April 17, 2020 – The Christopher Group (TCG) has been retained by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) to lead the organization’s chief human resources officer search. Founder and CEO Thomas Christopher, recruiting manager Kristen Pace, and senior operations manager Matthew Duda are leading the assignment.
“The Christopher Group is pleased and honored to launch our second chief human resources officer search for a leading national trade association,” said Mr. Christopher. “This is a very dynamic and exciting organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. whose members include 10 of the largest hotel chains in the world.”
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For more than 100 years, the American Hotel & Lodging Association has been the foremost representative of and advocate for the U.S. lodging industry. The organization is a national association that represents all segments of an industry that is among the 10 largest business sectors in America. From major global brands to the small inns and bed and breakfasts, AHLA works to ensure that its members can best do their jobs of serving guests, employees and their communities.
The CHRO will be a key member of the AHLA senior leadership team. The individual will be expected to serve as a strategic, innovative, proactive and best-practice driven thought leader on all human resources-related, talent acquisition and staff development matters for AHLA staff members. A successful candidate will directly align the work of the human resources office with the AHLA strategic plan, membership mission, vision, strategic business interests that support AHLA and the members it serves.
Recruiting During a Pandemic
Founded in 1998 by Tom and Paula Christopher (former HR executives with GE, Pepsi, Progressive Insurance and Citigroup), The Christopher Group has become one of the nation’s preeminent boutique HR executive search and staffing solutions firms. It is a highly specialized organization, staffed by former HR professionals and highly trained search practitioners who use proprietary, scientific and industry-leading systems, tools and processes. As a result, 92 percent of all TCG searches are filled in the first two slates of candidates, according to the firm. Its client list includes some of the world’s most respected companies across all industries and verticals.
Pandemic Turning Things Upside Down
These are different times for executive search firms. With the global COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on businesses all around the globe, companies and their recruiters have been forced to find new ways to operate. “This global pandemic has really turned things upside down,” said Mr. Christopher. “Clients are using phone and video screens in lieu of face to face interviews to respect social distancing requirements.” Many clients, he said, are going through the full search process and extending offers via digital interfaces.
“There has been a definite slowdown in certain sector activity,” said Mr. Christopher, “while other sectors are charging forward,” with business. “Some clients are using this as a great opportunity to conduct opportunistic hiring. They are going after the hard-to-recruit, high performance/ high potential talent which may be more willing to listen due to the conditions. On the whole, we are blessed and remain very busy.”
Mr. Christopher said he sees long term effects from the pandemic on the executive search industry. “We are hearing more discussion around digital processes and remote work arrangements,” he said. “Clients who may have been apprehensive before are pleased to see such innovative sourcing and work arrangements working so well.”
In the end, he said, the search business is all about people. “Y2k was about technology, 2009 was about finance/banking, but this global crisis is all about people. Distancing has created voids of communication, culture, alignment and teaming. Forward thinking HR teams are rising up and providing exceptional communication and engagement support to ensure their people feel informed, connected, aligned, and engaged. Great opportunity for HR leadership!”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media