Oberoi Shut­down Not to Hurt Many Staffers

Group ac­com­mo­dates most staff in other ho­tels as it closes down Delhi prop­erty for ren­o­va­tion

The Economic Times - - Career & Business Life - Di­vya.Sathya­narayanan @times­group.com

Mum­bai: While the de­ci­sion to shut the 51-year-old iconic Delhi prop­erty was a big one for the Oberoi Group, an equally her­culean task was to ac­com­mo­date the prop­erty’s over 400-mem­ber work­force within the chain, with­out caus­ing much anx­i­ety among the work­force, or trig­ger­ing an ex­o­dus of sorts.

Oberoi Group has launched a .₹ 325crore ren­o­va­tion of its 283-room ho­tel on Delhi’s Zakir Hus­sain Marg, the plan­ning for which started two years back. The prop­erty com­menced reno- va­tion on April 1 this year, and the ho­tel will be shut for two years.

“It’s the first time in the group that we had to plan this kind of tran­si­tion or change. We were very clear, as far as in­ter­nal stake­hold­ers are con­cerned, that we will cre­ate an op­por­tu­nity for each and ev­ery em­ployee who would want to con­tinue to work with us. We will def­i­nitely not ask any­body to go,” said KS Bak­shi, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent, hu­man re­sources, The Oberoi Group. As for the prop­erty’s cur­rent em­ploy­ees, Bak­shi said ma­jor­ity of its as­so­ci­ates will be ac­com­mo­dated in its three new up­com­ing prop­er­ties in Morocco, the UAE and Chandi­garh. The man­power plan­ning started in 2015-16, when the group slowed down its ex­ter­nal hir­ing and cam­pus re­cruit­ments, as well as started map­ping the cur­rent em­ploy­ees to place them within the dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties of the group.

Of the 400 em­ploy­ees of the Delhi prop­erty, many of whom have worked there for decades, 100 will take up new po­si­tions at the group’s two new ho­tels over­seas, while the rest have been placed in do­mes­tic prop­er­ties. “There are few peo­ple who had lo­ca­tion con­straints and wanted to stay back in Delhi. For those who wanted to be in Delhi and those we could not fit in our Delhi or Gur­gaon prop­er­ties due to not many op­tions, we reached out to other ho­tels in­for­mally and man­aged to place them there,” said Bak­shi, adding that around 30 em­ploy­ees have quit the com­pany.

When asked about the ad­di­tional cost that the group would en­tail on the re­lo­ca­tion of em­ploy­ees, Bak­shi said the cost of in­ter­na­tional re­lo­ca­tions are borne by the ho­tel own­ers, while the do­mes­tic re­lo­ca­tion cost has been fac­tored in by the group in its an­nual bud­get. “The fact that we slowed down ex­ter­nal hir­ing and our do­mes­tic ho­tels also ac­com­mo­dated a ma­jor por­tion of th­ese em­ploy­ees, there is no sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in pay­roll cost.”

In­dus­try ex­perts said that this is the first time that a five-star ho­tel has com­pletely shut down for ren­o­va­tion. “Ad­van­tage of big groups, such as Oberoi, is that they can ab­sorb the work­force within the com­pany,” said Nat­war Na­gar, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of HVS Ex­ec­u­tive Search.

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