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Crowne Plaza intern aims for the fast track

Published on Friday, 01 Feb 2013
Shirley Chong
Photo: Dickson Lee

Shirley Chong is currently interning in the human resources (HR) department at the Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay hotel, where she is helping her colleagues organise training activities. She tells Wong Yat-hei how she plans to use the experience as a platform to enter the hotel industry as a management trainee after graduation.

What is your academic background?
I am a bachelor student majoring in hospitality and event management at the Swiss Hotel Management School in Switzerland.

How do you start your day?
I start by attending the HR team’s morning briefing to learn about the tasks that I have to accomplish for the day. I can then plan my schedule for the day so that I can complete all the tasks on time.

What does your job entail?
The HR department has two major functions: managing personnel and training. I have been assigned to tasks related to staff training and development. My routine work includes handling paperwork and keeping the training record in an organised state.

From time to time, I am given the chance to help plan training activities. These activities aim to foster a sense of belonging among staff, maintain a good employee-employer relationship and cultivate a strong brand culture.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
At the very beginning, I was not quite sure what I had to do as an intern. My knowledge of HR was all from books. Fortunately, my trainer set a clear training plan for my six-month internship. With his training and guidance, I learned quickly and am now able to apply the skills I learned in the classroom to real-world settings.

Another challenge is being “one step ahead” at work. As this is a brand value that every Crowne Plaza employee needs to uphold, it is necessary for me to learn how to anticipate others’ needs and stay “one step ahead”.

What are your immediate or long-term professional plans?
My plan is to apply for a management trainee programme at a major hotel group once I graduate. I definitely want to pursue a career in the hospitality industry, so I would like to be exposed to different departments in order to have a deeper understanding of their operations. I do enjoy working back of house, especially in the HR department, and could see myself working as an HR professional in five years time.

What advice can you give those interested in the industry?
The hospitality industry is all about dealing with people, whether it is external communication with guests or internal interactions with colleagues. Effective communication skills are crucial for the success of any hotelier. Be proactive and show a positive attitude as often as you can, as this is what employers look for. Attitude is everything. If you have a good attitude, you are more likely to succeed.

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