CTHRC’s 9th Annual HR Forum Delivers on Promise

Delegates leave Edmonton with fresh ideas on how to combat their recruitment and retention challenges

From November 15th to 17th, nearly 200 delegates gathered at the Edmonton Marriot at River Cree Resort to address critical human resource issues currently facing the tourism sector, with a particular focus on recruitment, retention, and staff development in these challenging times.

Fresh from her role in lighting the cauldron at the Vancouver Olympics, CTHRC spokesperson and Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century Nancy Greene Raine kicked off the 9th Annual Tourism HR Forum’s opening reception. Attendees flocked to the session, excited to hear from this tourism entrepreneur and Senator who once dominated the ski slopes and won gold and silver medals at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics. Following the opening remarks delegates were treated to a lively reception featuring some great local entertainers and a truly remarkable feast provided by the talented culinary team at the Marriot.

The first full day of the Forum featured an inspired presentation about leadership by Ferio Pugliese, Executive Vice-President, People and Culture, WestJet, and highly engaging breakout sessions on the use of technology for recruitment and retention, clarifying foreign worker rules and processes, and dealing with the stress of succession planning. The closing plenary on innovation and productivity featured Ferio Pugliese once again, joined by Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning, Conference Board of Canada, and Graeme Barrit, President of Coast Hotels & Resorts. The day ended with a dinner sponsored by Parks Canada featuring an innovative puppet show highlighting the wonders and history of Canada’s many national parks.

Day two featured an exciting mix of emerging social media tools and a dash of rock and roll. The presentation by internet guru Jesse Hirsh on using social media as a recruitment tool reverberated for the remainder of the Forum, with delegates both energized and a little overwhelmed with the current and emerging tools available to assist in their recruitment and retention strategies. Senior Director of Training for Hard Rock international, Jim Knight reinforced the importance of culture and brand identity in recruitment and training strategy. Breakout sessions on Aboriginal inclusion, becoming an Employer of Choice, and attracting and retaining internationally trained workers were well attended and generated much discussion.

Feedback from the event has been swift, comprehensive and extremely positive, with 89% of delegates saying they would recommend CTHRC’s HR Forum to colleagues, and the vast majority of survey respondents saying they found the content and execution of the event to be above average. Daniel Chiasson, General Manager, Deux Rivieres Resort and the first national employee-rated Employer of Choice recipient stated “I came here to see what some of my colleagues across the country are doing to ensure they recruit and retain exceptional staff. From what I’ve heard I feel we are definitely on the right track, but there were also many ideas and tactics that I’ll be able to bring back home and make my own operation that much better.”

Presentations from the 2010 HR Forum are available at http://cthrc.ca/en/tourism_hr_forum/hr_forum_2010/presentations.aspx . Each year the HR Forum builds on the success of the last—join us next year in Prince Edward Island for the 10th annual event. Please visit cthrc.ca to check on updates as details are finalized.