The Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific HR team is a team of 20 individuals based in Australia, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Fiji.
The team is responsible for the overall Human Resources operations across eight Asia Pacific countries comprising a collection of 54 properties across Asia Pacific. The company serves almost 71,000 vacation owners who are part of Club Wyndham South Pacific, Club Wyndham Asia and Innovative Holiday Club by Club Wyndham.
Between December 2019 and December 2020 the HR team was faced with extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19. All team members demonstrated true grit and leadership – working through the complexities of ever shifting, multiple government mandates associated with pandemic lockdowns and border closures.
This involved a number of phases, which impacted many people, including:
Phase 1: Close-down of resorts and offices across all countries to ensure the safety of guests, the public at large, and staff
Phase 2: Establishing Work from Home/Remote work capability for corporate operations
Phase 3: Ensuring the business could access JobKeeper and NZ Wage Subsidy Support for its people in Australia and NZ who were effectively stood down
Managing employee and lockdown regulations in China, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, Singapore and Indonesia
Phase 4: Undertaking a significant restructure due to the financial and economic impacts on the viability of the organisation, and the travel industry as a whole
The roll out of new stringent hygiene protocols at both offices and resorts was another huge undertaking the team managed with excellence this year.
To develop rigorous, industry-leading health and cleanliness protocols, Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific worked alongside parent company Wyndham Destinations in the USA and global hygiene expert, Ecolab. The overhaul of hygiene practices makes use of Ecolab’s hospital-grade disinfectants to clean high-traffic areas and provides guests greater access to hand sanitiser. Common areas have been redesigned for social distancing and housekeeping procedures tightened.
The team rethought every interaction and space at resorts and offices to conform to the highest standards of hygiene. Everything was considered from guest check-in, use of resort amenities, housekeeping and other obvious examples of contact, to more subtle interactions, like the way keys are handed between staff.
In all workplaces, temperature readers were installed for checks prior to entry as well as hand sanitizer stations in every workspace.
Specific protocols include:
Check-in and check-out
• Suite keys are thoroughly sanitized and disinfected before they are given to guests or vacation owners
• At selected resorts, online check-in, keyless entry into rooms through mobile phone or drive-through check-ins were introduced
• Hospital-grade disinfectants from Ecolab used in all cleaning
• Hospital-grade disinfectants frequently used to cleanse high touch areas across the resort, including touchscreens, handles, hand railings and elevator buttons
• Common areas rearranged so that furniture placement reflects social distancing standards
• Buffets removed at restaurants and cafes
• Sanitizing stations placed strategically in common spaces
• Resort staff have access to personal protective equipment and are required to wear it, if it is a local requirement
• Masks have been made available for guests and vacation owners on request
• Housekeeping staff are assigned a partner and the pair work together all day to minimise contact between different people
• They conduct a visual inspection of rooms first, remove all dirty material including linens and sheets, then work through room zones in a specific order
• Protective gloves and cloths are changed as they move from zone to zone
• Surfaces are cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants from Ecolab
To further take care for associates, over the past year, the team launched a Mental Health Awareness program across the business.
This has resulted in more than 1,100 employees being directly exposed to guidance for managing their own mental wellbeing, as well as being able to identify when others may be struggling, and starting a meaningful conversation to help.
The initiative, and the opportune timing of its launch – during the uncertain months of the pandemic – has received substantial acclaim (through learning feedback) with the following scores received:
-Mental Health Awareness for Associates – 4.5 out of 5 overall program effectiveness
-Mental Health Awareness for Leaders – 4.42 out of 5 overall program effectiveness.
This program has been so well received that it has since been adopted by Wyndham Destinations in the USA for a global roll out.
Faced with unprecedented challenges during 2020, the Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific HR Team has gone from strength to strength, also managing to launch a new, companywide human management platform encompassing HR, Learning and Development, organizational charts and performance management.
They are a team whose purpose is to invigorate their people through positive and meaningful contributions and make Wyndham the strongest story in employee experience. This has been demonstrated over the course of the year through outstanding leadership, excellence, compassion, and work which has inspired others.