Colleagues Engagement

DisruptHR Speech by & Interview with Pierre Botteron

You state that “people are the heart of the organization.” Coming from the hospitality industry, today you are a self-employed People & Culture Specialist. 

Caring for people as the heart of the organization, what do you think are nowadays the biggest challenge?

In the service sector and particularly in the hospitality industry, this statement is extremely important, as nothing could be done without people. 

However, it does not only apply to the hotel industry. The biggest challenge for any organization today is to recognize the importance of engagement and for leadership to create the conditions for this, and to foster a working environment where people are truly recognized and valued for the work they do and for their contribution. 

This sounds like a statement for any company, but there is a difference between communicating and actually applying it in everyday life. 

Only a few organizations (fortunately the number is growing) actually "walk the talk" and take action to implement a culture where people engage with and support the vision and mission of the organization.

Could you tell us a bit more about the importance of colleague engagement for example in the hospitality industry?

I think that colleagues’ engagement is not only important in the hospitality industry. I used this example because it is the industry I was coming from at the time of the talk and also because it is a complete concept that enables HR to bring value to the organization through and with its people. 

Europe is at the bottom with only 14% of the team members being engaged

A recent Gallup Report (State of the Global Workplace: Report 2022) found that 21% of the global working population is engaged, and Europe is at the bottom with only 14% of the team members being engaged. 

The important aspect of engagement however is not the measurement, but making sure that the work environment, leadership, management practices (including HR) are all aligned to create an environment where team members will strive. 

It is not about ping-pong tables and fancy booth for calls and meeting, it is about the leadership and supervisors who understand their contribution to making sure team members are engaged. 

As in the hospitality industry with guests, we talk a lot today in organizations about the “employee experience” and a positive and lasting experience contributes to engagement.

Colleagues’ engagement is the framework in which leadership will work to ensure that people in the organization are all being treated well. 

You nicely explain, on the basis of different keywords, how clever leaders act, to form teams where colleagues really engage. 

If you had to pick one, which one would you rank as most important?

This is a difficult question to answer as all are complementary to each others. However, in today’s organization the approach is most of the time engineered by “leadership". Therefore I would chose this word. 

Other such as “meaningfulness”, “collaboration” and “transparency” are important success factors for engagement. As we can see engagement is not a one shot solution, it is a succession of many efforts and behaviors which will result in high engagement.

About Pierre Botteron

After graduating from the Lausanne Hotel School, Pierre Olivier Botteron worked internationally in administration and human resources with the International Committee of the Red Cross, in Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and Rwanda. 

In 2000 he joined Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts in London and became Vice President Human Resources for Swissôtel worldwide in 2005. In 2013 he took over the responsibilities of the brands Fairmont and Raffles, in addition to Swissôtel, in Europe. Since mid-2017 he started his own strategic people management advising office in Zurich, People On Board.

About DisruptHR

"Teach us something but do it quick" - DisruptHR presents inspiring speakers worldwide who question the status quo and look to the future with their ideas. 

SPOT ON organizes this exciting format in Zurich and brings HR enthusiasts together.


Pierre Boteron

People & Culture Specialist bei People On Board

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