The career path of Kathhiravan Radhakrishnan
The associates of HMSHost International are the real heroes behind the organisation’s success story. “Our associates are at the heart of our business. They do not only serve as a calling card towards our guests, but also towards the labour market”, explains Vice President HR Kimberly DeMello. A best practice model is provided by the journey of Kathhiravan Radhakrishnan, General Manager at Bangalore Airport in India.
‘There is a solution to every challenge’, is the mantra that Kathhiravan lives up to every day. “I don’t believe in the word ‘problem’. We don’t have problems, but of course we do face challenges. Since I work for an airport with a great variety of high-quality F&B stores, that’s day to day business. Our main challenge is to always try to exceed the expectations of our visionary landlords. And I can proudly say that so far we have been quite successful at that.” The testimony of their hard work? “We recently won two FAB awards and three Pinnacle awards which is the direct result of all our hard work and commitment.”
“We don’t have problems, we face challenges.”
Before making his move to HMSHost International. Kathhiravan used to work as a hotelier for respectively the prestigious Taj Hotels Group in Hyderabad and Chennai and The Leela Kempinski Hotel in Bangalore. “Ten years ago I decided it was time to broaden my horizon. I started my journey at HMSHost International when the company first set foot in India. These past years have been exceptional. They have kept me on my toes.”
Kathhiravan started off his career as Head of Operations at Bangalore Airport in 2008. It only took him a few months to get promoted to General Manager of Mumbai Airport. After four years of heading operations at Mumbai Airport he was asked to revamp all the concepts at metropolis Hyderabad and Bangalore Airports and to work on key tenders issued by different parties in the region. “Truly interesting years! But who could have thought my next step was to move back to where it all had started: Bangalore Airport. This time as a General Manager.”
Currently Kathhiravan is responsible for a team of 430 associates. His main concern is to achieve and maintain a high level of operational excellence. That’s why a Training Manager was appointed to provide on-the-job training to all the associates. In addition to that, Kathhiravan puts a lot of effort in coaching his associates on a regular basis, which helps them to optimize daily routines into efficient processes for a smooth operation. In their attempt to provide the best service in the region and possibly the best service in the world, Kathhiravan and his team vigorously pursue the five corporate values of HMSHost International: passion, initiative, openness, reliability and simplicity. “These values have become part and parcel of how we work. We embed these values in our daily work and team culture.”
Working with people is what keeps Kathhiravan highly motivated. Yet, finding and recruiting associates that are willing to go the extra mile to achieve an outstanding level of service, isn’t easy. Campus interviews at reputed hotel management schools, referrals, tracking social media like LinkedIn and food trials for chefs and cooks: Kathhiravan divides his attention to different means to carefully select his dream team. And once they have been recruited, they enter an extensive training-program about the vision and values of HMSHost International. These fundamentals are followed uniformly by everyone: from top to bottom. “The team has great determination, positive attitude and has never been hesitant to new challenges. Only a dedicated team with an entrepreneurial spirit can provide exquisite service resulting in the best guest experience.”