Why Mandarin Oriental Calls Employees “Colleagues”

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group boasts of some of the most renowned luxury properties in the world, from a new oceanside resort in Dubai to an upcoming state-of-the-art high-rise tower in Honolulu. With the brand planning to add three to four properties a year, it’s particularly hard for Jacqueline Moyse, vice president of Organizational Development, to pick a favorite.

“Oh, gosh,” she said, when asked to choose. “That is like asking somebody which is their favorite child.”

But regardless of which hotel you choose, from a historical landmark to a modern mixed-use property, Moyse is emphatic that the people staffed there, who the company refers to as “colleagues,” are the best in the industry.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group was founded in 1963 with the opening of “The Mandarin” in Hong Kong. Fifty-five years later, the hotel is determined to create a delightful customer experience by maintaining an unparalleled employee experience. With a rapid expansion with the brand, supporting the company’s guiding principles — which include “delighting our guests” and “delighting our colleagues” — is more important than ever.

Every hotel opening is planned meticulously, with the early involvement of intensively trained and engaged colleagues. This includes a group of the company’s Cultural Exchange Ambassadors (CEAs), who will work alongside the local colleagues as ambassadors of the Mandarin Oriental brand. To open a new hotel, these experienced envoys infuse the culture among the new staff. Moyse said the CEA teams frequently change to introduce fresh perspectives at each opening.

To staff the growing list of luxury properties, Moyse believes developing internal talent is “first and foremost” before recruiting external candidates. The brand relies on the best of human resources (HR) technology to understand the skills and languages of their colleagues and to support them in their career growth.

When it’s time to hire new colleagues, the brand frequently looks for new talent at hotel schools around the world. Whether it’s a career fair or a job interview, Moyse aims to provide an incredible experience for the candidates and to “feel the brand” — be it a family room to entertain the candidate’s family during a hotel visit or standout refreshments.

The company’s simple yet lofty mission statement reinforces the company culture: “Our mission is to completely delight and satisfy our guests. We are committed to continual improvement, to making a difference every day, and to being the best.”

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Kirsten Allegri-Williams is chief marketing officer for SAP SuccessFactors.