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#110 - Hospitality Meets Natasha Nagra - The People and Talent Expert
Episode 1104th May 2022 • Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street • Phil Street
00:00:00 00:45:48

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What a wonderful way to cap off the first part of season 2 than with a chat with one of the industry's shining stars!

I got some (Very human focused) time with Natasha Nagra, Resourcing & Talent Director at Valour Hospitality Partners. We cover loads including:-

  • Being busy
  • Valour Hospitality Management
  • Falling into recruitment
  • Recruitment and marketing
  • Managing multiple brands
  • Awards
  • Best practise
  • HIRE
  • The Metaverse
  • Human v Tech
  • Using animals in marketing
  • No filter children
  • Falling off stages

And so much more. It's very clear that Natasha is doing what she is meant to be doing as she talks passionately about the world of resourcing and talent attraction, a subject very close to my heart!

Enjoy!



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Transcripts

00:00.00

philjstreet

Hello and welcome to the next episode of hospitality meets with me your host Phil Street today's guest. It's fair to say is very well known within the world of people and her career so far includes stints out of industry in industry with contract catering and now also in industry. Still industry thankfully within hotels. She's also the co-founder of hire which is hospitality's internal recruitment exchange has won more awards and come up with more initiatives than I've had breakfasts and now finds herself at the helm of resourcing and talent at valor hospitality management. So I am thrilled. To welcome to the shore Natasha Nagra hello it has yes it has how are you.

00:39.77

Natasha

Thank you so much for having me. It's been a long time coming hasn't it. Yeah I am really good. Um, busy as I think everybody is and everybody relates to it at the moment. But yeah I'm glad we've been able to find the time to do this. It's great.

00:53.43

philjstreet

Yeah, Well I mean we spoke just before we switched the microphone on about that word busy there needs to be ah we need to reinvent and there's also I think there's ah, an element certainly um, I've read so much psychology on the subject about like it becomes an automatic response when somebody says to you. How are you doing on busy and you just kind of start believing your own press really on that. But ah but I literally am busy.

01:19.60

Natasha

I Know that's it and he's all very important stuff that is a priority and it's yeah and but it's good I wouldn't have it any other way if I'm honest I thrive and I love working in a fast-paced environment as many do you know you have to think to work in hospitality. But.

01:31.62

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

01:36.33

Natasha

Yeah, there are moments where I'm going on annual leave this week and it's the first time I've taken we've since that since Christmas and I'm ready for it. But yeah I'm going to throw myself into it and yeah, switch off a few days.

01:38.24

philjstreet

Nice.

01:46.58

philjstreet

Yeah, well extra thanks then for taking time out the week before you go on annual leave because that's usually more busy than all the other weeks.

01:56.52

Natasha

Tying everything up. Yeah, but um, yeah.

01:58.23

philjstreet

Great. Well at there when are you today. That's a very interesting room.

02:00.54

Natasha

Yeah, so this is the club lounge at the Crown fliers are in Soly Hallll um so I snook away to find a corner. Ah, and if you hear any footsteps in the background I do apologize. But for now it's it's just us. But yeah crown fliza. That's one of our hotels at vallay. Um, we operate in the uk 37 hotels and if you don't know about us yet. That's because I'm still relatively new in my role and you will find out more about us over time but you'll probably know more about the brands that we work with and the hotel brands that we operate so holiday in Crown Plaza and doubletree by Hilton Etc yeah and we we are a global business. We're based over in the states and and in South Africa as well are just over 50 hotels in total globally.

02:42.78

philjstreet

Yeah, and what I mean ah the I've been aware of valor for many many years, but it seems like now you guys are really getting some momentum together.

02:52.55

Natasha

Yeah I think um, you know with aspirations to get to around 50 hotels in the Uk. We're not ever going to be like 1 of those big enormous management companies and the reason why that is is that we have ah I know everybody says this but we really really do have a very unique culture that exists at valor and I think to protect that and to keep that. Specialness about us I think that's a kind of our sweet spot at 50 hotels. But um, yeah, we've grown rapidly. We we doubled the size of our portfolio last year along with that. Um, that strategy to grow our portfolio and it's a really exciting time and to be here I'm I'm new as I said I joined the business in October last year. Um. It's flown by I feel like I've been forever. Yeah, and but so yeah, really really great company. It was really nice for me to be able to continue my experience working within the branded hotel.

03:33.23

philjstreet

Hasn't it. Just.

03:43.17

Natasha

Um, area. It's what I love doing So um to take all that knowledge and come into valor who's at a much earlier stage of their journey than where I was previously is is really exciting. Um and shape that resource in and you know employee engagement and employ brand strategy from from the beginning. Really, it's It's been exciting.

03:59.29

philjstreet

Yeah, for sure. Well I mean let's let's get on the journey then because the um, let's go all the way back because as I mentioned at the top certainly from um what I could see is that you have had stints out as well as in the industry. Um, how did you end up.

04:03.86

Natasha

Yeah.

04:17.62

philjstreet

Getting into hospitality in the first place.

04:18.47

Natasha

Yeah, so I I still now. Although my remi is very broad and I look after the wider people agenda I still consider myself at my core to be a recruiter and like most people who enter into the world of recruitment. It was never an intention and it was ah a bit of an accident. And but ah yeah, happy accident in that I I studied Actually my degree and then as part of an erasmus program I went over to um Cyprus and I came back and it was the end of my degree and I suddenly panicked thinking I studied a very generic degree and I actually still have no idea what it is that I want to do so. Um I headed into a recruitment agency and said I desperately need some tet work and they asked me if I'd ever considered working in recruitment which I didn't but with the offer of a job I jumped at the opportunity and no, um, very different environment very sales driven. Um I Loved recruitment.

05:05.85

philjstreet

Now.

05:13.81

Natasha

But I hated leaving the candidate at the door which is why I made the decision to leave and and go into the world of internal recruitment. Um, and that's where I started working for the likes of interserve and compass groups. So big complex matrix organizations building the central. Recruitment teams within those businesses and I guess whilst broader hospitality. That's where I kind of got my love for the industry. Um I think no matter what area in business. Um, you know hospitality businesses you are. There's like 1 common thread which is it's people. It's all about the people and I loved.

05:48.80

philjstreet

Isn't it. Just.

05:49.63

Natasha

And then you know it was after I left a compass group that I went into Cu Green hotels and that was my first role within the hotel environment and I don't think I'll ever leave if I'm honest I I love ah, you know the the world of hotels I love the people that I work with today today and um. You know I've been quite fortunate that I've had 2 opportunities now within the hotel sector to build from scratch and employ a brand what it means to be part of a company and take that and communicate that with candidates and you know build and shape a culture that's attractive to both. You know the new people that you're bringing in but also improving the experience of those people that.

06:24.00

philjstreet

A.

06:25.79

Natasha

Work within the business at the moment. Um, so that's kind of how I've got to hear and where I am today so I still do recruitment as part of my role and people look at me and and they say oh what you do and I'm like I do a lot of recruitment and they give me this look where it's almost like they feel sorry for me but I'm like no no, it's I genuinely love what I do. Um I think. You know making a decision to change a job is like 1 of the biggest decisions that you make in your life you and you make them a few times right? and I think if you can really influence people to make a decision that's right for them and they find a place where they belong and they can. Thrive you know you really play a part in changing people's lives and it's that's it will stay with them so I'll never really want to relinquish that area of responsibility that I've looked after but um, yeah, as I say now my my role is much broader. Um, and yeah, we've got a lot of work to do, but it's exciting times.

07:02.79

philjstreet

Ah, for sure.

07:17.33

philjstreet

Yeah, but that's that's good that you've found that thing that kind of sings to you because the you know ah there's a lot of people would go to many many different places before they find it and actual fact, you found it pretty quickly and by chance. Actually.

07:33.25

Natasha

So yes.

07:35.95

philjstreet

Because um and you're right when when you say I don't think anybody goes through their schooling and University and goes I'm I'm going to be in recruitment and I think it is something that it's the same for me I mean I I um worked on a cruise ship and I didn't even know that recruitment existed.

07:45.64

Natasha

Nay.

07:53.85

philjstreet

As ah, um, you know it was all just part of Hr back and back in that day and but I also remember when I came off ships and then started looking for a job on land that all of the jobs pretty much were being I don't want to say controlled by but they were being managed by.

08:12.41

Natasha

The.

08:12.51

philjstreet

Ah, external recruitment companies and that was the first experience that I ever had of that and much like you a chance conversation. Sorry said oh have you ever thought about recruitment well until today I didn't even know it existed. So.

08:21.74

Natasha

Yeah,, that's it and I think the role of the recruiter is a evolve so much and I'm quite fortunate in that you know I do have a lot of marketing experience that I've accumulated along the way and I would I would say that the role of a recruiter these days is just as Much. Um I Guess. Very align to the traditional role of a digital marketer in many respects. It's you know who is your persona who is that individual that's going to belong in your business and how do we make sure that we're accurately telling the story that appeals to those individuals and and taking that to market and I think you know it's um. The role as of Old. There's so much noise out there at the moment and everybody's fine for the same talent and we've got a real opportunity within recruitment to you know change the way that we do things and and communicate differently. So um, yeah I Really enjoy the.

09:08.37

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, well the the solution to the to the problem always rests in looking after your own house First right I mean um and you've you've hit the nail on the head for me and this is something that doesn't get nearly enough discussion time which is that actually.

09:16.53

Natasha

Oh yeah.

09:27.16

philjstreet

Marketing is such a massive part of the overall piece of the jigsaw. Of course you've got to back up the marketing with actual gumption and actual you know, ah, strong values and and all of these sorts of things that relate to why somebody would want to come and work to you work for you in the first place. But. Yeah, we need to talk about more. We need to talk more about marketing because without that you know it's just job advert or even that's marketing in itself somebody somebody responds and you know and then the process is beginning from there. But yeah, you can do a lot more to be ah more proactive on that.

09:52.97

Natasha

Um, yeah.

10:00.49

Natasha

Yeah there's a lot of opportunity out there for us for sure and there's new channels are coming up all the time like so I still consider myself to be quite young, but then. You know I have a third almost thirteen year old child who talks about like social network and that I've never heard of before and I'm like oh god like I need to know what this is because you know that it's a growing audience and I need to understand how we can communicate and translate what it means to be here to to the new people that are entering into the workforce. So it's it's ever evolving and. Um, yeah I know.

10:31.84

philjstreet

Yeah I know absolutely I feel like this is a subject matter that you and I could talk to about Egypt for a long long time. But um, I'm interested actually just in terms of the how does it work from because you you said that you you manage multiple brands. Um, across. Um, you know all of the kind of the big players in that in that space. How do you get it so that because obviously you've got to I suppose manage that brand's expectation along with valor's expectation of what it is to be a valor person. How does that work.

11:06.36

Natasha

Yeah, and that's one of the biggest challenges that I faced in you know my roles within the the hotel industry and you know when I came for my first interview um within the hotel sector incredibly naive and not probably anywhere near as. Um, prepared as I should be I just thought a holiday and was a holiday and and the Crown Plaza was a crown plaza and and and that was it really I didn't understand the franchise model um to the extent that I probably should have but that is the reality for a lot of candidates and actually what we're trying to. Convey and communicate and help people understand is that when you come and work in a valet hotel that's operated under a holiday and brand or a crown plaza brand it's and it's it's a different experience to the one that they might see ten miles down the road. Um, and it's as much that education piece and and and getting that message across. That yes you know we've got the expectations of the brands and you'll be working to brand standards but largely that's a name above the door in a way that we operate but the culture and the ways of working and the people that exist within the hotels are very much aligned to valid values and and who we are and you know we have our own expectations of what. Great performance. Looks like that sits above the expectations of the brand and you know it's it's not always easy when you're working in an employer brand in space to you know, have to appeal to and meet the expectations of you know, different layers that exist within your employer brand. But um, yeah, certainly we try. You know you mentioned adverts earlier. You know we we weave it into those adverts and you know it's it's in our marketing people will see that yes, it's the brand but it's a ah valid hotel and this is what it means to be part of us. But it's difficult and I've worked in big businesses previously where it's you know people thought the management company was just. Ah, payroll company. They had no idea but valor were very present and um I talked you earlier a lot about the unique culture that exists here and um, you know that does translate you feel it when you're in 1 of our hotels. It feels different.

13:07.79

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, well I mean I just you've been there for what six months now you said October so that six months six seven ish months um yeah so yeah I suppose that you're literally now at the point of rolling your sleeves up. Um.

13:15.39

Natasha

Yeah, yeah.

13:23.75

Natasha

Oh yeah.

13:25.22

philjstreet

Because I I take some time to get used to the people the ways that you know what is being a validor person. What is what does all that mean. But now now the real work begins.

13:32.22

Natasha

Oh yeah, well I don't know about that I was in my interview and and and my boss and was you know I talked what? What's my onboarding going to be like and you know we all know what it's like in hospitality at the moment and recruitment is you know is is some fairly busy. And so I said oh what's my onboarding going to be like and she said on boarding. No these are your roles you just you? you just could get on with it and um, it's not true. I had a very thorough onboarding process and I spent a lot of time in the hotels getting to know the teams but I did very much get stuck in um, from day one and I think that's helpful having come from a very similar. Um, structure and and an environment where I understood the brands and you know it was just what makes us different here. Ah, but yeah I feel I feel like I've been here for much longer. But I've got a lot of the housekeeping done and and a lot of the the things that we needed to get done in the early days and now it's the time where we can start to. Um, you know, look at the the the bigger ticket item so working on things like you know our careers site and our employer brand offer and and how we can take that out to market and start winning lots of awards for all the incredible stuff that we do here. So yeah, it's been a bit of a ah oh my god there's so much to do. But now we can start to yeah, get into the media stuff.

14:46.77

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, well funny you mentioned awards I did mention at the beginning of the show around the fact that you seem to make a bit of a habit of of winning awards I'm going to assume that.

14:48.60

Natasha

Good.

15:01.73

philjstreet

I was going to assume that you don't set out to do this but I know I'm beginning to feel that maybe yeah, let's do this. Let's go and win Awards Let's show the world. How good we are.

15:10.13

Natasha

Well, it's like everything that you do. We have our objectives and I think um, you know when you look at employer branding I think the the penautimate objective is to yeah you want to attract the right people into your business and you want them to have you know a successful career with you and that that deliver. You know, great commercial results for your organization. Yeah, that's 1 thing I think but then also it's like the work that we do and everything fitting into place the best way that we can make sure that we get the recognition for that is to to win an award for it and be recognized. You know amongst you know. All the other businesses in hospitality that do things really? Well so it's not It's not always the intention. The intention is to get it right and deliver the results for the business but it's always in place to be able to say hey we wouldn't the best recruit re initiative. Um, yeah, maybe that's just maybe that's just a vanity thing I just I don't know I like.

15:53.78

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

15:59.33

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

16:04.79

Natasha

Like to be the best I'm very competitive.

16:05.82

philjstreet

places to work accreditation:

16:50.29

Natasha

Look like that I'm I'm glad i' not on focus. My cheeks are going pink.

17:00.13

philjstreet

Now that's where you are yep, excellent in-house recruitment team of the year at the cater dot com people awards in 192 excellence in talent traction at hr and hospitality awards best use of digital media to attract talent at the springboard awards for excellence in 192

17:01.85

Natasha

That's correct yet.

17:16.39

philjstreet

Best attraction and development initiative at the springboard of awards for excellence 192 it goes on and on and on and so you know, but yeah I think the the key thing with ah an award for me is is that as you've quite rightly pointed out. It's actually.

17:20.46

Natasha

And.

17:32.83

philjstreet

1 it's about making sure that you're doing the best possible job that you can. You're clearly an ideas person. Um, you clearly come up with things that work I'm sure there are ideas that you've come up with that. Don't work out as well because that's how you learn, but um, you know the um.

17:45.54

Natasha

Yeah, that's huge.

17:50.26

philjstreet

And I suppose a case in point in that is and I also mentioned this at the top of the show and I know that it's on ah a little bit of a hiatus at the moment but you you founded this? Um, this thing called higher tell us about that.

18:01.37

Natasha

Yeah, so um, hya was born I guess I was early into the more traditional sense of what hospitality is um in in the hotel industry and um, a little bit. Ah, isolatated in some respects in that I didn't have a very strong network of individuals of which I could jarun their expertise and I really wanted to build that and I kind of put a post out and Linkedin and you know asked if anybody wanted to do a bit of a get together and it escalated and I realized that there were actually a lot of other people across the industry in. Recruitment that face um similar challenges who would love the opportunity to to get together and share ideas and yes we are all competing for the same talent. But I think the biggest challenge that we face as an industry is that we're losing all of our talent to other industries so coming together and share in best practice and finding ways to do things that can benefit us all was was. Really key. So I came together with Oli who I know you've had on the show previously and um, a few others and we and hire was born essentially and we decided to run a big event and bring together all of the the people people across the hospitality industry and and it was just a forum to share best pack. To talk about ideas and um to do something good for the industry. Um, and we had a huge first event we had like over a hundred people that came along. We were absolutely blown away. It was incredible. Um, and had the pandemic not come along that would have continued and we had the intention of running those things. You know, really frequently and I'd love to be able to say that hire was still and you know in its traditional sense and with its original intention still alive but it's not but we're not running events as such because we're so all incredibly busy, but the networking and the relationships that are built. You know we're all still in a group together. We all still talk. Daily um, you know how are you approaching this and you know how could we do this differently and is you know that is a recruitment um refer afriend scheme worth looking into at this point and I had a call with somebody in the group this morning who would just return back from maternity leave and was just looking for a bit of a market overview as to how things are and I think um. You know more important than anything is that that that forum still exists and it's been really helpful. Um, yeah, and I've met some incredible people through it.

20:17.11

philjstreet

Yeah I think this is a massive thing for the the industry though and and in terms of there. You just need to go ask and people will give um you know their their time their knowledge, whatever and actually you know Yes, you're you're right? We're all vying for.

20:26.21

Natasha

Yeah.

20:35.63

philjstreet

Potentially the same people to come and work for us. But actually we shouldn't be competitive about that in my view, you know we? Um, I'm actually sharing best practice and best method. Ultimately I like to believe that if the company is getting their piece correct. And the candidate is in tune with themselves as to what they want. They will always end up in the right place. Um, you know so why be competitive about that. You know if and if somebody comes to you and and you know you do you go through onboarding and three months end you they say you know what this is not for me. Let's not be.

20:57.46

Natasha

Oh yeah.

21:13.54

philjstreet

Scared of that that's natural. That's part of life. You know we can't get things a hundred percent right a hundred percent of the time. But then you know to sit in a forum whereby you would have somebody like Oli and um I think you had um, there's another guy that and all whose name escapes. Yes, this.

21:17.99

Natasha

Um, yeah.

21:25.14

Natasha

Had an olog day and and we had slowly over a goucher. Yeah yeah.

21:31.56

philjstreet

Yeah, so many actually so many and you know but to be able to sit in a room and and share best practice. How do we make all of us better and and almost have this kind of network of like like we we don't have a role for you now. But I know that these guys over there. Do.

21:45.89

Natasha

Yes.

21:47.94

philjstreet

You know and all of that sort of stuff and and that's how we win's There's the cohesion then in the industry that everybody wants to plug together. It's that that I've used this word so many times on the show. It's cooptition. You know we're.

21:59.95

Natasha

Oh I like that I not yeah I'm not heard that or do you know I I think I must have just listened someones you didn't use it. But I love that it's really good. Um, ah I'd have never known you better have taken full credit for that.

22:04.90

philjstreet

Oh that means you haven't listened to the show that's ah but that's a markoff. Yeah, and that's not mine by the way I nick that from somebody else. Yeah, yeah, yeah and um edutainment. That's the other one that's a good one that was Jim Knight

22:20.89

Natasha

Um.

22:23.22

philjstreet

Um, speaker. Yeah, so you educate people through entertainment. That's the.

22:26.10

Natasha

Well I've got a good idea for this I'm exploring all things around the metaverse at the moment and how we can use it to ah to edge what you was it. You said edge you? yeah they go sticking that.

22:31.20

philjstreet

Oh god edutain. Yeah absolutely god the metaverse I am yeah ah through what I classify myself as somebody who can keep on top of stuff. Like when it comes to tech and all I've never been scared of it but I literally feel like I get my head around 1 thing and then 2 more things come along like so I'm behind on Tiktok and now the meta versus I'm what the hell is it.

22:54.20

Natasha

How we ask.

23:01.44

Natasha

I Know it's ah, get yourself an oculus and and get in there and just have a wonder around but I feel the same you know the rate of you know, technological advancements. It's it's it's yeah, it's it's it's kind of scary I Sometimes say I just want to get off the world. It's going too fast.

23:17.10

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

23:20.60

Natasha

You know? Yeah, it's um, it's it's tough but hopefully it will just continue to improve the lives of our teams and it will continue to you know, simplify the ways that we do things so that we can concentrate on the things that will never be replaced by technology which is that.

23:32.50

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

23:35.10

Natasha

Emotional connection and those real memorable experiences that are so deep rooted in the you know interactions that you have with one another so just need to find the balance.

23:41.46

philjstreet

Absolutely yeah, Tech Tech should be the yeah the thing that kind of underpins all of the people stuff all of the the front stuff that you know that as you say the emotional connection. It shouldn't be the thing that drives that it should definite. For me, it should always remain that way around because ah, there's ah, a real case in point I Remember once upon a time taking a brief from a client about a role and um. Went out to market found a couple of people spoke to so one person on the phone they said I actually applied for that role but got rejected through the um applicant tracking system just a kind of generic response I was like okay called up my client and said have you had an application from this person I've never seen their cvn before in my life. You want to send them through ended up getting the job. Um, and that's to me that's ah that was ah a wonderful like well I don't know if I was just this is my own confirmation Bias just telling me yes people win every time. Um, when you do tech badly it gets in the way.

24:46.23

Natasha

How we I am I I wish we could and I have done some work on this previously and I'm um, I'm working on a similar project again. But it's like how it's just not right? You know we assess people for a job in hospitality where the inherent skills we're looking for is. Being able to engage and communicate and you know create those experiences we talked about and you're trying to assess that on a piece of paper and it's just it's not right. It's not the way that we should do things and um I've I've worked on some really amazing projects that includes like gamified assessment and. Um, you know how do we understand like the core characteristics that make people successful and and just use that as part of your recruitment process and I think um as diversity and inclusion becomes you know more at the forefront and and businesses are working harder to try and create representation at all levels of the business I think. Hopefully um, the the recruitment industry and and the way that we assess people will be right at the heart of some real big changes I Hope So yeah.

25:46.93

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, it's like everything right balance you? um you can't ignore the tech but don't let the tech dominate you? Um, it's not your overall answer. It's part of the answer. Yeah.

26:00.97

Natasha

Exactly I know I agree.

26:04.78

philjstreet

And yeah, well this has gone a little bit off topic Actually I suppose that was always going to happen to people that give monkeys about people. But um, um, yeah, but let's go back to you and but I appreciate everything that you've said and ah it was probably inevitable that we were going to get into there at some point and it's probably a.

26:09.70

Natasha

Me says. Okay.

26:23.92

philjstreet

Topic that we should probably explore with some other specialists at some point because I do feel that all of the answers are within us as a collective. Um, we've just got to keep coming together Anyway, I'm going to draw a line on the that now. Um, so um, a question I'd love to ask everyone and hopefully you are prepared for this.

26:33.48

Natasha

Me Yeah, yeah, okay.

26:43.48

philjstreet

Um, have you got any funny stories from your career that you can share with us.

26:46.65

Natasha

Oh god I've got so many I think like the last I had to laugh because if I didn't laugh I'd cry but the last you know the the eighteen months or it might have been shorter than that it felt like 4 years that the children were at home amidst. Pandemic and I was juggling a very busy, probably the busiest over have been day job as well as trying to be mom and teacher and and all that good stuff I yeah very very oh god well I learned that I was slightly neurotic and yeah.

27:08.46

philjstreet

Yeah I bet you learn a lot about yourself at that point.

27:17.96

Natasha

And and losing my mind is what I learned no but we had some good moments but I had a very very serious project to fall at 1 point with some of the most senior individuals within our business and my then five-year-old son came over my shoulder and you know there'd been lots of really cute moments where we'd said really cute things and I thought this is fine. You know buying from the senior team with the. All of his cuteness and he took one look at the screen and said ah mummy one of those people look so boring. Why do they look like that and I have never been so morified in my whole entire life. Yeah, and yeah, so that that was a fun moment and.

27:53.55

philjstreet

Um, ah, fun vous.

27:57.60

Natasha

Yeah I I completely lost. Um I managed to drown out. No no, no I didn't I kept my job but I learned to I've flocked out the sound of my children in the pandemic and so there were many moments where that people be like what's that sound and um and when I then you know.

27:59.10

philjstreet

Your job.

28:13.56

Natasha

Tune in to what's actually going on in the the background of my house and my children would be you know fighting and and one would be screaming the song of Spiderman on on repeat over and over again. But we survived and they're alive just so yeah.

28:23.97

philjstreet

Yeah, and you to what now I think that's now that's the normal part of life I highlighted the fact that it was maybe four or five years ago there was that guy who was on Bbc once upon a time and his's nanny walked in but the or the kid walked in and his nanny would try to creep to.

28:29.17

Natasha

Yeah.

28:38.10

Natasha

Yeah.

28:42.35

philjstreet

To to retrieve the child and and everybody at the time like it went viral because it was so out there and that never happened before on live Tv but now I think we just have to expect that. That's part of life that a lot of people are working from home normally and I don't have kids but I have a dog.

28:55.26

Natasha

Yeah.

29:00.60

philjstreet

And the dog generally likes to sleep for a lot of the day until I get on the phone or on a Zoom or whatever and that's the time that um that she wants my attention.

29:09.43

Natasha

Um, yeah isn and it so it's like children and animals. They're not too dissimilar. It's yeah called yeah.

29:15.73

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, they say never work with them. Don't they never work with children and animals because you can't You can't move them into what you need them to do.

29:23.73

Natasha

Ah, well I heard an interesting stat the other day actually and they said that if you put an animal primarily in a cat or a dog in any of your marketing and so I'm considering this. How do we get cats and dogs in my recruitment marketing people are like 70% more likely to to to make a purchase.

29:39.31

philjstreet

I quite believe it I quite believe it because that for the the dog owners amongst us are crazy people and I say that as one you know and you know and um, who's not attracted to a video on Facebook Instagram wherever.

29:43.70

Natasha

Yeah.

29:47.78

Natasha

Night.

29:58.58

philjstreet

Of our cute dog doing something cute and silly.

30:01.60

Natasha

This is true. But and my my I wish my previous colleague shared the same sentiment when being shouted at by my child that they look extremely boring but that's not why I like my last company by the way. Yeah, they go.

30:10.20

philjstreet

Yeah, and Natasha could we can. We have a word. Yeah, but indeed I think it was actually that it's a very first recruitment job that I had I think we used to have ah pictures of micats in our candidate marketing at marketing.

30:28.45

Natasha

Really? ah.

30:30.17

philjstreet

Because it was yeah yeah, good and and I think the ah the guy who owned the business at the time was a massive advocate for just throwing a picture of ah an animal in to his marketing because he said as you've just said he said there's some studies being done around the fact that people are more likely to engage with it if there's an animal.

30:48.40

Natasha

People like animalss more than people. Yeah, okay and um and we do dress again. Yeah there we go? yeah.

30:49.74

philjstreet

Which I don't know what that says about us. Yeah, we should probably park that one there should be and yeah, no, no indeed. That's a kind of running theme on this show. So um, so that's that's all good and I I know you don't want to talk about chattifying So let's go.

31:08.60

Natasha

Oh God Yeah um, um I probably I probably shouldn't say this just in case, there are any like future perspectiveive or like employers that actually listen to this but like a lot of my friends refer to me as being like.

31:09.70

philjstreet

Stupid. What's the stupidest thing you've done so far in your career. There will be more and this is not breaking news.

31:26.15

Natasha

Smart stupid. So they say I'm highly intelligent really book spar. But i'm'm I'm lacking a little in that common sense department and I've got lots of stories of where that's the case. Um I have gone to Starbucks and asked for a dining coffee and attempted to put the coffee with no lid in the mug. And my humbag as I would usually with my takeout coffee that's happened embarrassing at the front of the queue I have I've fallen off stages so I was present I given the opportunity to present an award at an award ceremony 1 year and I was super excited I'm like yes this is a. Such a prestigious opportunity. It's great I get to get a new dress I get to get up on the stage and I did like a full-blown I am tumbling my arms are flapping I am the bird trying to save myself off of the stage I've had those moments so where I worked then that they will never forget me ah I'll probably forever be the girl that fell almost off the back of this.

32:07.70

philjstreet

Ah god.

32:18.58

Natasha

Age. But yeah I'd say those are pretty up there I've got laser them.

32:19.87

philjstreet

Yeah, well I think we all have I think we all have and you know the um as that reminded me of a time I used to work for a company called Portfolio who are no longer portfolio. Um, but we used to do an end of year Awards ceremony.

32:30.68

Natasha

Yes.

32:39.26

philjstreet

And id stupidly once upon a time told somebody that I'd ah once wrote and performed 2 standup comedy shows and um to varying degrees of success I should add and um so that led to somebody saying well you're definitely going to be the compare then for our awards ceremony and I was like ah.

32:44.31

Natasha

Ah, hands.

32:58.55

philjstreet

But hey, let's let's do it. Let's it will be fun. It'll be fun and of course you get nervous as hell doing anything like that. Um I get less nervous these days for that sort of thing but that's this is now like ten plus years ago and um and there was a section I had in the um, the show which I completely nicked from another standup comedian. Which was ah around um you got to at the beginning of the the shore you've got to move around the stage to find the funniest part of the stage and that usually that line just gets you a a laugh just because everybody was oh that's quite clever. Yeah, very very good. So basically what happened at that point was is that was on the stage and I was I like to move around at the beginning to find the funniest part of the stage and took a step to the side but the side and fell off so of course everybody was roaring with laughter and because they thought that was I'd meant to do that.

33:49.36

Natasha

And you're like to sit. Ah yeah, happy lot of of course at least you had an hour I'm just the clumsy girl from hey charro fell up at the of stage.

33:54.39

philjstreet

But.

33:59.32

philjstreet

Ah I think we we all have these moments so we all have these moments I um I remember my first trip to Dubai and going to Atlantis the pam and being so mesmerized by the arrival that I got out the taxi and left my phone and everything in the taxi.

34:06.69

Natasha

Yeah, yeah.

34:14.15

Natasha

Yeah.

34:16.62

philjstreet

And but of all the countries to leave stuff in taxis that is the best country to leave stuff in taxis because it was it was back with me 20 minutes later

34:24.23

Natasha

Oh their service over there is insane I just it's interest I spent do. Why was my where I spent my birthday in December and I spent my birthday there at Atlantis the path which is lovely. So yeah and it seems for people over there. They do it well don't they.

34:33.67

philjstreet

Really yeah by yeah, unbelievable and at that like that moment I stepped out the taxi was straight out of an adventure movie. You know where you just look. Ah, yeah, unbelievable. Yeah so um, at.

34:45.23

Natasha

Yeah, eyes another world. Yeah.

34:53.52

philjstreet

I Digress there of course I did and actually you um you made a point um in the first story I think it was which I think is absolutely bang on is that actually as employers we've got to stop looking for perfect. We've.

34:53.94

Natasha

I.

35:10.99

philjstreet

Because it's not there right? So um, we've got to start appreciating the the quirks and and individuality of of people and the and the fact that their differences bring something to the table. We can't go cuckoo cuttering everyone.

35:24.71

Natasha

Oh Yeah I agree I think um, you know we talk a lot about culture fit and actually are more you know I think people should share values and you know 3 or 4 values that you know bring people together that people share. Um, is really important when you're looking to build a culture but actually when you're hiring I think that as well as that you should always be looking at that whole culture out piece and you know what unique things does does this person bring to a role and you know where can they get involved in in you know, bringing something new that we haven't had previously I think that that's so important and so.

36:01.33

philjstreet

Now.

36:02.20

Natasha

That we don't do enough. You know we've we've got hate job descriptions I know they're important and they give a list of responsibilities but that whole person Specification. You know if you've got 10 things that you're looking for in a person. It's it's too stuffy. It's it's It's not right I think um, you know? yes you need some key requirements and and capabilities. Um, but let's let's just think a little bit differently about what we're doing and.

36:23.61

philjstreet

Well, that's still adage of if you keep doing what you've always done. You always get what you always got right? It's um and it's the same were if if we're all complaining about the same thing which is that there are lack of people generally out there then what are we going to do differently. Because it's not worked to this point.

36:43.32

Natasha

Yeah, sure I think we've got a big task on our hands as employers and um, you know there are still a lot of misconceptions that exist within the industry. You know people think it's just long hours. It's poor Power. You can't build a career and it's actually not true like you know as there are in every single industry.. There are. Experiences of people that you know you know could say that that has been the case for them. But actually I don't see it. Um, you know across the businesses that of of people that I know that work within them. It's is such a rewarding industry and so much opportunity to grow and progress. But I think we need to do more ah to. Communicate that and and change that perception. So um, yeah.

37:24.57

philjstreet

Yeah, absolutely I couldn't ah ah could not agree more and back to you. What's next this is an easier one. What's um, obviously you're going on leave soon. But um, what's what does the next year have in store for for you and valor.

37:29.74

Natasha

Okay.

37:40.87

Natasha

Yeah, so I'm really excited about um how we start to tap into what's super important to people now because it gives me an opportunity to get involved in things that I haven't done previously so we know that people are ah more driven by purpose and more driven by you know that whole. How businesses are prioritizing the planet and and and its people over just profit and so I've recently um, joined sustainability team here at at Valo which is an entirely new area of specialism for me, but it gives me the opportunity to start to look at how we can shape. Ah, employee experience around people's desire to be in a company that does good for the world. So you know we've set an aspiration that as an organization we want to be you know the only footprint that we want to leave is one in the sand which is incredible. But then there's a lot of work that needs to be done to get in us there. So not historically perhaps something that sits. You you hate our agenda. But as people have started to prioritize that it gives me selfishly a really great opportunity to to kind of explore that and I'm really excited about that. Um, and that will form a key part of you know employee valor's employee offer which is you know. My priority at the moment we do some really incredible stuff I still find out things every day that surprise me in terms of what they think is completely normal and that everybody in the industry does. But I know that that's not the case and um so I already had something really amazing to work with but I guess continue into shape and evolve that so that we can.

39:06.82

philjstreet

Um, right.

39:16.39

Natasha

Keep our people develop them and and build more bring more people into the business I'm hoping that we might win some more awards as well as it's been a while um I know that's it. So but yeah I think that's that's that's the priority for me Really I need it and and travel on a personal level I need to use it some of that annual leave because.

39:21.14

philjstreet

Um, no, no, but no yeah.

39:35.54

Natasha

Kind up catch up to over those last few years. So I think I've got at least 17 holidays I need to book but no many enough time to do it? yeah.

39:40.52

philjstreet

Yeah, well, Ah, but my list keeps getting longer and not shorter of places that need to go. But yeah, actually I mean even just from the the ah the mental capacity perspective taking breaks is as important as.

39:59.35

Natasha

Oh God j.

39:59.37

philjstreet

Putting the hammer down and and doing some you know some serious work. So um, no, you've I would imagine that you've definitely earned it.

40:05.58

Natasha

How God Yeah no and I'm lucky because you know valor is so great that whole health and well-being piece is really core to our author here and you know it's up I'll be at work and my boss is like I just head to the gym or go and have a run in the afternoon which is amazing and you know those are. They sound like really small little things. But um I think everybody kind of leads with that mentality and sometimes it's just those little simple things that that make a huge difference. So yeah, we've got a fine time to take a break when we're as money as we say.

40:34.40

philjstreet

Absolutely absolutely if I ever have a hotel I'll have a room that that has sleep pods for um, for staff because the that that would just be That's my ideal of what I need at about three o'clock in the afternoon or sometimes it's just that twenty twenty minute nap um yeah but you know and the thing is is that there's an awful lot of companies resist stuff like that because you don't dog state at s keep going. They all keep blasting whatever you need to do. But.

40:53.50

Natasha

And now 21 minutes yeah op I am.

41:09.96

philjstreet

Ultimately, you don't get the best out of the human you've got to be trying to make their or make their life as easy as possible. So that the performance is as as good as possible.

41:11.78

Natasha

I.

41:19.77

Natasha

I agree and it's like so we talk a lot in the hotel industry about you know the need from a guest perspective that they want like hyperpersonalization and that's like a real key thing for them. But then we you know our employee experience should be no different to our guests. Their their desires are exactly the same so like you know what motivates and and engages 1 person is entirely different to the other. So how we can personalize our offer for for every single individual is is a real focus for us and like you say if you know if someone wants to log off to take a productivity net like they should be able to to do that and because what. Motivates some drives performance fit and makes them feel happy at work is different for everybody. So yeah I I hope you're not saying like right now after this call because I think it's neat rather than it being a product of that. Yeah.

41:59.11

philjstreet

Yeah, absolutely and now you know what I need if I ever come and work for you but there we are no but that the absolutely and final question before I let you get on your your me way. Um, what would be your top 3 reasons as to why somebody should join hospitality definitely have.

42:20.89

Natasha

Yeah, um I think I've touched on it a little bit but despite what people think you can absolutely forge a career here. Um I think if you know this probably speaks more so to young people entering into the industry but I don't think that they're aware that if they come in and get their head down by the time they're sort of in their you know. 30 is they can be earning over a hundred Grand a year as a general manager like it's it's very easily done. You know if that's they set up with an intention I don't think that they think that's a possibility. Um and it's.

42:42.92

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

42:51.70

Natasha

Actually probably 1 of the most flexible businesses that you've work in long and longer the days that you're working like really long hours. You know we've got people that just work hours around you know school pickups and drop offs. You know it's it's not what people think it is and sure there are still some.

43:04.36

philjstreet

Ah.

43:08.64

Natasha

Businesses that it's like that. But if you find somewhere that you know actively promotes flexibility which a lot of businesses. Do um, you know it's It's really great for people that are looking for that second opportunity alongside a side hutlelo people that've got children or other commitments. It's That's a real key reason. Why? Um. We're a great industry and then the others is that it's one of the very few industries that very easily opens up opportunities wherever you want to go in the world Now there are hotels everywhere so you can pick any places that you want to go anywhere in the world and you can go and um, you know the world literally here's your oyster. So.

43:36.44

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

43:44.76

philjstreet

Absolutely Don't forget the fun. That's the that's the one for me that it's yeah.

43:46.50

Natasha

Yeah.

43:51.96

Natasha

That's true upon people, it's yeah I I'd agree and it's great and and and this is for as well and I think one of the other things I'm looking a lot into at the moment is around. Um. Talk about diversity and inclusion. But there's the whole piece around people that have got neurodiergent traits so like Adhd and dyslexia and and some people that perhaps like based on how they experience those things sitting behind a desk. You know 9 hours a day is like their idea of hell. So this opportunity like the opportunities within a hotel are perfect for people that are looking for. You know, anything that's outside of the realms of a normal office job. It's great. You're on your feet and you're amongst people and it's fun and it's lively. And yeah I think.

44:31.47

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, absolutely superb. Great stuff. Well if people want to get a hold of you to learn about valor learn about you just chew the fact generally about hospitality. What's the best method for them to do that.

44:35.90

Natasha

Yeah.

44:45.58

Natasha

Say Linkedin for mostly all things professional, but just yeah, try and keep it like personal but then also if you want to find me on Instagram I am also on there although I will post holiday pictures and late art. So but if those are the type of things that Flir you boat. You can find me there too.

45:00.31

philjstreet

Oh dear, you've lost me. No yeah.

45:04.78

Natasha

Yeah, okay.

45:06.78

philjstreet

Excellent, great stuff. Well look. Thank you very much for coming and sharing your story and good luck with your leave and beyond. It sounds like you've got a really really interesting time ahead of you. Um, and and looking forward to seeing what you come up with no problem at all.

45:17.71

Natasha

Yeah, so much about thanks so much Phil. Thanks for having me.

45:25.92

philjstreet

Take Care Bye bye.