Until a few years ago, Seminaris was a traditional company in a traditional industry: the conference hotel chain mainly sold meeting and conference rooms and organized conferences. The organization was hierarchical, relying on the top-down principle in all decision-making and communication channels.
But Seminaris was one of the first in the hotel industry to recognize a changing (working) world – and its disruptive potential for its own business model. As a result, it became increasingly difficult to recruit and retain skilled employees over the long term. And the needs of corporate customers also changed fundamentally in the context of digitization. In short, who still needed conference hotels in these times?
In order to survive in the world of work 4.0, not only innovative services were needed – but also a committed and diverse team that brought with it the necessary innovative strength. Or to put it another way: in the future, hotels will not have to close due to a lack of guests, but due to a lack of employees.
Knowing these challenges, Seminaris is embarking on a learning journey across the new working world in 2018. The goal: a cultural transformation that puts people and their individual abilities at the center. We need to empower each other to make self-determined and self-responsible decisions. Only in this way will we be able to survive in a rapidly changing market environment with ever new customer needs and offer innovative solutions.
One of the first and most important lessons learned on this journey: cultural change cannot succeed behind closed doors or in the smallest management circle. Instead, employees from reception, kitchen and housekeeping must be involved on an equal footing – a transformation from the middle.
This is how the interdisciplinary and cross-site transformation team came into being. Since then, it has been meeting regularly for workshops and shaping the cultural change from the inside out, bottom-up and people-centered according to the principles of design thinking. Together with the accompanying consultancy Wecreation, the transformation team is initiating collaborative formats to bring the cultural change to all Seminaris Hotels and invite them to participate.
Seminaris is already living up to its new standards in the process itself, and consistently relies on the self-organization of its employees.
sustainable | mindful | with respect
diverse | trustful | at eye level
transparent | liberating | in exchange
independent | agile | with courage
The result: a cultural mission statement that was developed by and for around 350 Seminaris employees (and is constantly being refined). It points the way to the future and serves as orientation in day-to-day business. And it provided the impetus for a complete realignment of our own offering.
The central elements of the common vision are the mission “We make people grow” and the four values of appreciation, team strength, self-determination and the joy of communication.
The organizational form of Seminaris was developed into a matrix in line with the self-determined culture. And the mission statement is now consistently implemented in all areas of the newly created matrix organization – for example, through agile leadership, the implementation of Scrum, a distinctive error and feedback culture, and a certified environmental management system.
Actively demanding and encouraging grassroots initiatives, while at the same time giving all units autonomy and self-organization, repeatedly leads to surprising and relevant solutions in hotel operations. Both internal and external communications are designed to be culture-based.
Today, Seminaris no longer offers its customers classic conferences and meeting rooms – but the opportunity to grow in change. With a network of new-work experts and trainers, Masterclasses and workshops, rooms and tools. And with employees who, with a mindset of permanent beta, drive this change from the middle out again and again.
Always committed to their own mission: We make people grow. Because at Seminaris, people should and are allowed to grow beyond themselves.
Seminaris Hotels was awarded 1st place in the Hospitality HR Award by Deutsche Hotelakademie for the best HR strategy chains and cooperations (hotel and restaurant industry) in 2022. In this category, the holistic HR management from recruiting to training and employee development is awarded.
Seminaris Hotels are the winners of the inaugural “Hotel Innovation Award 2022” for the best human resources management in the “Employee Learning & Development” category. The award was given for the establishment of a cross-departmental, cross-site and cross-hierarchical transformation team that shapes cultural change from an internal perspective.
Share your ideas with us and accompany this journey with your knowledge and experience – apply now at Seminaris Hotels!
Jochen Swoboda talks about the transformation at Seminaris Hotels and how it’s been for him so far.
At Seminaris Hotels we rely on agile methods and a modern working environment according to New Work.
Our hotels are places where people meet – this brings many impulses and can trigger sustainable changes.
New Work enables teams in companies to break new ground and courageously face the changing world.
For reasons of better readability, the simultaneous use of gender-specific forms of language is omitted.