There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.
He said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
That’s especially true in the hospitality industry because so much of what we do is so intensely customer focused that a customer or client can always sense when your staff have been properly trained. By the same token, they can also sense when other members of your team aren’t performing so well. We’ve all been to venues where, over the course of a single visit, we’ve received vastly different levels of service from different people, even though the ‘company standards’ they’re adhering to are precisely the same.
It’s the untrained staff who are most likely to pull standards down for a whole variety of reasons. Not just because they haven’t been taught how to perform their jobs in the best way possible, but because their lack of training and development negatively impacts their sense of value and employee satisfaction.
The bottom line? If you want to attract and retain the best staff and have them perform as optimally and enthusiastically as possible, so they consistently deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction, you must invest in training, development, and upskilling.
Hospitality training and development is a revenue generator.
A recent US study measured the Return on Investment (ROI) generated by reservation agents who had been trained to use ‘stick words’ when taking room reservations over the telephone, i.e., using the proper greeting, gathering contact information straight away, and knowing how to use the guest’s name during the conversation to build connection.
The study concluded that agents trained in using specific stick words increased their booking rates by 2.5 times.
Another study conducted by EHL Insights in conjunction with a major hotel group demonstrated that well-trained staff increased revenues by more than 5% and guest satisfaction by 5%-7%. That’s because they are more focused on their task, confident they can perform it and are more motivated to go the extra mile to please the client.
Now let’s look at it from the employee’s point of view. According to a vast raft of research (this is just one example), training and development and career path and advancement were cited as the most critical motivators millennials use to rank the desirability of a job or employer. Investing in your team members’ training and development increases their sense of job satisfaction, makes them feel more appreciated, and encourages them to build better internal relationships… as well as making them more efficient in getting their job done.
It really is a no-brainer.
So, what kinds of training and development are the most effective?
It begins with proper orientation and making your employees committed to your brand story.
Every business has its story.
How was your business founded? What was its mission? What sets it apart from other businesses that are doing the same thing? Why is working for you so special?
When your team members fully understand and believe in your brand story, they’ll feel a genuine connection to your business and be much more likely to become committed brand ambassadors.
Offer career progression
A lot of staff leave hospitality because they feel like they’ve hit a career wall. If you can show your team progression opportunities, they’ll be far more likely to stay. That means letting them attend training courses to learn more skills and meeting them on a regular one-to-one basis to discuss their goals and put the training and development in place to achieve them.
Training won’t just keep their hospitality skills sharp; it will also make them feel valued and appreciated. As a result, they’ll be happier, more productive, and far less likely to go elsewhere.
Also, training doesn’t always have to be held off-site. There’s a growing number of hospitality training courses available online, so your staff can access them at any time, wherever they happen to be.
Of course, training courses aren’t the only way to support your employee’s development.
Arranging opportunities for your employees to meet with and/or shadow their colleagues in other areas can be a time and cost-effective way of upskilling them too. It will help them better understand what those people/teams do and give them a different viewpoint on your business and the importance of their role within it.
Encourage your team members to stay up to date with industry news. Maybe hold a weekly or fortnightly catch-up session to discuss industry developments and engage them in wider hospitality issues.
Start a mentoring system. Managers who are also coaches is a rapidly growing trend in business leadership. When a junior member of staff is mentored by a manager or more senior member of staff, it increases their understanding and skillset, builds better interpersonal relationships, and gives both ‘the student and the teacher’ a fresh perspective on how the job is done. It also gives the manager a glimpse into the junior’s mindset and positions them as an ally who wants the junior to improve instead of an unapproachable boss.
Empowering your managers to become coaches will fine-tune their abilities too. They’ll gain more insight into their team members and be better able to see how they’re performing both individually and as a group. That will improve the outcomes for everybody.
Train your staff in all the relevant technologies.
Hospitality technology is changing all the time, and some of your staff (i.e., front of house) might use one type of new technology while other staff (i.e., back of house) might use another. Everyone must understand how all the technology within your business works so that when they eventually come into contact with it, they’ll know what to do. Even if they’re unlikely to use it, it will give them a deeper appreciation of what their colleagues in other areas are using. This will reduce skill gaps, make them a more cohesive unit, and keep them prepared and up for the challenge when more new technology arrives.
When you’re a hospitality employer who invests in the training and development of your staff, it truly is a win-win situation. You’re empowering your team members to be the best they can be, increasing their sense of job satisfaction and commitment by demonstrating how much you value them, and showing prospective candidates what a supportive, forward-thinking employer you’ll be to work for. You’re also significantly reducing the risk of staff turnover, which, on its own, makes the time, money and effort you put into employee training more than worth it.
Of course, before you can train, develop and retain the very best people, you’ve got to find them! That’s where we come in. Give us a call on 020 7580 4398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and our expert advisors will help you assemble a winning team to make your business more successful than ever.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you.