In the first week of 2020, I’m feeling both nostalgic and energized. Reflecting on the past three years, Empowered Hospitality has grown from an idea to a team of 14, impacting over 70 companies and 11,000 employees in New York City and beyond.
Our mission is to create workplaces where people thrive. Today, too many hospitality workplaces view “just showing up” as an achievement. We believe that with the right [human] resources our industry’s +70% turnover will reduce, and its reputation will shift. Thriving means having the resources needed to do one’s job well (knowledge, leadership skills, tools and processes), feeling respected and valued, and aligning emotionally with a company’s guiding purpose. A simple recipe, but challenging to execute well.
Creating workplaces where people thrive must start with our own team. In 2019, we expanded E|H’s benefits offerings, introducing 401(k) match, unlimited paid time off, Alice pre-tax benefits and education reimbursement. We moved into our first dedicated office space in Primary, a vibrant coworking community that has offered us flexibility, positivity and entrepreneurial inspiration. We also established a culture committee dedicated to assessing our team’s needs and building our culture. We will continue investing in our people this year, with the aim of becoming the preferred employer of HR leaders in hospitality.
One of my favorite things about E|H is the communal, accepting and collaborative way we learn. Angie Buonpane and Elvira Ryder, our Managing Directors, bring powerful mentorship and a passion for developing the next generation of HR leaders. Partner Joe Rollin contributes vision, consulting best practices and top-notch tools and analytics to steer our business. Each member of our team is empowered to identify and share their native genius, and we lean on industry experts and colleagues to fill our internal knowledge gaps.
In 2020, we hope to strengthen our infrastructure, broaden our expertise and drive information and resources more consistently to our community. We have introduced a company wiki to share information, established a Subject Matter Expert program to deepen our knowledge, and have onboarded new team members with expertise in organizational development, compensation analytics, benefits, recruiting and payroll. We revamped our ‘Respect in the Workplace’ training to exceed New York’s sexual harassment prevention training requirements, a curriculum we believe cultivates respect and inclusion.
We welcome collaboration – our hope is to find like-minded partners to inform, transform and support our clients in the new year. We are also excited to continue supporting organizations that cultivate hospitality careers, such as the Food & Finance High School and Emma’s Torch.
From the very beginning, we have committed to providing HR guidance and support to well-intentioned owners and operators struggling with increasing regulation and litigation. Our growth has not been easy – we navigate the same murky waters as our clients, and feel the difficulties of defending against risk and retaining top talent – but we are making a confident beginning to the new decade as a result of the obstacles we have overcome.
In 2019, we were lucky to share in the joy of many new openings – Bergamo’s, Caffè Panna, Calexico LES, Daymoves/Nightmoves, Hudson Yards Grill, Nami Nori, Oceans, Portale, Turks Inn, Taim Georgetown. These achievements remind us that growth is possible despite the forces working against us. We approach 2020 with a growth mindset. With agility, perseverance and optimism, we can take our teams from “just showing up” to thriving.
Sarah Diehl, Founder & Principal