Travel and tourism are one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors, with bookings hitting close to $1.6 trillion in 2017. The hospitality industry occupies a significant part of this growth and continues a run of strong performance. It is projected to sustain a strong 5-6% growth throughout 2018.
To aid in this growth, the hospitality industry will have to rely on a well trained and confident staff that is passionate about offering the best in class customer service. However, this industry is also plagued with one of the highest turnover rates. According to the National Restaurant Association, employee turnover in the hospitality industry hit an incredible 72.9% in 2016. Seasonality, skill shortage, food safety and changes in compliance legislation are other areas that plague the industry. The competitive advantage clearly lies in the service that hotels offer to their customers. And a lot of this has to do with the way the staff at hotels interact with them.
It is known that every hotel abides by Standard Operating Procedures. These are a set of written instructions that document a routine or set of activities to be strictly followed by hotel staff. These guidelines help maintain the quality and consistency of service and standards in hotels. Due to the competitive and quick-paced nature of the hospitality industry, these tried and tested SOP’s cannot be compromised upon. Everything from how to arrange bed sheets in guest rooms to maintaining food safety has its own procedure that needs to be religiously abided by in order to achieve the highest level of standards.
The amount of information in these SOP’s is huge and can get complicated to understand. The technicalities can also make staff not be able to remember it at the time of need. Faltering in achieving these high standards on part of the staff can hurt the reputation of hotels and could also mean a sizeable loss of revenue. But at the same time, expecting the staff to remember everything through one training event in a year does not really work well.
So how do hotels ensure that their staff is well trained about the various SOP’s without tiring them out or compromising on their engagement? Organizing training events annually or bi-annually is clearly not the answer anymore. Not only is the cost of such training huge, it also does not achieve the goals of creating a skilled workforce.
There is a better way of doing this and ensuring that each and every staff member has access to quality training. Every kind of training ranging from soft skills, offering a great customer service, manual handling, food safety or leadership and managerial skills can be delivered through microlearning. Instead of presenting the workforce with heavy manuals, information on key aspects can be delivered in bite-sized modules. These courses can be consumed at the time of convenience for the employees, are available 24*7. Quick “bursts” of information can be delivered to employees to create awareness about processes, train employees by using real-life situations as examples and providing just-in-time (JLT) support when needed.
Even a small amount of training makes a significant difference. Hospitality businesses that spent 5% or more of their budget on training in 2015 experienced 23% less staff turnover.
Rapl offers this service in the hospitality industry with the help of scenarios that enable staff to understand the SOP’s on the shop floor. With microlearning as the tool, training is delivered in the form of scenarios that depict different kinds of preventive measures that can be taken to avoid mishaps. The same kind of scenarios use practical situations that the staff can relate to, customers they have interacted with and instances they have been familiar with in the experience.
Scenario-based learning can also be used to take an employee through the various standard operating procedures that need to be followed. These are presented in small doses, and not in one single go. The cognitive load is hence less, and knowledge becomes more retainable. For example, the step by step process of folding the sheets can be explained through a series of images involving characters and dialogue. It can also be in the form of an engaging video that describes real people, locations, and situations that the learner can personally relate to. Such scenario based experiences help the staff to connect more with the learning content. Scenarios can also be used to boost engagement and motivation levels among the staff by telling them the importance of the training even before it begins.
As per a study by IBM, for every dollar you invest in online training, you get back $30 in productivity. This is because employees can resume their work faster and apply their skills immediately. The delivery of effective training with the use of microlearning can help the hospitality industry train its workforce and keep them ahead of processes and techniques. If hotels can ensure that they deliver quality training in engaging ways, the workforce will participate. This will help prevent the occurrence of bad service, financial losses and tarnished reputation of brands.