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Cracking the Code: Hiring and Retaining Tech Talent in the Hotel Industry

From embracing a growth mindset to fostering inclusivity, Max Spangler, Vice President of Technology for Charlestowne Hotels discusses the strategies his company employs to create a dynamic and resilient tech workforce.
Max Spangler, Director of Technology, Charlestowne Hotels
Max Spangler, Vice President of Technology for Charlestowne Hotels
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In our 2024 Lodging Technology Study, Hospitality Technology (HT) asked hotel IT executives to list their top challenges for the year. While first place went to integrating new technology with legacy systems, a shortage of skilled technology expertise within the hospitality industry was considered the second most significant challenge.

“The fast-paced evolution of technology demands a workforce that is adept at implementing, managing, and optimizing complex systems,” writes Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Editor-in-Chief, HT magazine, within the 2024 Lodging Technology Study. “To address this challenge, hotels must invest in training and development programs for staff, hire tech-savvy professionals, and consider outsourcing or partnering with technology service providers to fill the knowledge gap.”

To learn how some hotels are tackling this issue, HT reached out to Max Spangler, Vice President of Technology for Charlestowne Hotels. Here are his thoughts.

What are some of the top aspects you consider when recruiting for new roles in tech?
When recruiting for new roles in tech, we prioritize a mix of technical expertise, adaptability, and cultural fit. Technical skills are essential, but we also look for individuals who can adapt to new technologies and challenges. Additionally, alignment with our company culture and values is crucial, as we believe in fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment.

How do you recommend prospective employees keep abreast of frequent changes in the tech space?
We encourage prospective employees to engage in continuous learning through online courses, attending industry conferences, participating in tech communities, and staying updated with relevant blogs and publications. Embracing a growth mindset and being open to new experiences are key to staying relevant in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

What are important factors to consider when hiring professionals in younger generations into the tech space? Any tips for hiring Gen Zs?
When hiring younger professionals, it's important to consider their digital native background, value for work-life balance, and desire for meaningful work. For Gen Zs, offering opportunities for growth, providing regular feedback, and fostering a collaborative environment are essential. Emphasizing the impact of their work and providing flexibility can also be attractive to this generation.

What do you find works best when it comes to helping your employees feel appreciated?
Recognition, both public and private, is key to making employees feel appreciated. We also prioritize regular check-ins, provide opportunities for professional development, and ensure a supportive work environment. Celebrating successes, offering competitive compensation, and fostering a sense of belonging contribute to our employees' sense of value.

How has Charlestowne created opportunities for staff growth, and what tips do you have for others looking to do the same in the tech space?
At Charlestowne Hotels, we've created opportunities for staff growth through mentorship programs, continuous learning initiatives, and clear career progression paths. We encourage cross-functional collaboration and provide exposure to different aspects of the business. For others in the tech space, fostering a culture of learning, offering diverse experiences, and encouraging innovation can help create similar growth opportunities.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Embracing diversity and inclusion is crucial in the tech space. Diverse teams bring different perspectives, leading to more innovative solutions. Additionally, fostering a culture of open communication and feedback is essential for continuous improvement and employee engagement.

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