Hospitality Industry Employers' Expectations and Perceptions of Employees' Competences in Nairobi Hotels
Kamau, S. W.
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The Kenya hospitality industry had evolved to be a major foreign exchange earner up to December 2007 when post election violence made it dwindle. However, as it continues to pick up again there is a need for quality service from the employees. This can be achieved if the employees get quality and relevant training. Unfortunately tourism education and training is a recent phenomenon that has developed in an adhoc manner globally. This has led to many issues being raised such as curriculum relevance. Appeals have been made to the Kenyan government to protect the industry from the falling standards. Furthermore there has been no feedback from the employers to the training institutions. This study aimed at 1) Determining the hospitality industry employers' expectations and perceptions on employees' job performance and competences. 2) Identify the type of training providers employees attended. 3) Establish congruency between skills implemented by training providers and the expected skills. 4) Investigate the effect of employers' perceptions on employees' recruitment and selection. The sample for the study included the eight hotels obtained through stratified random sampling of the 1-5 star rated hotels. The units of observation were the 8 purposively sampled HRMs and 42 purposively sampled HOD from the kitchen, restaurant, front office and house keeping departments. These are areas where employees have direct contacts with the customers and hence have the necessary information. To validate the data 56 employees were randomly sampled, 2 from each department. A structured interview guide was used to collect data from the HRMs so as to get in-depth and reliable information. Semi-structured questionnaires collected were used to data from the HODs while closed and open ended questionnaires were used for the employees. Secondary data was collected from employees records and guests comments cards. A descriptive survey was done and the subjects were, 8 HRMs, 42 HODS, and 56 employees. Chi-square test was used to test the significance difference between the variables. Results indicated that on job training is a recognised mode of training and there was a significant difference between the type of training providers and the hotels classifications where employees were working (p=0.01). Results indicated that, it was only in computer skills where there was a difference between hospitality industry employers' skills' expectations (p=0.04). The results also indicated that some personal skills had greater than 71% relevance while technical skills were rated between 32- 53%. Training providers were more preferred as a training venue than on job training. In addition the results further showed that employers' perception on the training providers affects employees' selection and recruitment as revealed by 69% of the HODs. To test this relationship a multi-nominal logistic regression was done, the overall (p-value = 0.703). The study recommends that the reputable colleges available should mentor the emerging providers so as to coordinate training. Also recommended is a need for academia and industry collaboration. It was also recommended that high quality industry standard should be set and educators should be a step ahead of the industry with inventions and innovations. Finally a professional examination should be introduced and professional bodies formed in order to eliminate ranking and rating of employees.