In today’s hospitality industry, we’re seeing a rapid transformation in the way businesses such as hotels, restaurants and cafes are being run. Economic factors, multi-generational workforces and technology, like an LMS platform, all have their part to play, and to stay ahead in a competitive market, managers, and owner-operators need to ensure that their employees continually build on their skills to deliver excellent customer experiences.
There has been much research conducted over the last few years as to the results of ongoing workplace learning, but in a nutshell, one of the chief findings seems to be that an informed employee is an engaged, happy employee. And what do happy employees generally do? They tend to stay with your company for the long term, and overall, perform far better at work than folks with high levels of dissatisfaction.
Elearning For Engagement
Employee retention is an important consideration for all businesses, but perhaps even more so for hospitality operators. Staff shortages, particularly a shortage of skilled employees, has always been a concern for the hospitality industry and perhaps in light of Brexit, British businesses may soon find it harder to find and retain workers. Staff turnover can quite high in the hospitality sector anyway – across the board it’s a demanding industry across the board that requires staff to balance complex interpersonal skills with specific tasks and perhaps work hours that are outside the usual nine to five.
Retaining your staff is perhaps at the core of a successful hospitality business, and so adopting a strategy to keep them adequately trained and engaged should be at the top of your to-do list. Opportunities for continual skill acquisition should be abundant and attractive, and one of the best ways to do this is to implement easily accessible training schemes for employee development. An LMS or some form of elearning software is a fantastic tool to deliver training to employees of all abilities and tenure at frequent intervals. When it comes to recruiting talent, offering elearning programs to candidates will demonstrate that you care about their career progression, but when you’re looking to retain your workers, there are a wide range of benefits to an LMS for your workplace.
Skill-Building and Communication
First off, online training software is great method of communication. Communicating your brand, or your company values to your staff is vital if you want everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and your customer’s experiences to be consistent. From your barista to your head chef, your housekeepers to your customer service manager – everyone involved in your business will need clarity and information concerning what you expect from them and what your company goals are. With clarity, comes understanding and engagement. And remember, engaged employees are more likely to stick with you! Regular elearning modules reinforce your employees confidence in their jobs, helps them deploy their best attributes for the benefit of the company and if structured correctly, can give them opportunities to give you feedback – meaning you’ll be learning how best to do things too. Online training software is a million miles away from the old-skool method of a boring lecture about how you’d like things done; it’s more of a constant support tool that offers staff new ways to do their jobs well, progress in their careers, and if you build in rewards and certification, it also shows them that you’re actively interested in their goals and future plans.
Keeping Everyone On Board
Online hospitality training is not just a tool to refresh skill sets or teach new ones as procedures shift, its also a way to steer your workforce away from habits that can lead to resignations. For example, you may have a couple of new employees that have found a way to dodge responsibilities because they’re unsure of how those tasks are properly done but aren’t confident enough to speak up. They might be afraid you’ll let them go, but then this kind of situation leaves more seasoned team members to carry the workload. Eventually, those more experienced workers might become dissatisfied with having too much on their plate all the time and hand in their notice. This is a lose-lose scenario since you fail to retain your skilled employees, and your task-dodgers then have no-one to learn from. It’s also possible that after a time they’ll become demotivated and move on too. However, by delivering online learning modules via an LMS, that cover all aspects of a role on a regular basis, you can nip this kind of behaviour in the bud.
With elearning, you can support a new employee and build their skills and confidence without burdening your experienced staff. The same also goes for online training that covers workplace interactions. Clear training that covers the required standard of interpersonal behaviours can go a long way to preventing a toxic work culture, which is vital if you want to retain your employees. Ultimately, what we’re getting at here is a good learning management system can be tailored to deliver what you and your hospitality staff need, can be adapted to each staff member, altered according to your business goals and can be accessed at very regular intervals by everyone.
Customise Learning Experiences
Next, lets talk about independence. One of the key ways successful hospitality operations retain their staff is by cultivating a sense of autonomy within their workforce and encourage them to develop their careers at their own pace. Elearning software is incredibly well-suited to aid this since it’s designed to introduce skills on a regular drip feed. The delivery method of a hospitality LMS is one-on-one, paced as quickly or as slowly as a staff member might need and can offer rewards upon the completion of levels or modules. Research shows that employees largely prefer to learn at work rather than in their own time, and the bite-size nature of online training means you can afford to offer your people that. A new skill taught over a few five minute courses on a mobile phone can be an attractive option, and incrementally, your employees will see the real-world benefits of adding these virtual feathers to their caps.
Many elearning software companies offer training features that incorporate social media, vlogs, and game-like apps that encourage staff to independently upskill, and with user-directed learning experiences comes increased engagement with the company and increased productivity, which is great for the employer, but also lessens the likelihood of that employee moving on. With online training, you can truly appeal to individual learning preferences and monitor how their investment in their career is going. The upshot of such an LMS feature is that when it comes to promotion time, you’ll have a clear picture of which employees are upwardly mobile, and which employees might need another approach to support them with their learning and development. Ideally, with the help of online learning software, you can retain a wide variety of staff members – because as every manager knows, a diverse workforce is a healthy, happy one.
Engage Your Remote Workers
As the hospitality industry responds to reflect changes in the wider world, you might find that more of your employees are working remotely. Your bookings executive might attend to their duties from home a few days a week, or your housekeeping staff may be working across a number of different locations. Perhaps your marketing manager needs to travel frequently to stay abreast of industry innovations. These situations may be ideal for your business model or better suit the domestic arrangements of valued employees, but remote work isn’t always the best scenario for a culture of learning, engagement and employee retention. Your hospitality business thrives on flexibility, rather than fracturing, and a worker adrift from the rest of their colleagues when it comes to location can lead to all sorts of problems. In this case, your LMS could not only help job flexibility extend to your learning culture, but actually work as a tool to keep remote employees, or employees that need to be out of the workplace regularly, on board with company values and the demands of their roles.
Through a technology-based staff training strategy, the geography becomes less of an issue and out of sight is less likely to become out of mind. Online training means the line of communication between staff and their supervisors is open and ‘checking in’ to online hospitality courses on an LMS regularly not only brushes up skills, but also extends and strengthens personal growth in what could potentially be an isolated role. Feeling connected to company culture is a major factor in the longevity of staff tenure – with mobile elearning you can ensure that every staff member experiences it. Online training can incorporate several ways to keep remote workers on board. Whether you introduce video-linked gamified elements, or leaderboards to encourage a little healthy competition between workplace friends and colleagues, staff training software is customisable to provide support and encouragement from afar. You’ll likely find that it also helps you or your management team keep track of achievements, and predict where a little extra training wouldn’t go amiss.
In the end, elearning software offers a learning experience for everyone using it – both those progressing through online courses, and those looking at the results to see where the business can do better. The hospitality game is a team game, and to get it right – to coach your players to be the best they can be and then retain them, requires a focal point. A well-chosen LMS can be this and more, offering your staff a common goal, a well of information, a conduit for communication and waypoints as they develop successful careers with you – hopefully for the long-term!