Oberoi Shutdown Not to Hurt Many Staffers
Group accommodates most staff in other hotels as it closes down Delhi property for renovation
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.