Careers at Sri Lankan resorts: Life at John Keells Resorts

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

While working at a resort hotel is fun, it also offers its staff a clear career path. So it is not a surprise to find many instances at John Keells Resorts where an employee starts in Front Office operations or another area and moves up the ladder to become the General Manager.

As a newcomer to this glamorous industry, Andreana Wheeler started her job with uncertainty in the Front Office at Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo, Maldives. Although there was ambiguity of what to expect, she looked forward to working with an efficient team in a challenging environment. After one and half years of experience, she feels very homely in a family-like atmosphere. She is proud to be a vital piece of John Keells Resorts. Since this is a people-oriented industry, Andreana has to harness her charisma to guarantee a service with a smile. The positive, friendly and happy-to-help attitude of every person has made her work life comfortable and easy-going.

The amazing aspect about the hospitality industry is that the skills developed are readily transferable to other careers. As a result, a career in hospitality is a key to discover new opportunities, new industries and new people.  

In a short space of 18 months, Andreana feels fortunate to associate and learn from various nationalities of guests and colleagues in a dynamic and congenial atmosphere. “My co-workers and superiors have assisted me in my job, and offers ample opportunities for growth.”

There is such enormous scope within the hospitality industry that there’s never any need to get stuck in a niche. Just as there is the potential for rapid horizontal movement, people can also make their way up the ladder very quickly. Hard work, acquisition of qualifications, customer and work relationships will make a very quick path to a senior position.

Everyone’s story is different. Indika Fernando in the Housekeeping division at Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa walked into the resort 12 months back when it was still under refurbishment.  Despite the fact that the hotel was a construction site at the time, he felt warmly welcomed by his colleagues and realised the positive outlook to his future.

Prior to this employment, Indika was involved in banking. When asked what was different about this job from his previous employment, he responded, “This job is not monotonous and I feel motivated to wake up every day to work. John Keells is a place to grow. Employees are encouraged to be creative, so there is always scope to dream up new ways of making it more enjoyable for guests. My job has really pushed me beyond what I thought was my limit.”

Julinda Pushpa Kumara, another recruit from Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa, was skeptical about the job market and working conditions in Sri Lanka. Working abroad for some time, he thought that it will be difficult to fit into the local situation and overcome re-entry shock. However, working at Chaaya Tranz for just 12 months, he has changed his perceptions and point of view of the Sri Lankan culinary industry.

Julinda commented that people at John Keells are treated with respect and given equal opportunity employment. To ensure such a favourable working environment, Human resource policies and procedures on non-discrimination, prevention of underage employment, and non-discrimination regarding HIV and AIDS are implemented and strictly followed.    

John Keells Resorts are very dynamic. The resorts organise sporting and CSR activities, and celebrate every major religious festival. It is definitely a hard ‘work and play’ scenario. Even Saminda Dissanayake involved in food and beverage at Chaaya Village Habarana finds his workplace highly harmonised.

“I had a very pleasant experience supporting the organising of activities and participating in extra-curricular activities at the hotel.”It takes a remarkable person to manoeuvre through the multitude of requests on a daily basis, and still have time to support other activities beyond their call of duty.

John Keells Resorts are dedicated to develop their people. Though relatively new in the company, Julinda, Andreana and Saminda have been granted training and cross exposure opportunities: for example, they were sent to Dubai for training and exposure to some of the world’s best hotels.

Hospitality is not for a person who looks for monotonous and routine work day after day after day. At John Keells Resorts, every employee wakes up to something new and exciting every day, and it is difficult to find a Resort employee who does not have the passion for it. It involves a great deal of variety, not only in terms of working hours, but also the work you do during those hours.