Training and development challenges in hospitality industry and how they can be solved through eLearning

The hospitality industry faces a lot of challenges when it comes to finding and retaining good and experienced staff members. Due to its seasonal character and high turnover rate, a lot of new hires are either young or inexperienced. Educating them, therefore, is of the utmost importance, especially when safeguarding the reputation of the hotel or restaurant.

Why is it so crucial to educate employees?

Your employees talk to customers, work on reception or greet patrons for the first time. They may be servers who bring your customers coffee with a milk-foam heart drawn on it. They may be cleaning their rooms or leaving towels nicely folded in the bathroom. Whatever position or function your employees may have, they’re the ones talking with the patrons, representing the hotel or restaurant. Your employees are the ones that guests identify the business with. If they are pleasant, cheerful, educated, and communicate well, the guests will have a great experience and come back for more.

However, there are a number of challenges that threaten this crucial relationship:

1. Seasonal need for hiring personnel
2. High staff turnover
3. Complexity and constant change of compliance legislation

We’ll dig into these a little later.

The need for effective staff training has never been more apparent. And this is where eLearning can play a key role in your development programs.

eLearning can help you to answer a number of important questions, including:

  • How can you train every single member of your staff equally well so that your customers can be satisfied with the way they are treated?
  • How can you train them at the crucial time and in the most convenient location?
  • How do you ensure that each and every one of your customers experiences the same great standard of service?

With eLearning, you ensure that the knowledge sharing is consistent and that there will be almost zero chance of that information being forgotten or misunderstood. And this is especially important in multinational hospitality companies that need to transfer the same corporate culture, ideas, and visions to every country, to every branch, to every hotel.

Training strategy needs to be developed for the new hires,
but also the current employees and at all locations, because only education and continuous training can set apart a regular business from the extraordinary one.

KEY ISSUES: The need to hire seasonal personnel

This is, by far, the main reason why it is so hard to find and retain good, experienced employees. The seasonal character of the work can provide greater flexibility for the employees. However, in another way it cannot be considered stable employment. This seasonal, touristic character of employment means that employees need to work overtime, during the night and weekends, and for some employees, this can be burdensome. This leads to a number of issues that are typical in the industry.

One such issue is the recruiting of staff who are either young or inexperienced. This type of demographic can be costly for a company as the need for investment in staff training is much greater.

Also, younger employees increasingly expect that employers will invest in their education and see this as a benefit for working for reputable, stable companies. This provision is also evidence of a good culture within an organization, which is important to younger employees. These less experienced staffs are far more prone to switching jobs if they are unhappy, which is why it is important to think about the extra benefits to keep them.

Historically, hospitality companies trained their employees inFace to face (F2F) workshops on the main premises, or at the Head Office. But that proved to be inefficient because people joined the organisation at different times. This meant that new employees would often have to wait for weeks before they made up a group large enough for education to take place. Unskilled staff would then work for several days or weeks, leading to higher levels of reputational risk due to mistakes that could be made in customer-facing roles.

This is where eLearning proves its efficiency – everybody can undertake the training at the very beginning of their roles. There’s no longer the need to have to wait for enough people to join. Also, since eLearning can be completed via mobile devices, people are able to do so at a time and place of their choosing.

High staff turnover

This is the challenge that goes hand in hand with the seasonal character of the roles, which have notoriously high staff-turnover. This leads to a need to have to educate new employees over and over again as roles are vacated and filled.

Once again, eLearning proves to be the most efficient method of training, because once a course is created, it can be utilised by an unlimited number of employees. F2F education, in contrast,requires constant repetition of the same training modules, whichis highly inefficient and drains company resources.

The complexity and constant change of compliance legislation

In the hospitality industry, compliance legislation is extremely important and can be highly complex. Since hospitality means providing people with accommodation as well as food and drink, there is a deep level of underlying complex legislation that needs to be adhered to. For example, health & safety courses, as well as many others, need to be taken into consideration if you want to have a lawful business and not risk potential prosecution. Here, the traditional way of teaching has proven to be inadequate. For example, a record needs to be kept to ensure each employee has completed the course. In addition, an appropriate assessment needs to be completed to confirm that the value of the training is realized. Even though there are ways to do this in F2F workshops, it’s far better to do it via a suitable eLearning platform, which has accurate and detailed attendance information and can provide necessary certificates and accreditations. This method is far easier to administer and is much more transparent.

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