Cornell Study Analyzes Successful Hospitality Human Resources Innovations

Feb 08, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Cornell Study Analyzes Successful Hospitality Human Resources Innovations

Ithaca, NY, February 8, 2011 – Studies of three successful human resources strategies show the importance of a consistent application of human resources innovations. Highlighting programs of Fairmont, McDonald's, and Sodexo, the case studies, "Implementing Human Resource Innovations: Three Success Stories from the Service Industry," by Justin Sun and Kate Walsh, demonstrate novel and comprehensive ways to improve employees' performance and retention. Sun is a master's degree candidate at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell, who also holds an undergraduate degree from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Walsh is associate professor and the Fred G. Peelen Chair of Hospitality Global Strategy at the School of Hotel Administration. The case study report is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research at

"The lesson of these studies is that these firms that are consistent and thorough in implementing their innovative practices see a payoff," Walsh pointed out. "While the ideas these firms implemented are not necessarily new, our case studies highlight the way the ideas are applied. What's innovative is the comprehensive mechanisms these firms have used to achieve remarkable results."

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has augmented and transformed its employee recognition programs to be appropriate to local cultures worldwide, with a goal of focusing on rewarding employees who provide consistently excellent service. For example, when two young hotel guests asked to see the "princess of the castle," one enterprising Fairmont employee donned a formal gown and took the girls on a tour of the hotel. The McDonald's case explores the chain's comprehensive programs to encourage employee retention, including a sales-incentive program that one franchisee uses both to improve retention and to increase sales of targeted menu items. Recognizing the importance of social media to prospective employees, Sodexo has become a strong player in numerous social media channels, with a goal of developing relationships with potential employees. All three organizations use ideas that any company can apply to improve its performance and help meet operating goals—the key is consistency in application, as explained in this innovation report.

Meet and interact with Professor Walsh, an active member of the executive education faculty, at the School of Hotel Administration, when she presents sessions in the Professional Development Program:

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at

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 center's 81 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

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

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