Of all the magical things a company could need, it’s probably safe to say that a crystal ball to see into the future would be pretty high up the list. Just imagine. Think of all the scenarios you could prepare for, the response plans you could have prepped and pending, and the smart moves you could deploy ahead of the curve. Well, while actual clairvoyance is out of the question, and given the fact we’re now collectively on a mission to flatten Covid-19’s curve, it’s time to start doing the next best, and far more achievable thing. And that’s to learn from your recent experiences an LMS strategy to ensure any disruption you’ve experienced over the last few months won’t derail your business again in the future.
You’ll likely already have a bunch of tools to hand to do this; the expertise of staff members, a newfound awareness of any weak points in your company structure, and perhaps even a vocal customer base too. Another tool you should have on hand to prepare for future crises is a Learning Management System or LMS. That, and a good sense of how you can leverage it to help you when the world goes pear-shaped.
So, let’s explore a few ways that learning software can prevent things like sudden remote working or rapidly changing regulations from severely denting your operation’s effectiveness.
Online Access To Knowledge
The Covid-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the intensely social and connected hospitality industry into a no-contact one. It’s rough because those excellent customer service experiences that you were once able to deliver one-to-one are affected by distanced interactions and new legislation intended to keep everybody safe. With customers now coming to you in smaller numbers and many of your staff attempting to do their jobs remotely, knowledge – specifically shared knowledge – is king. This has actually always been the case, but some businesses are now unfortunately caught on the hop. If this sounds familiar to you, now’s the time to remedy this!
So how can a LMS help? Well, your online training software isn’t merely designed to teach employees how best to do their jobs through e-learning courses. It’s also a database that can be endlessly customised to store, organise and disseminate every single scrap of data your operation generates if you so wish. You may be ordinarily using your LMS to build modules, mini-courses and dynamic content like video lessons, but you should also be creating things like reference libraries, collecting employee performance/feedback data and developing goals and mission statements for each area of your business.
A well-organised and comprehensive online repository for every element of your hospitality operation – from your health and safety certifications down to your award-winning salsa recipe – should be a priority now more than ever. If your staff are looking for guidance, instruction or correct procedure in these difficult times (perhaps staff shifts now need to have fewer individuals on duty which might exacerbate problems) then a one-stop-shop accessible 24/7 will be invaluable. If you haven’t already done this, getting your company’s knowledge all online and up to date should be a priority now. Not only to help everyone through these challenging times but to be ready for anything similar which may be headed our way in the future. If you utilise the full functionality of your LMS and then keep it up going forward, you’re less likely to be struck down by any curveballs the modern world seems to be serving up these days.
Keep Things Streamlined
Another way your e-learning software can help you prepare for the future has to do with its reporting function. Most excellent learning management systems will have substantial data collection and reporting as standard. If yours doesn’t, you should think about switching! However, you’ve been using a robust LMS for a little while you’ll have generated a decent amount of data across the board. Using this, you should be able to identify any problem areas in your company quickly. Over-complicated systems are often an unnecessary hurdle, so examine whether your business is potentially vulnerable anywhere thanks to clunky processes – and then streamline where you can.
By simplifying your methods to have fewer moving parts, you’ll be ensuring your hospitality operation is as agile and as future-proof as it can be. You might be able to see this from overall staff performance in particular learning modules, for example. Is there anything that everyone is struggling with? Even your best and most experienced employees? Is that task, or set of functions essential? If you can get rid, do so, or rethink how these stumbling blocks could be improved because you can bet that when normality is upended, folks are definitely going to struggle.
Autonomy For Staff Members
One of the significant disruptors that have emerged for companies as this current pandemic has tightened its grip is the thorny issue of remote working. Sometimes it’s not viable (baristas or chefs, for example) and sometimes it can work; administrative staff, in-house accountants and booking executives for instance. Traditionally though, remote working hasn’t been popular, particularly among managers or business owners as they usually prefer to keep a close eye on their staff and staff performance.
Covid-19 has forced everybody’s hand in recent weeks, and now employees who wouldn’t usually be working from home are having to do so. You might be finding some are doing just fine, but some might be missing the support of their colleagues and floundering. However, it seems that for the foreseeable future, remote working is here to stay. Governments and health agencies are continuing to issue warnings of fresh outbreaks or a second wave of infections, and so we all need to get to grips with socially distant teams in the longer term. Your LMS is a great unifying thing to utilise here, bringing everyone a bit closer through video learning, check-ins to group modules and so on. Still, even as restrictions ease, it’s going to be a smart move to try and permanently build in remote working for some individuals or teams.
This could be just a day or two a week, and online learning software can genuinely help your employees learn how to do this effectively. A company that trains and retains a workforce capable of getting the job done remotely (where they can) and capable of using their initiative will be ahead of the competition should disruptive events occur in the future. Ultimately, your systems won’t keel over, your productivity won’t falter, and your employees will already be happy and comfortable with self-organising their time. And e-learning software is a keystone in this process.
Connect With Clients
There’s no such thing as a business without clients, and when unexpected or trying times interrupt ordinary life, it’s more critical than ever to connect with the customers you serve. It’s amazing how ingrained routines, where large numbers of people interact with a business, or several companies daily can quickly shift, to be replaced with habits that don’t interact with those companies at all. Customers who often popped into your coffee shop for an Americano and a slice of cake may no longer be stopping by, but they still might be craving that kick-ass carrot cake your cafe is famous for. Now is the time to reach out and connect with these clients. Entice them to place an order, and deliver them their carrot cake fix at home. This might sound like a no-brainer, but to work this kind of service into your future business plan is also essential to survive. Right now, you may have managed to scramble a contactless, sanitised delivery service together at short notice (and well done you!), but it likely caused a few headaches and long days for staff in its setup.
If you look to your LMS, you’ll find it can help you here too. Don’t cast aside the hard work you’ve put in to adapt to this pandemic – build it into your Learning Management System. Even as the world slowly emerges from the Covid-19 situation, develop and retain training modules for the appropriate health and safety procedures for food handling. Create e-learning courses for delivery staff. Build information libraries detailing the steps you need to take to get delivery up and running at the drop of a hat and attach relevant courses for individuals to follow, appropriate to the different roles required.
Additionally, the existing data contained on your LMS might reveal the most common needs your customers are expressing. Canvas the staff who have been dealing with customers face to face as to customer requests, but do it through surveys via online training software so you can accurately evaluate the information through reporting functions. To stay with the cafe scenario; are your staff saying they’re always out of carrot cake by 11 am or are they endlessly building takeout salads for dinnertime sides? React to that information, and it’ll serve you well.
Technology is one of the very best mediums with which to connect to your clients right now. For the hospitality industry, your walk-ins are now primarily Instagram, Tik-Tok or Facebook browsers who see your restaurant or cafe storefront and produce online. Listen to their feedback and suggestions, encourage them to order with you and not the other guy with the better photography or a real-time delivery tracking app. In the same vein, staying up to date with learning software for your staff, or management systems for your operation’s information storage and analysis is incredibly vital now, and looking ahead. Don’t get left behind when it comes to being online because if you think it’s important now, then just wait and see how critical it’s going to be as we come out the other side of this pandemic.
Choose your LMS wisely, use it to it’s fullest potential across the whole of your business and take your software provider up on relevant upgrades and add-ons that will keep you ahead of the game. Right now, the best thing you can do for your hospitality business is to not only adapt to the changes forced on you by this unprecedented situation but also to keep hold of the systems and responses that are working. In this way, we’re sure you’ll be fighting fit to tackle the rest of the year in lieu of that crystal ball.