Air Date

November 2, 2023

Featured Guest

Sally Schiff
Executive Vice President, Corporate, Hilton


Carolyn Cawley
President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation


Hilton was recently ranked No. 1 on the Fortune Best Workplaces for Women 2023 list, earning this accolade for the fifth consecutive year. Upholding this distinguished title is no small feat, given Hilton’s operations across 124 countries and territories and a workforce of over 460,000 employees.

Sally Schiff, vice president of internal, executive, and owner communications at Hilton, joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Business Solves 2023 event for a conversation with U.S. Chamber Foundation President Carolyn Cawley to discuss how Hilton has built and maintained a positive work environment focused on employee well-being and unity.

Hilton Uses Four Pillars to Follow Conrad Hilton’s Vision

Letting employees be themselves is crucial to creating a positive work environment — particularly in the hospitality industry, which sees upwards of 70% turnover rates. However, Hilton has generations of families employed and some individuals with tenures of 30-40 years. 

Hilton strives to develop a culture around its founder’s belief that travel is a connector and bridge for peace, Schiff says.

“There's a desire to be connected to something bigger than yourself, and we try to articulate what that means to us,” Schiff emphasized. “We are trying to create a workplace that allows someone to be their whole self, to enjoy a fully human experience at work,… through four core pillars: purpose, growth, wellness, and inclusion.”

Hilton remains true to Conrad Hilton's original vision by blending a customer-centric approach with a deep commitment to hospitality and its workforce. Through diverse wellness, lifestyle, and professional development programs, the company supports employees throughout their entire employment journey — from day one until retirement.

Creating a Positive Company Culture Starts With Executives

Fostering a sense of community across a team as large as Hilton starts from the top, according to Schiff. This workplace unity is crucial to retaining employees and establishing a culture where individuals feel heard and valued.

“When we think about… [how] we communicate with our teams, it's twofold: [we consider] ‘What do I need to know to do my job?’... and also, ‘What do we want team members to know to be reminded Why Hilton?’” Schiff said. “Especially in the current labor market, they could [work] anywhere.”

That’s why Hilton’s CEO has become a regular fixture in employees’ inboxes — sharing biweekly messages about his experiences touring different sites, stories of employees he has met along the way, and other messages to uplift team members. It’s through these conversations that employees and executives have bridged the gap and built a strong connection.

“We do a lot of storytelling and best practice sharing in these … intentionally redundant … methods, so we're always pressing the message,” Schiff said.