A Short Guide To On-The-Job Training In Hospitality
by Bill Parker, on Aug 24, 2016 12:00:00 AM
Despite how effortless hospitality employees make the industry look, it’s actually a hugely busy sector that doesn't get a break. It is literally 24/7, 365 days a year.
You could argue that every business works like this to some extent, but there aren't many industries where even training becomes a burden to organise. When you think of how many employees a hotel or a large restaurant might have and how their shift patterns work, organising training is not an easy thing to do.
Many businesses in hospitality are looking to do a number of things with their learning and training experiences, including improving training impact, delivery and also reinforcement.
On top of these challenges, the training needs to be flexible but also fill knowledge gaps that employees might have.
Thankfully, there is an answer that doesn't result in a week of training for all the staff.
Introducing On-The-Job Training
On-the-job training is a way to ensure that employees in the hospitality industry get the learning content they need when they’re on the go.
By leveraging the use of employee technology such as smartphones, hospitality staff can access information, training videos, visuals and more when they need it.
Twinned with peer-to-peer coaching, in which employees rely on other people’s knowledge to learn, training can be done seamlessly on a day-to-day basis.
Knowledge gaps can be identified by the employee themselves when they can’t do something or might be spotted by managers or senior team members who can suggest the training that is needed.
On the job training also includes a social element of training, which is shown to increase knowledge retention. Those things we learn from our peers are often better remembered than the things we learn in a 6-hour classroom training session.
Through providing learning content on a mobile phone, it’s also possible to reinforce learning with extra learning content and even the use of gamification. For example, by introducing quizzes into learning, employees might be more engaged with the content.
In a restaurant, employees may be expected to remember all the items of a menu – if staff had access to the menus on their phone, they could learn items on the go, such as on the train journey home, or when they have a spare 5 minutes. Quizzes could then help to reinforce this learning i.e. What five drinks come under the soft drink section of our menu?
Whilst on-the-job training is all about helping the employees develop and learn new skills without taking too much time from their busy work schedules, managers still need some visibility on what’s being done.
Technology also holds the answer to this. Through learning platforms that can be accessed on smartphones, managers can track performance and report on what the employees are learning.
They can also control the content being provided and actually supply new content based on knowledge gaps that are recognised by both employees and managers.
Implementing On-The-Job Training
On-the-job training can seem a bit ad hoc, and in many senses it is, but there are ways to structure the training.
The ad hoc part comes on the employee side of learning – the idea being, they can learn content as they need it. The structure comes from management.
This is all about planning the learning content in conjunction with identified knowledge gaps, new rules and regulations, price changes, policy changes etc.
If for example, a restaurant knows the times of year they change their menu, learning content based around this can be put into place for employees to learn.
Technology has been mentioned a lot so far but technology is effectively just the delivery for content and a way to track progress. The real learning strategy comes from the structure and the culture of encouraging employees to take some time to learn the latest content.
Culture is important when it comes to this on-the-go type training and it should be lead by senior employees and managers. Ideally, any learning platform you put in place for on-the-job training should have a communication channel.
This allows employees to ask questions but also allows managers to encourage employees to see the latest training or ask for feedback on what’s going on.
On-the-job training is ideal for industries such as hospitality where time is extremely valuable and employees vary in level and work very different shift patterns.
Remember – technology is only the delivery and it’s the structure, content and culture that are the real winners.
Find out how Qnnect can compliment your on-the-job learning strategy as a secure learning platform and integrated communication channel.