International Human Resource: Case study ‘Reardon’s Hotels’

You are the HR Manager of ‘Reardon’s Hotels’, a UK based chain of boutique hotels with a head office based in Bristol.  The CEO, Edward Reardon, started the business 20 years ago by buying a small hotel in Somerset and has since developed the company into a chain of seven hotels in the UK.  Reardon’s Hotels are considered to be up-market accommodation, each property having a small spa and restaurant withhigh value food offered at a reasonable price.  The hotels are typically situated in rural locations and tend to attract guests who are primarily leisure travelers seeking a relaxed intimate atmosphere and quality service.  The hotel chain prides itself on offering a quality product and excellent customer service.
 
Edward Reardon is the head of the organization and there are three further family members on the board of directors.  Although the organization has grown over the years the culture is still very much that of a family-run business with Edward Reardon viewed by staff as a somewhat strict but fair ‘father figure’.  However, although decisions are made centrally management prides itself on its commitment to employee participation and involvement.  Staff at all levels are encouraged to put forward their views and suggestions, and monthly ‘team circles’ are held in each hotel where groups come together to discuss operational and quality issues.  The organization also has a firm commitment to equitable HR policies and as such the same (or similar) practices are adopted in every hotel wherever possible.  The organization employs a relatively diverse workforce, and although salaries are no more than average for the sector (for example a hotel manager earns £45,000 per annum) there is an emphasis on continuing professional development and consequently the organization offers generous training and development opportunities.
 
Reardon’s Hotels have enjoyed a successful and profitable year and have recently acquired a rural hotel in southern Spain which they wish to add to the chain as their first overseas operation, with a view to developing the hotel chain further in the overseas market as a long term strategy.  Most of the local staff will be remaining at the hotel but Edward Reardon and his senior management team wishes to recruit a hotel manager from their UK staff base, in order to ensure familiarity with the organization’s operational procedures and values.  The position will be advertised internally to staff who are currently employed in a supervisory or deputy management role and thus the successful candidate will be effectively offered a promotion upon accepting the assignment.  He or she will be expected to lead the changeover of the new hotel over a six week period and then sign a twelve month contract as hotel manager.  This is a very important position as the success (or not) of the hotel will
 
 
have a direct bearing on whether Reardon’s Hotels decide to acquire other hotels in Spain or other European countries (and possibly further afield).  Upon returning from the assignment the successful candidate will be offered a management position in the UK commensurate with his/her new skills, experience and knowledge base.  In terms of reward, the average salary for a hotel manager in Spain is £30,000 which it is noted is significantly less than the UK salary he/she would enjoy.  Edward Reardon and the senior management team are looking for a consistent approach to rewards (for reasons of equity and to ensure that there is sufficient incentive to work overseas) and also want to see a range of incentives offered over and above base pay as long as such incentives are appropriate to the circumstances of the position.
 
Finally, the new overseas hotel is in a rural area of southern Spain but within travelling distance of coastal tourist resorts and thus attracts a number of tourists (predominately British and German).  There is a lively expat community living in the region and a local school (the private international school is situated ten miles away).  The level of English language proficiency amongst the locals is fair but not as advanced as within the coastal resorts.  The supervisory teams who are remaining at the hotel speak a good standard of English but the general staff are less proficient.  Medical facilities and transport links in the region are very good, and crime is low relative to the more developed towns and resorts in the area.
 
As HR Manager of Reardon’s Hotels you are responsible for devising an appropriate recruitment and selection, training and development, and rewards strategy for the role of Hotel Manageron assignment to the new hotel situated in southern Spainand the hotel staff.

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