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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Five minutes with Hyatt Hotels’ CHRO Robb Webb


This is an interview with Robb Webb, Chief Human Resources Officer at Hyatt Hotels. Robb will be speaking at the HR Tech World Congress taking place in Paris on October 27 – 28

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What’s your approach to talent attraction at Hyatt and how do you reduce ‘churn’ among your employee base?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: We believe that culture is key when attracting and retaining talented individuals. We celebrate diversity and encourage people to be true to themselves, bringing their personality to everything they do with one another and when interacting with our guests.  

Our culture is derived from our beliefs and actions. Caring for people so they can be their best provides a clear north star that resonates with people who share our passion for hospitality.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What does your employee engagement strategy look like?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: Engagement is really about an experience. We embrace the notion of engagement with a small e, not capital E — it can’t be a program. Each interaction impacts the emotional engagement of our colleagues and our guests.

Engagement is a choice that people make that is influenced by many factors.

Whichever Hyatt brand appears on the building, it can only be brought to life through our colleagues. If they love what they do, and feel respected, they will connect with each other and our guests in a genuine manner that creates a wonderful experience. 

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What common mistakes do organisations make when it comes to corporate communications?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: Corporate communications can be just that – very corporate and impersonal. The trouble often begins with one way communication, full of jargon. The greatest success comes from using multiple channels that create an open dialogue and are convenient – mobile is such one example.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: You’re responsible for Hyatt’s CSR activities. What metrics do you use to judge success and how do you ensure people are bought into programmes?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: We are fortunate that our colleagues need not be drawn into our initiatives as they are often driving them.

Through our corporate responsibility strategy, Hyatt Thrive is designed to provide real impact in four areas: Environmental Sustainability, Education and Career Readiness, Economic Development and Investment, and Health and Wellness.

I encourage you to review our Scorecard which provides a snapshot of our progress in each area.

We believe that large and small actions can have a big impact on the lives of the people in our many communities. For instance: In 2014, our colleagues volunteered more than 101,000 hours to improve the quality of life their respective communities.

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: What can HR do to get the attention of senior executives and the Board? What are CEOs looking for from exceptional CHROs and HR Directors?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: Hyatt is on a journey to align the entire organization around a single purpose that answers the question, ‘why do we exist as a company?’  This is a priority led by our CEO, endorsed by our Board, with HR serving as a key partner. CEOs are looking for their HR teams to be thought partners in making decisions that matter, and partners in fostering a culture of engaged leaders at every level.  

Jamie Lawrence, Editor, HRZone: How is the HR function changing and what will it look like in 2020?

Robb Webb, CHRO, Hyatt Hotels: More and more, people expect a personalized and meaningful experience in both their private and professional lives. The HR function must curate the work experience, and provide the tools and resources necessary for a rewarding employment journey.

HR provides greatest value when working as a partner and guide, rather than administrator and enforcer of policies and procedures.

As we like to say at Hyatt: It’s about giving people a compass, not a map.

In 2020 I hope the function continues to chart new territory based on the needs of our many stakeholders! 

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

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