Members. We want to create the very best working environment for them and help them build a career with us. So we’ve been very deliberate about creating programs that make Hilton the best possible place to work for all, including our industry-leading Team Member travel program, global learning platforms, a warm and modern back of house (or as we call it “heart of house”), and other world-class benefits.
Can you tell us more about some of these programs?
Matt: We’ve created a number of programs and initiatives under the banner of ‘Thrive at Hilton” that allow Team Members to thrive, no matter what their aspirations are personally or professionally. “Thrive at Hilton” is designed to allow Team Members to focus on what is important to them as individuals rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution. It results in Team Members who are more engaged in their work and with their teams. For some, it might mean more flexibility to work around their children’s schedules or adoption assistance to help start a family; for others, it might mean pursuing their GED equivalency or strengthening their leadership skills through development courses and programs, or it could mean taking time off to travel using our Go Hilton program that provides access to discounted room rates at one of Hilton’s more than 5,700 properties around the world.
How do you demonstrate the value of these programs to the business?
Matt: The simple answer is when you hire great people and give them a great working environment, they will deliver great service to your guests. Team Members are at the core of our business. They are the cultural ambassadors who deliver on our mission to be the most hospitable company in the world. And so it is important to us to invest in them. When we put our effort into people, programs, and practices, the outcome is less attrition, a more engaged workforce and a superior guest experience.
Hilton was also recently recognized as one of DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity and the #1 Best Workplace for Diversity by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. What does this recognition mean to you?
Matt: We were thrilled to achieve top spots on both of these reputable lists. Over the last century, Hilton has opened its doors to more than 3 billion guests and 10 million Team Members whose diverse backgrounds and beliefs make up the fabric of Hilton. The journey to foster a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment for all Team Members and guests is one that we are committed to for the long-term. This recognition is positive reinforcement that we are on the right track.
What are some of the ways Hilton is thinking outside the box when it comes to the Team Member experience?
Matt: Team Members are the heart and soul of Hilton. We invest considerable time and energy in helping Team Members thrive. One example of where we’ve done that very well is with our Team Member wardrobes. When you think about what our Team Members do at hotels, many of the roles are physically demanding – they’re on their feet and covering large distances over the course of a day, cleaning rooms, climbing into small spaces as engineers, or working outside maintaining gardens. We worked with Under Amour to create a more innovative option made of performance-grade fabrics that are more durable, more breathable, and have pockets where they need them. This has been successful not just because of the quality of the clothing, but because our Team Members look and feel good about how they show up to work.
Finally, what are you excited about as Hilton looks to its second century?
Matt: In our next century, we are excited to continue pioneering new ways of working around the world. We want Team Members to learn, grow, and develop with us and have some fun while they’re here. Advancements in technology will certainly help us along the way, but most importantly, we want to maintain that human touch with our guests – the friendly, reliable, and memorable encounters with Team Members that bring guests back to stay with us.