When I met Maria Caruana, HR Administration Manager at Corinthia Hotels, I was pleasantly surprised with her young age, sprightly character and sense of humour. It is evident that she has a warm way of speaking to people, so I was not surprised when she said to me: “The best part of my job is definitely the people. I love welcoming new colleagues, helping them with their HR needs, and feeling like part of one big family. It’s that sense of togetherness that makes work enjoyable.”
I immediately noticed her emphasis on a family feeling, which she wanted to create also at work. Well in tune with the concept of the Corinthia family!
“I have a wonderful family at home. Why should I not repeat the good vibes at work?”
The obvious next question was about her family. “I treasure my family. I am married to my best friend. Eric is not just my husband but, most of all, my close companion in a fascinating life adventure. He works as CFO in an established company, so he has a hectic schedule, but we still do our best to share quality time with our energetic five-year-old daughter, Michela, who is literally our treasure. She brightens us both, even after a hard day’s work.
“Eric is passionate about cars and bikes, so he lets off steam while reading or collecting. When I’m off the clock, you can find me experimenting with cooking, though some of my cake experiments have proved to be quite a flop.
“But I also love exploring new places and sometimes try to squeeze in a bit of relaxation and yoga, though I must admit, yoga can be quite challenging for me.”
So how was it at work? What are her primary duties as HR Administration Manager at Corinthia Hotels (CHL)? “My day-to-day work involves handling the behind-the-scenes HR tasks. I manage the recruitment process, from posting job ads and setting up interviews to taking care of onboarding and exits. It’s also my job to collate offer letters and contracts for our CHL team and keep their records in order. I stay busy updating our HR databases and helping with payroll by gathering the necessary data and preparing HR-related reports. The common factor in all my tasks is the strictest confidentiality.
“I work closely with the PA to the CEO and the Administration Director. I assist the Chief People and Culture Officer with his travel arrangements and assist him with HR initiatives like handling the logistics of organising workshops for the Corinthia Hotels HR family and managing the logistics of the Gallup employee survey across our hotels.”
So, what is the difference between an HR Manager and an HR Administration Manager? “HR Managers tackle a broader spectrum of HR responsibilities such as HR strategy, employee relations, and talent development. They shape HR policies. On the other hand, my role as an HR Administration Manager is more about the nitty-gritty administrative and operational HR tasks. I’m the one making sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.”
Did Maria have similar jobs before joining Corinthia? “I was always attracted to the world of Hospitality and completed a cousrse at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) in Malta. I worked in Ireland for nearly five years in a family-owned boutique hotel in Galway and also served for a short while in a small hotel in Malta and later carried out F&B and administration tasks with a local established hotel.
“Then, some 11 years ago, I joined Corinthia, and it’s been like joining a big, warm, welcoming family. I started as an HR Administrator, handling various administrative HR tasks. Over the years, I worked my way up to HR Executive, and eventually, I was chosen for my current role as HR Administration Manager.”
With all the caring and service, would Maria ever feel edgy? Maria smiled gracefully. “I am a calm and patient person who loves being around family, friends, and colleagues. Being a good listener is one of my strong suits, and I never lose my cool whenever anyone needs my service, even if, at times, it may be demanding. I always remember that a small gesture of assistance could prove important for the other person on the receiving end. So I give my heart in all I do, however minimal.”
Maria’s words were patently sincere. She is a fine example of a Corinthian who is always ready to offer a helping hand to uplift the lives of others.