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April 19, 2024

How To Become The Best Place To Work In The World

In this Sales Leadership Awakening podcast, Gerilyn Horan, Hilton’s VP of Group Sales, shares insights on creating a supportive environment and the importance of feedback, coaching, and company culture for employee engagement and retention. They also touch on Hilton’s top global workplace ranking and successful coaching programs for high employee retention and satisfaction.

“I think the general piece is just to give them a place of safety to talk about whatever they want. Listen to what they have to say, be transparent in your thinking and communication with them, and hopefully provide some guidance or direction.” – Gerilyn Horan

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating a safe and supportive environment for team members is crucial for their motivation and growth.
  • Regular one-on-one coaching calls with team members help foster a coaching culture and provide guidance and support.
  • Scrimmaging, rather than role-playing, before important meetings or presentations can improve performance and ensure team members’ alignment.
  • Hilton’s focus on employee engagement and growth makes it the number one great place to work globally.
  • A strong bench and succession plan is essential for maintaining continuity and filling gaps when team members leave.
The interactive podbook below contains videos, audio, articles, summaries, transcripts, and YouTube shorts from this podcast episode.

Full Episode Article:

Title: “How To Become The Best Place To Work In The World”

Byline: By sales leadership and coaching experts Colleen Stanley and Steven Rosen with their guest speaker Gerilyn Horan, VP of Group Sales and Strategic Accounts for Hilton


In a recent episode of the Sales Leadership Awakening podcast, Gerilyn Horan, Vice President of Group Sales and Strategic Accounts for Hilton, shared insights into the company’s commitment to creating a coaching culture and fostering strong employee connections. With over 30 years of experience in sales leadership, Gerilyn highlighted the importance of leadership styles prioritizing inclusivity, motivation, and support over intimidation and fear.

Fostering a Coaching Culture

Gerilyn recalled her early experiences with a boss who used intimidation as a management tactic, which she found demotivating and ineffective. However, her subsequent boss, who was inclusive, motivating, and supportive, inspired her to become a leader who could create a positive and empowering work environment. This awakening moment shaped her leadership style and set the foundation for Hilton’s coaching culture.

Creating a Safe Space for Feedback

One critical element of Gerilyn’s coaching culture is creating a safe space for feedback. She emphasized the importance of providing team members with a place where they feel comfortable discussing their challenges, receiving transparent communication, and receiving guidance and direction. Rather than simply providing answers, Gerilyn believes in asking questions that help team members arrive at their solutions and feel confident in their abilities.

Her organization has implemented several programs and practices to ensure feedback is received positively and constructively. Leaders and their team members participate in regular one-on-one coaching calls, providing a dedicated space for open, honest conversations. The organization’s career development plans also outline improvement and growth opportunities for each team member, fostering a culture of continuous learning and development.

Scrimmaging for Success

One unique aspect of her organization’s coaching culture is the concept of “scrimmaging” instead of traditional role-playing. Gerilyn explained that “scrimmaging” reframes practicing and preparing for important meetings or presentations. As athletes scrimmage before a game to refine their skills and strategies, she believes sales teams should do the same before essential client meetings.

By conducting pre-meeting scrimmages, team members can align their objectives, discuss potential challenges, and refine their approach. This practice ensures that team members are well-prepared and confident, leading to more successful client interactions. The emphasis on scrimmaging also creates a supportive and collaborative environment, where team members can provide feedback and suggestions to help each other improve.

The Impact of an Organization’s Coaching Culture

Her organization’s commitment to creating a coaching culture and fostering strong employee connections has not gone unnoticed. The company has been recognized as the number one great place to work globally, a remarkable achievement considering its size and diverse workforce. This recognition is a testament to the organization’s leadership’s dedication to employee engagement, growth, and well-being.

The impact of the organization’s coaching culture can be seen in various aspects. The company’s engagement scores consistently show that employees feel valued, supported, and motivated. Retention rates are also impressive, with employees staying with the company for extended periods, eager to grow and contribute to its success.

Its coaching culture has also created a strong sense of purpose and connection among employees. By regularly sharing customer impact stories and emphasizing the company’s purpose of spreading the light and warmth of hospitality, team members feel connected to their work and their positive impact on guests’ experiences.


The success of Hilton as a leading workplace globally underscores the importance of fostering a coaching culture and nurturing strong bonds with employees. Through prioritizing employee engagement, growth, and well-being, the organization has cultivated a dedicated and motivated workforce committed to delivering outstanding experiences to guests.

The company’s dedication to regular coaching sessions, stretch assignments, and opportunities for employees to explore different facets of the business ensures they are equipped with the necessary tools and support for success. By fostering a safe and supportive environment for feedback and development, other organizations can empower their team members to grow and contribute to their overall success.

In today’s competitive landscape, where employee engagement and retention are paramount, Hilton’s coaching culture stands out as an exemplary model of how investing in people can yield exceptional outcomes. As organizations strive to foster positive and empowering work environments, they can draw inspiration from Hilton’s practices and principles, utilizing them to establish a culture of coaching and connectivity.

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