Investing in Education: The Graduate Academy Program

with Kevin Osterhaus, President at Graduate Hotels

Together with

Good morning. Graduate Hotels has been making waves over the last few years for its rapid growth, stand-out design, and vibrant culture. But there’s one aspect I find especially interesting in general but very relevant for them and their brand – a big focus on education. Today, we’re learning from Graduate Hotels President Kevin Osterhaus about the investments they’ve been making into employee education and what the business results have been from it.

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Investing in Education: The Graduate Academy Program

with Kevin Osterhaus, President at Graduate Hotels

Today, Graduate Hotels President Kevin Osterhaus shares the story behind their recent investments in employee education and its impact on both individuals and the business.

Credit: Graduate Hotels

The Graduate Academy program, launched last year, offers team members the opportunity to pursue undergraduate degrees paid for by the company. Additionally, Graduate Hotels will cover the cost of university certifications, regardless of whether they are related to the employee's role or not.

This includes trade certifications for engineering team members, human resources certifications for housekeeping team members, and CPA certifications for finance team members. The program also extends to funding high school diplomas and English classes for team members and their families.

Graduate Academy

Kevin believes that providing educational opportunities is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, he has seen the hospitality industry too frequently fail collectively to excite people about careers in hospitality.

As an industry we do a horrible job of getting people excited about careers in hospitality.

He believes that the industry as a whole needs to shift its priorities and become more innovative in attracting and retaining talent. Graduate Hotels aims to lead that change by offering educational opportunities that can lead to career advancement.

Hospitality is an exciting industry if we're telling that story right.

Kevin has also found that investing in employees' growth and development fosters loyalty and longer tenures, benefiting both the individual and the company.

Setting up the Graduate Academy program was a comprehensive project. Kevin and his team understood and communicated the importance of viewing it as a benefit offering rather than just an added expense. They allocated funds to the properties and communicated the program's details to team members through roundtable discussions, quarterly town halls, and ongoing training. The goal was to ensure that everyone understood the opportunities available to them and felt supported in their educational pursuits.

Credit: Graduate Hotels

Although the program has been in place for less than a year, it has already yielded positive results. Many team members have registered for the program, with approximately 10% actively involved in certifications or educational courses. Surveys have shown that 90% of participants believe in the organization's commitment to their growth, and nearly 80% have expressed an increased desire to grow with Graduate Hotels. The program has also contributed to a significant decrease in turnover and increased retention among participants.

Turnover is down. Retention is up.

Overall, the Graduate Academy program exemplifies Graduate Hotels' dedication to education and employee development. By investing in its team members' education, Graduate Hotels enhances their skills and knowledge and fosters loyalty and long-term commitment.

The program's success is evident in the positive feedback received and the tangible impact on employee retention. As Graduate Hotels continues to find innovative ways to engage and support its team members, the program is poised to deliver even more impressive results in the future - and is an inspiration to us all on what’s possible.

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