COVID-19 adaptation and recovery: Human resource and training needs in Whistler, BC
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This report documents a qualitative research project conducted between May and July 2020 by two researchers from Royal Roads University. The focus of the project was to understand more fully the Human Resource (HR) and training needs of Whistler employers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. These needs were explored in the following sectors: food and beverage, retail, accommodation, and not-for-profit. The research will assist organizations in these four sectors in Whistler as they adapt and respond to the changing pandemic environment. A literature review explored several major catastrophes with an emphasis on recovery strategies. Ten recovery strategies were identified in the literature, as well as seven lessons learned. Four virtual focus groups were held with representatives from each of the four sectors; these representatives were primarily managers and owners of Whistler-based organizations. A qualitative analysis software program was used to aid in the identification of themes. The resulting themes were further analyzed to develop the findings and recommendations presented in this report. Throughout the discussions with the research participants, there were several consistent findings. The questions and findings are organized into two areas: (1) HR needs, as organizations began to open operations, and (2) professional development and training needs. With respect to HR needs, the following five needs were identified as common issues: staffing, adaptability, uncertainty, communication, and strategies for working in the COVID-19 pandemic. With regard to professional development and training needs, all sectors identified conflict resolution and difficult conversations as priorities. The report lists the training and development needs by sector for managers and owners, and staff and volunteers. The research culminated in the development of the 4C model which focusses on workplace adaptation and recovery. The research will have relevance not only to Whistler, but also to other resort communities that have an economy that is reliant on tourism and hospitality.
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