How The Use Of eLearning In Hospitality Training Helps You Retain Staff Members

How The Use Of eLearning In Hospitality Training Helps You Retain Staff Members
Syda Productions/
Summary: As the hospitality sector evolves, so does our workforce. It remains our responsibility to understand how we can better connect with them as humans and then develop training to retain staff members. Adapting training is the first step, and today's eLearning platforms offer us the tools to truly provide people with the development they deserve.

Using eLearning In Hospitality Training Helps You Retain Staff

If you’re a hospitality manager, you probably understand the challenges involved in how to retain staff members who are skilled for a considerable duration. It is now widely known that training is a big contributing factor. So it should come as no surprise that the better the quality of training, the more likely people are to stick around.

And you are not alone—the challenge of hiring and then trying to retain young staff is experienced by 54% of all hospitality business owners and managers.

It is becoming increasingly clear that eLearning is a sustainable and affordable way of achieving this. Young workers (as do older ones) are avid users of mobile technology and can take on new digital products faster than any other generation.

A word of advice for hospitality companies: Leverage this, it is the single most game-changing shift in learning behavior to date. For the rest of this article, I will use ‘eLearning' and ‘learning' interchangeably.

When dealing with a younger team with ages ranging from 18 to 30, engaging training becomes even more important. Now before I go on, let’s get this part clear: Millennials aren’t the only group with changing learning behaviors and attention spans—we’re all changing together. Modern devices and content programming are evolving our very nature of consuming and assimilating information. And in the context of eLearning, this is creating huge opportunities for hospitality managers and trainers.

That being said, younger team members do tend to require a stronger training offering. In 2017, 42% of employees ages 18-25 left their new job within 90 days—80% of whom did so due to a lack of adequate training.

Reasons Why Millennials Require Good Hospitality Training

  • They are more likely to be unskilled in certain key areas than their older counterparts.
  • They understand the value of skill development and will work with a company who has a learning culture in its DNA.
  • They are more likely to change jobs and work for larger companies which embrace digital learning (as opposed to traditional training).
  • Younger people are still testing the waters, therefore access to a wide array of material can only stimulate their interest in their job.
  • Younger hospitality workers tend to consult their social networks and websites like Glassdoor to gauge the company’s quality of training.

In this article, we’re going to look at tips and advice around inspiring and retaining staff members of younger ages using hospitality eLearning software. Let’s begin by outlining the 6 qualities of good digital training. These are the bare minimum features every manager should strive for.

Your hospitality training should be:

1. Engaging

Step one to making training more fun? Ditch the long classroom instructions and the thick printouts.

When taking a closer look at your learners’ learning behavior, you’ll notice that everyone is different—some may prefer to go through a short text-based course, others will prefer a series of short videos or audio clips. And some may even require a blend of all 3. Learning that’s fun, rewarding, and effective is diverse and unpredictable. Learn more about your workers and engage them with content that’s right for them.

2. Cost-Effective

In my experience of helping hotels and airlines create custom eLearning platforms for their workforce, physical classroom training is a sap on resources. Teams and instructors have to be flown to the training site from all over the world in order to participate in the course. That is a major expense that is incurred every year, sometimes quarterly.

Simply put, eLearning eliminates those costs by centralizing training online, allowing for reusable material and self-paced learning. eLearning is accessible any time, anywhere, and from any device.

3. Seamless

In large companies, training programs are executed by branch or department, leading to a fragmentation and inconsistency in learning materials and learner’s understanding of that material across the business in general. There’s also the problem that training can only really be delivered while the instructor is present in the room—questions, note-taking, and discussions can only take place during that session. When the instructor leaves, active learning stops.

Moreover, most training material is outsourced. This leads to a variety of delivery styles, tones of voice, and visual language. Branding and consistency are key—it is how learners can distinguish between company-centric material and any other content coming in from other sources. It is key that we be able to customize and personalize the eLearning platform interface.

With a good eLearning solution, we can achieve seamlessness. Employees can log on to the platform from their mobile phones each time they have a question, or need to brush up on a skill. When eLearning is implemented correctly, the process of accessing, redoing courses, and participating in training at any time, becomes a breeze.

4. Scalable

As the business expands, so do its training needs. eLearning tools today can very quickly grow and evolve with new users and their needs. So instead of doubling up on on-site, Instructor-Led training, or flying in twice as many staff members to one location to deliver urgent training, we can accommodate the growth with a click of a button.

By preparing and inputting foundation content early on, you will be investing a great deal. When new employees are recruited into your growing hospitality business all managers need to do is assign them that content. No instructors, no venues, and no relocating staff.

5. Measurable

eLearning is digital, which means it generates data, and that data can be measured and interpreted to help us optimize training. However, a success of an LMS (Learning Management System) goes beyond metrics about who finished a course, or the results of a quiz.

With eLearning, we can understand how our training programs are contributing towards business KPIs. So before launching an eLearning program within your business, decide on your objectives: Are you looking for more satisfied customers? For better Trip Advisor reviews? More and better upselling?

Assess your position before starting the eLearning program, and then measure the outcomes over time. Improve the areas that need more work, and do more of what succeeds. I would advise not to launch all programs at once. Target skill gaps and opportunities in stages, instead—this way you can build on a strong foundation.

Now that we understand the positive impact an eLearning solution can have on our young staff members, how do we optimize it so it works for our trainers and the fledgling workforce alike? There are 3 things to keep in mind.

eLearning Technology You Can Use Today

1. mLearning (Mobile Learning)

Mobile learning is when the learner’s mobile device becomes central to training delivery. Nowadays, good eLearning tools are optimized for mobile phones, which means workers can access all information and courses directly from their device. But the BYOD (bring your own device) revolution introduced an array of other benefits, as well.

Aside from offering mobile learning materials with more interactivity, it also assists learners to participate in physical sessions. This is called blended learning and allows trainers to build a hybrid session where content is delivered in person, but quizzes take place on the learner’s phone. Instructors can also queue up video material which learners can access at certain points in the session.

Thanks to mobile learning, your workers can also leave or receive feedback about their training experience. They can ask questions on the go, or even leave comments on the effectiveness of a course. This all helps in improving courses later.

2. Microlearning

Your young staff learns at their own pace (don’t we all?) but, more importantly, they will probably prefer smaller ‘bite-sized’ content as opposed to longer material. eLearning platforms allow managers to adapt to this growing need by building courses with shorter modules—or even better, present their workers with short videos that their workforce can watch in ‘bursts’.

Microlearning doesn’t mean less training or information retention. In fact, research shows that microlearning can lead to workers’ embracing a learning platform far more likely. Perception is key, and when employees find the content digestible and manageable, they will be far more encouraged to access it in the future.

3. Gamification

This technique has been used (and sometimes overused!) by most social media platforms, marketers, and software in general. Gamification aims to attract and re-attract learners towards the platform with the aim to establish a positive habit of learning. By leveraging positive reinforcement, healthy competition, and rewards workers can find themselves enjoying the experience far more than first anticipated.

The reason is simple—when we reward people for their efforts, the result is often a growing trust in management and the system in general. Of course, this must be used responsibly, and we must always reward people fairly and whenever a progress was truly achieved. Abusing gamification techniques can backfire, and our attempts of delighting our workforce may be perceived as suspicious.

4. Video-Based Learning

When was the last time we opted for text-based instructions over a quick and informative Youtube video? Hospitality eLearning shouldn’t be any different. If we can show our workforce how to do something, and if the video is relatively short (ideally under 3 minutes), we will more likely see improvements in their day-to-day performance.

Video production doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Today, instructors and managers around the world are taking matters into their own hands and producing lo-fi, but equally effective video-based courses. Sometimes we can achieve greater results with a $100 camera by filming ourselves or colleagues than with a $5,000 training program that goes on forever.

5. Branded/Personalized Interface

Who doesn’t like to be part of a community?

We sometimes forget that for our employees, their role is more than a means to earn a living. It forms a big part of their social lives, and if we do our job right our workforce can form and belong to communities and groups that can enrich their lives.

This is why personalizing (or branding) an eLearning interface with inbuilt customization tools can go a very long way in elevating an eLearning experience. People can identify with a known identity and are therefore more likely to trust their new learning source they are presented with.

Customization also helps management with rolling a tool across their corporate verticals and with their suppliers or customers. Generating learning content is expensive, owning it is important. A branded platform automatically communicates ownership while retaining a seamless corporate image throughout its lifetime, and as the content is shared across teams and individuals.

Build Better Course Content

I hope these few points shed light on how we can engage our young team members with eLearning programs, in turn keeping them closer to our companies by delivering genuinely good training. But before we wrap up this article, here are a couple of quick tips on how you can build better content inside your digital training tool.

Remember, without good content none of the above will add up to much.

  • Keep it brief and to the point!
  • Use video when you can.
  • Start from the foundations, then move into more complex lessons.
  • Contextualize content for mobile consumption. Remember that 88% of workers between ages 18-30 access their phones to seek information!
  • Use a refreshing and friendly tone of voice, and make it as personal as possible. People learn when they connect with their instructors.
  • Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for good enough, but offer a clear medium by which your learners can reach out to ask questions.
  • Build reusable content that can be used for most departments and for remote workers, too! This will cut down your costs in the future.
  • Break down courses into micro-courses.
  • Create the right courses by pre-assessing your team's skill level.
  • Involve your colleagues—different point of views can contribute invaluable ideas and knowledge!

Review The Results Regularly

Good eLearning, when executed properl,y can be truly game-changing. Aside from the money saved, you’ll have a happier, more fulfilled, and skilled workforce. But keep in mind that like any other system, we need to track and maintain it.

Keep your eye on reports, and what your workers are saying about the learning materials presented to them. Are they too long? Are employees happy to complete them and refer them to others? Are they leading to the preplanned objectives you set out before implementing the training system? There will always be room for improvement, but every effort is an investment for the long-term quality of your hospitality business.

Finally, focus on building a relationship with your team—eLearning doesn’t mean automation will replace real human connections. It should support and enhance our employees’ development and unlock valuable time which is otherwise spent on repetitive (and often expensive) training tasks. I urge growing hospitality businesses to implement eLearning tools not only for cost-effectiveness but also for a healthier and richer experience with the people they trust with their business, and ultimately, their customers’ satisfaction.