Career Advice Expert Advice

Rhombus squares the jobs circle

Hotel group hiring 80 staff for new property

The rapidly growing number of hotels in Hong Kong and the mainland are competing not only for guests, but also for capable, experienced and professional employees.

The fast-expanding Rhombus International Hotels Group is internally promoting and transferring experienced staff to positions in new properties, while replenishing the ranks in their existing Hong Kong hotels.

“In view of our new projects in the pipeline, we will have over 80 positions available at Hotel Pennington by Rhombus over the next couple of months, from department heads to line staff. Our recruitment is ongoing, in order to cope with the expansion,” says Calvin Mak, founder and chief executive of Rhombus.

Hotel Pennington by Rhombus, the group’s second hotel in Causeway Bay, will open in June with 79 cosy, boutique-style rooms. The group has yet another hotel in the pipeline for Causeway Bay, which will increase the group’s number of hotel rooms in the area to close to 300.

For front-line staff, Rhombus is recruiting in a number of areas, including bellboys, guest-services ambassadors, management trainees and entry-level hospitality graduates. “In the hotel industry, we are facing a labour shortage of operations staff at entry level, such as room attendants, front office and reservation agents,” Mak says.

Rhombus’ clear advantage in the human resources field is the support it gives to its staff, and the way it regards every position and individual as equally important.

“We promote from within,” Mak says. “We have core players and layers of management, and we offer them opportunities – not only salary increments but career development. All the senior management positions are filled from within our group as a reward for their performance and loyalty.”

He adds that the company also provides opportunities for horizontal transfers, so that employees can further their knowledge of the hospitality industry. “A sales manager can transfer to operations, to be a guest service manager or vice versa,” he says.

As for those freshly starting out, he is confident that hiring the right person and giving the right training will result in outstanding performance, regardless of the applicant’s work experience. “Are we born with experience? No. So why limit ourselves? It depends who you hire. We look for individuals who are willing to learn with dedication and a positive attitude,” he says.

He adds that in the people business, the most important thing is good interpersonal and communication skills. “The requirements for the type of applicants we are looking for is basically very simple. They should be passionate, friendly, dedicated, committed, patient, willing to learn, positive, hard working and team players,” he says.

Requirements for senior management and management-level positions include the ability to share knowledge and experience, and to coach the team to help them reach the company’s goals and objectives.

Languages are highly valued at Rhombus. In Hong Kong, the basic requirement is conversational Cantonese, Putonghua and English. Knowledge of French, German, Korean or Japanese is an advantage.

New staff receive an orientation from the human resources department, which includes a tour of the group’s Hong Kong hotels and coverage of a wide range of topics, such as the corporate culture and philosophy, rules and regulations, grooming standards, fire prevention, and escape plans.

Within one month of joining the company, a separate training session is organised to brief employees on corruption prevention, occupational safety and health issues. This is followed by on-the-job and cross-departmental training.

The company is also offering cross-training for high-potential staff and senior management between Hong Kong, the mainland and London, as well as looking at further expansion in the mainland and continental Europe, which will further increase opportunities for training and advancement.

Special benefits include duty meals, laundry and insurance, as well as paid leave for long-service staff, and sponsored tuition for career development.