Innovating Cooperation AIHR Professorship and NHL Human Talent Minor
  • publication: 27 September 2016

Innovating Cooperation AIHR Professorship and NHL Human Talent Minor

by Dr. Sjoerd Gehrels


Quite alarming predictions were made about the talent deficiency for the international hospitality industry in the coming decade by the World Travel & Tourism Council in its ‘Global Talent Trends and Issues for the Travel & Tourism Sector’ (2015) report. From the Academy of International Hospitality Research’s research within the sector it came out that hotels are attempting to deal with the matter while restaurants seem to have accepted that employing a relatively large proportion of part-timers, students and interns is the only way to cope. Initiating research to improve the human resources situation within the hospitality industry is challenging. A recent response of a 4th year Hotelschool student on an internship with a renowned Dutch consultancy company says it all: ‘… most restaurant owners in The Netherlands do not know about themes like employee engagement. The problem is that all resolves around ‘money’ at the moment. Entrepreneurs in the sector simply do not pay a cent more than the minimum wages leading to the effect that employees seek their future in other sectors … ‘. The student’s employer and owner of the consultancy had told him to stay away from the HRM topic because there seemed, according to him, to be no use in doing this kind of research that might assist the industry in finding solutions. This little narrative presents a rather alarming situation. If HMS students are advised against doing research into HRM for the hospitality industry by companies connected to the industry, then where are we heading?


Innovation in Human Resources Management for the hospitality industry is very much needed and seems difficult to generate if it is drawn only from within that industry. As defined in the concept of open innovation, real or maybe even disruptive innovation can only be achieved when there is a cross sectoral approach. Therefore, a rather unique initiative was taken by Marleen Griep (Team Leader Stenden HMS Internships, Jappie Sietsma (Coordinator 4th year Human Talent Minor, NHL) and Sjoerd Gehrels (Lector Innovation in Hospitality at Stenden HMS). NHL students in their 4th year Human Talent Minor of the NHL Business Administration programme will do research for the Stenden HMS, Lectoraat Innovation in Hospitality. The Human Talent Minor prepares HRM students for positions as HRM advisor. The main assignment in the minor is to engage in HRM related research at a senior level (competence level 3). This means that the Human Talent students will be working on assignments provided by external organizations, in this case by the Lectoraat Innovation in Hospitality. They will look for Real-World HRM situations and best practices and research themes such as sustainable HRM, employer branding, hospitableness in HRM, employee engagement and talent management.

After initial exploring talks, a kick-off was made on Wednesday 14th September in De Kanselarij. About 40 NHL Human Talent Minor students attended the presentations by Robert Knoester, Vice President HR, Genmab, Bram Kruijt, Leeuwarden Cultural Capital Leeuwarden 2018 and Sjoerd Gehrels, Lector Innovation in Hospitality, Stenden HMS, Academy of International Hospitality Research. As it turned out, 10 students were interested in the Stenden HMS, AIHR HRM themes that can lead to innovation in the hospitality industry. Naomi Ammeraal, Marrit Fokma, Vincent Schutte, Nynke de Jong, Nick Bosccher, Marcus Gorter, Steven Landskroon, Roos Strating, Esmee Rinsma and Machteld Sinnema will look into topics such as: employee engagement, sustainable HRM and Generation Z (soon to come to the labour market). It will be exciting to see what their findings at the end of this semester are. We will keep you updated.