Diversity, equity and inclusion may be hot topics right now, but at TFE Hotels, employing candidates from backgrounds, genders, religions, ages and orientations sexual diversity is so firmly embedded in corporate culture that it seems effortless.
TFE Hotels Managing Director Antony Ritch explains that you won’t find many dedicated diversity targets, quotas or workforce committees at TFE, as management has always been forward-thinking and has held these values at the core of who we are as a business.
“Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country – from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newcomers from around the world,” he said.
“Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. It makes Australia a great place to live and TFE Hotels a great place to work.
From Argentina to Zambia, TFE employs team members from 70 countries in a variety of roles within head office and operations. The company’s Web Master, Indonesian-born Rido Negarindo, is one such team member who is making his mark. Rido, who first started as a breakfast cook for Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde while studying at university, has spent the past ten years honing his mar-tech skills and is now e-commerce manager for seven TFE hotel brands.
But it’s not just international candidates who help make TFE a great place to work. TFE’s five-year Indigenous Engagement Strategy demonstrates the strength of the company’s commitment to future action with our First Nations peoples. As part of this strategy, Darwin-based TFE’s Real Jobs program, which provides on-the-job training and employment to Aboriginal people, has gone from strength to strength. And, at the top end, around 33% of their team are Indigenous Australians, with plans to further increase this to reflect the wider Northern Territory community and expand the scheme to WA and Queensland.
In Perth, a partnership with APM, one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services for people with disabilities, sees candidates placed in apprenticeships and roles that play to their strengths at Rendezvous Perth Scarborough.
On the genre front, TFE also has a head start. Two-thirds of the global leadership team are women. In operations, it’s a fairly even split with a ratio of 49% women to 51% men in leadership roles.
Emma Hynes, Regional Managing Director of TFE Hotels for NSW and ACT and mother of two, said: “Sometimes I hear young female entrepreneurs talk about the need to take a ‘break’ from their careers or choose a different career path because they don’t. believe they can parent and work in hotel operations.
“It can be done 100% and it helps that TFE offers flexibility in the workplace,” she said. “It takes a lot of planning and talking with loved ones, but you can absolutely have both, so don’t give up on your career dreams.”
The proof is in the pudding with Emma’s protege, mother of four and general manager of the brand new Travelodge Hotel Hurstville, Ansarina Flower. When it comes to opening its very first hotel, Ansarina readily admits it was a step outside of its comfort zone.
“The one thing that initially kept me from applying for roles like this was the idea that there’s a huge amount of work involved in pre-openings, and I wanted to make sure that I was the right person for a big family,” she said.
“TFE was incredibly supportive and let me know that being a working mom shouldn’t be holding me back and I’m glad I listened as I landed my dream job.”
It’s a similar story for Jelena Bojanic, 27, whose first gig at GM was the global launch of premium brand A by Adina, opening the flagship property in Canberra.
After emigrating from Serbia to Australia in 1997 (when Jelena was three), her father became involved in building the Adina Apartment Hotel Wollongong. In the end, her mother worked at the property in executive housekeeping. Even his brother has gained professional experience at the reception.
“I have had a great family connection with Adina for as long as I can remember,” Jelena said. “I was lucky enough to get a casual job with Adina Wollongong and went there thinking, ‘Let’s see what happens…’. Of course, what happened was that I loved it, and as soon as a full-time position presented itself, I offered myself for the role.
This role led to stints in bookings, as EAM for Adina Sydney Airport, and a role in the NSW Relief Squad before landing her dream role at A by Adina Canberra. Jelena recently received the Markus Huck Young Achiever Award at the Canberra Region Tourism Awards.
“Looking back, I’m forever grateful to have been surrounded by such an amazing culture and team of genuine ‘people,’ who mentored me and taught me the importance of being true to me. myself and let my personality shine through,” she said.
According to Ritch, TFE does not set caveats or time limits for time in a role, but instead uses a merit-based selection process and hiring is focused on the candidate’s potential.
“Essentially, it’s the ability of the individual that helps advance their career,” he says.
So has 27-year-old Danielle Schadow, who, after a stellar performance during her two-year stay at the Travelodge Newcastle, has just been promoted to EAM at the 145-key Adina Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD.
TFE’s results speak for themselves, says HR Director Michelle Bevan, with the Sydney-based hospitality company scoring a favorable 90% on its Diversity and Inclusion Index – 16 points higher than the Australian benchmark group – in its latest team engagement survey.
“Diversity and inclusion is about empowering people, respecting and appreciating what makes them different and celebrating it,” she said. “That’s what TFE has always been great at, and we employ people who excel at it.”
“Whatever your age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education or national origin, at TFE we want you to be who you are and we will help you grow.
According to Bevan, it’s not just about employing a team, it’s also about investing in resources to ensure those teams are set up to succeed. At TFE, this includes continued investment in programs that help employ the long-term unemployed, welfare programs; Global people technology; training and in their Future Leaders (technical skills) and People Leaders (behavioural/people skills) Academy programs to foster and accelerate leadership development.
Adina Bondi’s award-winning Managing Director, Diana Quinones Silva, began her hospitality career with TFE’s Future Leaders program 12 years ago – one of 250 team members to graduate since their introduction in 2014 – and has run Adina, Vibe and Travelodge hotels in the Sydney area for the past seven years.
“My advice to anyone looking to take the next step into a hotel management position is to invest time in determining what type of role model you want to be for the long haul,” she said. “Most importantly, be true to yourself and believe in the strength of your core values.
To learn more about a career at TFE Hotels, visit tfehotels.com/en/careers