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Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Importance of Investing in Hospitality Training



Businesses in the hospitality industry are designed to serve people whether it is food, drink, accommodation or a combination of these. Therefore the importance of high quality employee training and development should never be underestimated. Employees in every area of hospitality from kitchen staff to senior managers have an impact on customer experience and without the correct training, customer service can suffer which ultimately impacts organisational success. Although training can be expensive, the benefits often far outweigh the costs.

Training that brings the best results will be carefully targeted to focus on the most important business areas. Hotels should be constantly striving to improve, whether it is greater efficiency in housekeeping or improved service delivery in the hotel restaurant. If for example you have noticed a rise in complaints from guests about the quality of service in a restaurant or guests have commented that they have to wait too long for their orders to be processed, training efforts should focus on these areas. HR should be actively involved in training and be willing to conduct a needs assessment to determine which areas need improvement. With training one size doesn’t fit all. It will need to be tailored to the requirements of staff and the demands of the business. Once you have rolled out a training strategy, you will know when it is working because complaints will begin to decrease and positive reviews and comments increase.

Training and development should focus on multiple areas including:

New Starters

Once a new employee joins a hotel, training should begin as soon as possible after their start date and ideally, cover much more detail than simply standard operating procedures and hotel policy. Training should look at the specifics of their role. For example housekeeping staff should be educated on company policy in relation to how the standards of each room, while baristas should receive tailored training on serving coffee, food hygiene and customer service.

Adequate training from the outset will set employees on the right path, teaching them good practice rather than employees starting work with their own ideas of how things should be done and even bringing with them bad habits because of incorrect working practices. Furthermore, well trained employees are more motivated towards their work and they are eager to exceed expectations. When it comes to new staff, they learn from existing employees, so standards will be established early on. Training and development is an ongoing process and shouldn’t stop once the induction period is over. 

Customer Satisfaction

In the hotel industry, guests are everything. If you don’t have guests then your business cannot thrive and employees are integral to customer satisfaction. Developing your staff is essential to maintain consistently high standards. Once you have established your reputation for delivering an exceptional guest experience, managers should work with HR departments to identify top performers and encourage them to undertake advanced training so they can continue to develop their skills. Investing in training for existing staff can bring about greater consistency within the hotel and also enhance the skills of the future workforce.

Competition

Delivering ongoing training to staff will allow hotels to remain competitive. Hospitality is an industry that is fast paced and constantly evolving so hotels need to constantly adapt to changing customer demands. The best way to maintain a competitive advantage is through your employees ability to perform day to day tasks to a very high standard. Everything should be exemplary from ensuring that front of house staff respond to guests promptly through to maintaining high standards within the housekeeping department. Frequently revising the basics is important particularly in relation to customer service such as how to deal with customers in positive and challenging situations and ensure that guests enjoy their stay and leave with the intention of returning.

Although the hospitality sector is seen as an industry that favours on the job experience and this is true to a certain extent, employees will always benefit from formal training tailored to their specific role. Staff performance is one of the main contributing factors to customer experience.

Advantages of Staff Training

Training in the hotel industry is important for a number of reasons:

        Improved customer service and fewer complaints
        Businesses will have well trained staff who can competently carry out their work and respond to a variety of situations
        Teams will work more cohesively and everyone will have a clearly defined role
        Employees who are provided with training opportunities will be more motivated and committed to the business
        Hotels can maintain their competitive advantage

Organisations within the hospitality industry often have a high level of staff turnover which means that HR departments are always busy looking for new staff. The process of recruitment can incur considerable costs due to advertising, resources which need to be invested into the interview process not to mention the costs associated with new staff training. All of these can take their toll on any business. There are many reasons why staff turnover is high in hospitality and employees decide to leave. Sometimes it is because of low job satisfaction while at other times it may be because of poor training opportunities. Employers have to work hard to maintain high levels of job satisfaction. This is achieved by providing staff with a supportive and positive working environment while equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in their work. Motivated staff are more likely to stay with a business for longer and deliver higher standards of service. 

Approach to Training

HR departments and managers should take a proactive approach to staff training. It is an important part of the business and one that is worth the investment. Organise meetings between staff and management to develop in house training packages and work with staff to identify underperforming departments or procedures so training can be developed around these areas. HR departments could also consider establishing a partnership with third party training providers who can offer a range of courses to introduce a range of new skills into the business. Work with managers can also identify exceptional staff and create training that will bring all staff up to this level. Investing in training is important and effective training requires a collaborative approach between the HR department and managers to ensure that staff are motivated and they are consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations.




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