May 2014: The growing importance of corporate social initiative projects within the corporate space is marked, and similarly, the necessity of these initiatives in hospitality and tourism is evident considering the dire need for skills development within the sector.
That’s according to Protea Hospitality Group Human Resources Director Benjamin Memani, who is urging hospitality and tourism companies alike to take a deeper look at what they are focused on as corporate social initiatives (CSI).
“Observing the structure of most large hospitality groups, it’s obvious that the diversity of skills throughout various business units can create a catalytic environment. One that is beneficial to the growth of any internal staff, or students, that are looking to increase their range of skills,” says Memani. “This structure can ensure the vitality and growth of any CSI projects that a company chooses to embark on.”
However, when deciding on what cause to invest in, hospitality companies are often at a loss purely because the options are so varied, but Memani believes that by investing in development of the industry, in addition to worthy causes, any group is able to assist directly in economic development and job creation.
Protea Hotels has consistently increased the money directed towards CSI projects over its years of operation, with the last financial closing with more than R2-million at corporate level channeled into bursaries and other worthy causes. This excludes the hundreds of CSI projects undertaken by the regional offices and hotels themselves.
The majority of this directed towards providing students, comprising of both internal staff and external candidates, the opportunity to study further and increase their skill set within the hospitality sector.
Memani challenges other hospitality and tourism companies to invest what they can into similar initiatives by looking at their own business model innovatively: “Protea Hotels ensures that funding for these CSI projects is built out from various channels before the year even starts. CSI needs to be built into your business plan from the word go, before the plan is even drawn up.”
Among the other recipients of double or triple digit funding were:
- Numerous children’s charities including Reach for a Dream and the Groote Schuur Hospital Cancer Ward;
- Various housing projects including Habitat for Humanity;
- Primary and secondary schools in areas with great social needs;
- Charities that care for township animals;
- HIV/Aids charities; and
- Charities that care for the elderly.
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