People and Culture: The Global Team at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis
Since opening in June 2022, Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis has welcomed guests into light-filled rooms, Mediterranean restaurants, a nourishing nature-inspired spa, and warm, welcoming gathering spaces. And while guests come in for the five-star details, they return because of something far more impactful.
“At the core, guests return to us because of the people,” says John Burdette, People and Culture Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis. “They come back because of how they were treated by our team, and the experience they provided.”
Bringing People Together
Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis was designed to be more than just a Hotel: it’s a place that brings people together. This starts with the team who works there. The Hotel’s 350 employees hail from around the globe, from far-flung locales such as Seoul, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and England to US states such Hawaii, California, Texas and Wisconsin. They all have one thing in common: they’ve come to the Twin Cities to help build something great.
“It's really important for us to build a diverse team,” says Ashley Poland, Director of People and Culture at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis. “Our guests are coming from all over the world, and it’s important that we have a good representation of cultures. Of course, our guests are looking for a five-star experience, but we want people to come to us and feel like family.”
“I think seeing that we have an employee base from the same country they’ve come from, or recently travelled to, gives that unique experience that you might not find at every hotel,” adds Nicole Meneveau, Assistant Director of People and Culture.
Connecting with Community
Additionally, Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis works to represent its home state. While Minnesota has historically been a hub for Scandinavian immigrants, today, the area also boasts immigrant communities from around the world, including a vibrant Latino community, a rich Hmong population, and citizens from East African nations such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. It’s essential this team reflects Hennepin Avenue, downtown Minneapolis, the Twin Cities metro area and beyond.
This approach to diversity means more than a dozen different languages are spoken within the Hotel’s four walls, including Spanish, German, Arabic, Italian, French, Hmong and Japanese. Not only does this allow for efficient communication, but it provides a deeper level of connection between teammates and guests.
“When you’re able to connect with someone in their mother tongue, or even just show that you’re trying, it makes people feel special,” Nicole says.
The Value in Diverse Work Backgrounds
Building a team at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis also involves incorporating a wide range of hospitality experience, as a blend of work backgrounds provides the best experience for both guests and team members.
“We look for a mix between Four Seasons veterans from all over the world and people from the area, who understand the challenges and opportunities that come with the local market,” Ashley says. “Local knowledge is so important, and no matter how much knowledge you have on Four Seasons or hotels in general, if you don’t understand the area, you’re going to miss.”
The Minneapolis team features seasoned, long-term Four Seasons pros working alongside people who are just stepping into the hospitality realm — and every employee’s perspective matters, in every department. “I’m working with people who have worked 10 or 15 years with Four Seasons, and yet they still want to hear what I think,” says John, who is a newer addition to the company. “They’re not hung up on the Four Seasons way. They‘re interested in adapting our focus and take into account what people who haven’t worked here think.”
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that every team member knows they’re valued for who they are, from their voice to their perspective to their life experiences. “We want to make sure every single employee feels welcome and appreciated here, that they feel like they belong,” says Ashley. The result is a sense of ownership, in which individual employees are empowered to create a next-level guest experience. Just like the Golden Rule provides the foundation for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the company culture is an equally important cornerstone.
“One of our employee behaviours is ‘be you,’” says Nicole. “It sounds so simple but it says so much. We want our employees to be themselves when they come to work, and share their story and their background. It allows our employees to feel like their voice is heard, and it’s what creates that genuine experience for our guests and for each other.”