Top Companies Focus Strongly on Their Employees, Says Cornell Hospitality Study

May 03, 2010

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025, 

Top Companies Focus Strongly on Their Employees, Says Cornell Hospitality Study

Featured article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly analyzes best practices of Fortune's "best companies to work for"

Ithaca, NY, May 3, 2010 – One strategy for hospitality industry employee retention is to be an "employer of choice," but the hospitality industry's challenging operating environment makes that a difficult strategy. Still, four hospitality companies were named among Fortune's "best companies to work for," and many other firms with similar personnel challenges also were featured. Two researchers at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Timothy Hinkin and J. Bruce Tracey, analyzed those companies' human resources approaches. Their hospitality research appears in the May 2010 issue of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ). By arrangement with Sage Publishing, Hinkin and Tracey's article, "What Makes It So Great? An Analysis of Human Resources Practices among Fortune's Best Companies to Work For," is available at no charge at

"Evidence shows that certain human resources policies and practices have an impact on how well firms perform," said Tracey. "We wanted to dig in to identify those practices. Enlightened, people-oriented senior leadership was one of the top factors that we identified."

"The hiring process is an essential element," added Hinkin. "This means careful selection, followed by socialization and training to bring the new employee into the organization."

Hinkin and Tracey's hospitality research examined 21 companies on the Fortune list, including one food-service firm (Starbucks) and three hotel chains (Four Seasons, Kimpton, and Marriott), as well as grocery and health care organizations. All these firms share human resources issues, including long operating hours, relatively high turnover, and relatively low pay. The study identified the following innovative human resources practices: a culture that emphasizes the value of people, scheduling flexibility, creative staffing practices, people-oriented training programs, transparent and well aligned performance management policies, and compensation policies that reflect the organization's values and link pay to performance. Hinkin and Tracey discuss what they discovered about HR policies at best companies in a free podcast.

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly is published by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research and managed by Sage Publishing. Other articles in the May 2010 issue examine the principles and pitfalls of using celebrity endorsers for restaurants, the factors that create loyal restaurant patrons, and the status of Macao's casino industry. Subscriptions, article downloads, and page views are available at

About the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

The Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ) editorial content is broad and publishes research in all business disciplines that contribute to management practice in the hospitality and tourism industries. The objective of the CQ is to help all those involved or interested in the hospitality industry to keep up-to-date on the latest research findings and theory development in order to improve business practices and stay informed of successful strategies.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the CHR's 79 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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