‘A Real Paradigm Shift’
That’s because fixing burnout will, in turn, require a change in perspective of industry leaders. It’s not enough anymore to offer just good pay — employees expect and want a more thoughtful, flexible work culture, including opportunities for remote and/or hybrid work when possible. And it pays — literally — to foster an environment of wellbeing that allows employees to thrive. According to Gallup’s recent “State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report,” businesses with workers who report feeling supported and engaged see 23 percent more profits.
The move to hybrid work “is going to be a real paradigm shift for many leaders in our industry,” Gamble said. “The gap between our leadership expectations and our worker expectations is pretty severe, and we’ve got to shrink that a little bit.”
The same Gallup study identified one solution for fixing the many problems confronting the global workforce: better leaders. “Managers need to be better listeners, coaches, and collaborators,” wrote Gallup CEO John Clifton in the report, which surveyed adults in 160 countries throughout 2021 and 2022. “Great managers help colleagues learn and grow, recognize their colleagues for doing great work, and make them truly feel cared about. In environments like this, workers thrive.”
Still, there are other challenges choking the talent pipeline. It’s an employee market, and increased competition for their skillset has shortened the hiring lifecycle. Moving quickly, Gamble said, is key as candidates may have multiple offers on the table. And for non-remote roles that require a move, limited housing options due to dramatic fluctuations in the U.S. real estate market has thrown another hurdle in that race.
In addition to heading up his recruitment firm and his role as CEO of Tourism Diversity Matters, a recent initiative tasked with creating more diversity in industry leadership through apprenticeship programs, Gamble is involved in the U.S. Travel Association’s workforce initiatives as a volunteer board member. He also serves on the board of HSMAI Americas and the HSMAI Foundation. This labor crisis, he says, has been a focus of his work at both organizations.
At U.S. Travel, which formed a strategic partnership with Tourism Diversity Matters in late 2021, Gamble serves on a workforce committee formed with the intention of attracting more talent to the industry. He believes that a key step to achieving this goal is all segments of the industry joining forces to modernize the perception of the industry, because even though they might be competing for the same workers, “the way in which we talk to [potential talent] and recruit them as a greater industry is really, really important.”
Gamble said that following the lead of the more forward-thinking companies in the tech industry — an industry highly attractive to candidates — which emphasize the importance of diversity, positive work culture, and opportunities for advancement, could offer a potential blueprint. “We can learn from them, we have to be a little more aggressive with the way that we tell our story,” Gamble said. “The bottom line is that culture matters. The companies who understand culture and are embracing it and really living it are winning. Those who don’t are going to lose, and they’ll continue to lose.”
Jennifer N. Dienst is senior editor at Convene.