STAY Jul/Aug 2022

STAY Magazine is an independently owned trade publication created to share stories, data and pointed trends within Canada's hotel and accommodations industry.

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I t will be hard to navigate the case for Social Design without sounding esoteric. Stick with me though. We can make it land together. Not much more than uttering "labour crisis" is needed to paint a vivid picture of the present state of Canada's hospitality and tourism industry in 2022—but it's a term we've already taken for granted. We have a crisis before us. That much is certainly true. But is it really about labour? Or could labour itself be the actual symptom of a much more "wicked problem?" And why does that matter? A wicked problem is defined as a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for reasons including incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems. This is what we are experiencing with our labour problem. Therefore, if we want to move beyond this present crisis and get back to building a sustainable future for our businesses—economic, environmental and socioeconomic—we need to start by developing a sustainable workforce. One thing our industry seems to agree on is that the people of hospitality are at the centre of our business model. They must be central to the solution. There is a fundamental question I have posed in my previous STAY Magazine articles. And it bears repeating here. How often do we as leaders think about how we think? What model do we use to solve problems? Do we use an intentional model? Or do we just repeat what has been programmed into us since our Solving the Problem. With Labour. By Joe Baker SOCIAL DESIGN Human Resources school days or since we were trained by past generations of leaders? I think we are engaged in clouded thinking while trying to solve the very real labour problem because we continue to be told that it is the problem, and we are the solution. THE REAL SOCIAL DILEMMA At one point, I too believed this was a matter of supply and demand. I believed we simply did not have enough talent across this country with the skills and experience needed to serve our industry adequately. This is the conventional thinking that led me to identify the labour problem. But rerouting, I recognize this is a limited way of thinking. It's binary. It's economical. It's not people-centric. Even now, our federal and provincial governments seem to be buying into this myopia. Immigration targets are now set at well over 400,000 new Canadians each year with informal remarks by some hinting that the number will soon reach 22 | | July August 2022

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