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A Conversation With
Chief Human Resources Officer at Hilton
Matthew W. Schuyler is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Hilton and leads the company’s global human resources organization.
Since joining the company in 2009, Mr. Schuyler has been responsible for strategy, recruitment and talent management, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, compensation, and benefits. Beyond his traditional HR responsibilities, Mr. Schuyler also works cross-functionally with Hilton’s various teams to focus on innovation and technology at a high-level.
TSG: In recent years, Hilton has been known for its internal promotions of employees. Can you explain the impact of this policy on the overall business and morale of staff members?
MS: Our approach to promotions isn’t tied to a formal policy, but rather – a philosophy. At Hilton, we simply want the right people, in the right roles, as soon as they are capable. We believe that promoting from within drives overall business. When we remove barriers and allow for Team Members’ careers to grow at an accelerated pace, they become more engaged. And when Team Members are engaged, their commitment to our guests is high. It’s a win-win approach for our Team Members and our business.
TSG: Hilton recently released a new, upgraded paid paternal leave policy for all U.S. based employees (40,000+ employees) where women will receive 10 weeks of paid vacation and men 2 weeks of paid vacation as well as a leading adoption assistance program. What was the motivation for this change? How do you anticipate this change impacting the business?
MS: We know from our annual surveys, our Team Members yearn for a fully integrated life – which includes time with their family and friends. When looking at our time-off policies, we realized we had gap; and quite frankly our whole industry was (and still is) lacking in this area. Simply put, we weren’t giving our Team Members, especially those directly serving our guests, a compelling parental leave policy. To have the time off you need when you are starting or expanding your family is one of the differential ways we can show our commitment to healthy work-life integration. We also offer other family-friendly benefits that help attract and retain top talent. We are proud to offer some of the best and most comprehensive family benefits in the industry.
TSG: Hilton has been through a few iterations of public/private status having recently become public again through an IPO. How has the change to a public company impacted your Human Resource practices?
MS: Candidly speaking, the IPO did not have a significant impact on our HR practices. For years, we’ve been on a mission to make Hilton a great place to work and to provide the programs that enable our Team Members to work at their best.
What it did impact is our company’s transparency, which we very much welcomed. Also, through various communications around the IPO, we were provided the opportunity to reinforce our commitment to Team Members and help impart a true sense of pride.
TSG: You’ve accomplished a lot in your career with the most recent success being the IPO of Hilton, one of the largest hotel IPOs in history. How do you define success in your life?
MS: Success can be measured in many ways, but for me personally I would say it’s about having a solid vision of what’s important to you and clearly defining your goals that sets the stage for achievement. Relentlessly taking thoughtful actions toward your vision will help you get there.
At Hilton, success means knowing what’s important to our Team Members, Owners, Guests, and Shareholders and then taking action to bring their vision to life.
TSG: You are deeply involved in your alma mater, Penn State University. What advice would you provide to a recent graduate looking to achieve similar success to yours?
MS: Of course, things have changed since I graduated, but what remains consistent, as I touched on before, is having a strong vision of what you want to accomplish and what matters most to you. What’s different today, is that there are more paths to success – the linear career path no longer applies.
Recent graduates entering the workforce typically have roles in which the consequences of their errors are less severe than they would be later in their career – so be bold, take risks and approach every opportunity fearlessly, and with an open mind. If you get an opportunity, take it. If someone wants to mentor you, take them up on it. Make the most of what comes your way because it’s likely that the more you experience, the more insight and opportunities you will gain.
TSG: 45+% of Hilton’s staff members are millennials – how is Hilton adapting to this newer generation of workers?
MS: We all know that Millennials are the growing majority in our workforce. And, we realize that harnessing their insights and potential is critical to the success of any forward-thinking business.
Millennials want meaningful work experiences; they want to make an impact; they want to grow, and they want all of these things quickly. We are already working to become a culture that embraces these needs – as opposed to resisting them – because we do see the value.
One of the most significant ways that we’ve embraced Millennials at Hilton is by putting them at the helm of their own think tank. We call it the Millennials Team Member Resource Group (MTMRG), and Millennial Team Members across the globe are participating. Together they come up with ideas, insights, and recommendations that they share with Leadership to consider. The bottom line here is that Millennials are a competitive advantage and invaluable to the future success of our company.
TSG: The world is becoming increasingly mobile where staff members work across geographies or even in a home office versus a formal office setting. How is Hilton, a very global organization, shifting to accommodate this new change?
MS: Flexibility can mean something different to our corporate and hotel Team Member populations. Our corporate Team Members value flexibility in work location and schedule. Our hotel-based Team Members, on the other hand, value advanced scheduling and flexibility when setting their hours.
We are continually shifting to accommodate flexibility, in addition to other initiatives that are top of mind for our global workforce. It’s a high-value, low-cost way for us to show our dedication to Team Member well-being.
TSG: What do you think will be the biggest disruptor for Human Resources in the next decade?
MS: HR departments are going to have to reevaluate how quickly they can adapt and adjust to business and environmental demands. Digitalization and socialization have greatly increased the speed in which we do business. People want everything now, which means we will need to be agile in our approach – be able to give, receive and respond to information quickly – all while maintaining the integrity and purpose of our business.