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3 Tips On How to Train Hospitality Employees

Workers who are knowledgeable are usually more confident, engaged, and productive, which leads to better customer experiences and higher sales. Customer-facing employees must stay up to date on a myriad of information, from current offerings, products, and services to technology and market trends. Providing training for employees who work in an office environment requires some logistics, but it’s nothing like what’s required to deliver training for employees in the hospitality industry. Taking an employee “off the floor” requires time and labor hours that hit the bottom line, but neglecting to train employees is not an option either.

For those of you who regularly face this challenge, we have a few suggestions for how to provide on-the-job training that allows employees to learn new skills while they are working.

Implement a train-the-trainer approach.

Earlier this year, a large restaurant chain shut down operations for four hours to re-train employees on important food safety topics. In this case, that was the only option. But it’s a costly option.

Rather than shutting down operations, or requiring hospitality employees to travel to an in-person workshop or complete an online course via computer, look for ways to train local trainers within the existing organization. By training shift supervisors or peer coaches in the content that you want employees to learn and providing them with on-the-job tools they can use for instruction, these internal resources can provide hands-on learning experiences without losing any valuable labor hours from your employees. (It’s also an excellent way to use the skills of top-performing employees who may be looking for opportunities to mentor other workers!)

Utilize job aides.

Consistency is critical when it comes to the hospitality industry—customers expect the same service, same selection, and same product regardless of the location. Think about the last time you left an unfamiliar coffee shop disappointed because your drink wasn’t made in the exact same way your usual location makes it. It’s the same for any hospitality provider—your customers have an expectation regarding the way things should be done.

Whether you have multiple locations, or just one, your customers expect a consistent experience, which can be difficult to maintain with multiple employees working in a fast-paced environment. That’s where training can help. Look at your operational procedures and see if there are ways to compress the steps and information into job aids that employees can quickly reference to ensure they are making that drink, using terminology, or processing orders in a manner that’s consistent with your company approach.

Embrace what tablets deliver.

Sometimes employees have an immediate need for information—to address a customer request or to learn about a new product or service. In those cases, a quick video tutorial can make a huge difference. Rather than requiring the employee to access the video on a desktop computer (which is unrealistic for most hospitality employees), provide tablets or other digital devices for employees to instantly review brief video tutorials that provide just-in-time training for the information they need.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get employees to take training, even if it will improve their performance. In that case, consider offering incentives or rewards like points or badges for completing training videos and correctly answering follow-up questions. Many times these services can be integrated with your existing learning management system to make implementation easy.

Of course not every training need can be addressed quickly. Some subjects and skills require more time and support. But for many topics, these three options will provide employees with the information and knowledge they need to succeed in their daily jobs. Employees who have the tools, resources, and knowledge they require are more confident and engaged, and in turn, they are prepared to deliver the consistent experience that your customers expect.

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