Many of our clients are in the hospitality industry (including Hooters, Bloomin’ Brands, and Dairy Queen), so we have a lot of experience watching these types of companies get an LMS up and running and turning it into an effective training environment.
The solutions that people come up with to address a problem specific to them or within their industry can actually help others as well, even if they don’t have that specific problem. There’s more than one benefit to having different training techniques.
That’s why we’d like to pass along some of the wisdom we’ve absorbed from working closely with our hardworking hospitality clients. We’re a big believer that these methods can help you, too.
Recurring training is an important part of hospitality, and has become a crucial way for our clients to combat the forgetting curve, especially in critical areas like compliance where recurring training can actually be required to some extent. For example, compliance laws may ask employees to complete a certain kind of training on an annual basis, such as food and alcohol safety. These laws exist because they recognize that people cannot learn things just once; they need to refresh their memory.
This is also the basis of the continuous learning trend, which is dedicated to the idea that in order for learning to stick, learners must return to it repetitively over time.
There are many ways our clients engage in recurring training that go beyond the legal requirements of compliance and create more effective training experiences for learners. Here are some examples of how recurring training can be used:
- One client delivers monthly microlearning modules to refresh learners on important topics like alcohol safety or sexual harassment best practices in the restaurant.
- All clients have access to course versioning so that they can easily track if a learner has taken the most recent version of the course (reflecting the latest compliance laws).
- You can have learners take quizzes several days or weeks or months after the course ends to measure retention and send them back into the course if they weren’t able to correctly answer questions.
Even if it’s not related to compliance requirements, recurring training can be a great tool for making sure learners are consistently updated on important topics.
Treat Your Training Like Employees Have to Opt-In
For some hospitality employers, their business operates on a franchise model. This means that the franchisees have to buy- or opt-in to the training they provide. They can’t force the franchisees to use their approved training. Getting franchisees to opt-in is important for a number of reasons, most notably it helps the franchise maintain control over brand standards and keeps training consistent.
So, our franchisee clients have discovered that one of the most important ways to get franchisees to opt into the training is to maintain lots of open communication about learner needs.
This communication helps franchises create training that better benefits their learners. On top of that, their franchisees are far more enthusiastic about using the training. As you can imagine, this enthusiasm and engagement provides many benefits besides better enforcement of brand standards.
Even if the training is required and employees do have to opt in, imagine how you would create training if your learners have to choose to take it. This will help you create more engaging training that meets employee needs. This can include things like:
- Asking managers on the front-line what employee or learner needs the training isn’t meeting
- Analyzing data to see what training formats gets the most engagement
- Using data to see what topics for voluntary training seem to be popular, and expand on those topics
- Asking employees what kinds of courses they would benefit from, and what training would help them to be better at their jobs
- Asking employee what would make it easier for them to complete required training and what they would like to see in those courses
Communicating with your learners, or at least those close to them, will make a world of difference in turning your training into a partnership that your learners want to be a part of.
Just-in-time training is training that is meant to be conducted in a moment of need. Usually, to support this in an LMS, admins will create a library of easily searchable materials. This way, if a learner needs to know how to do something in a piece of software, they can search for that software in the system and find the appropriate course to help them in that moment.
This works because modern employees are primed to do this. When someone has a question, what do they do? Google it. Just-in-time training essentially takes advantage of this impulse.
Our hospitality clients are more likely to set up their system to support just-in-time training. This makes sense – in a fast-paced environment where employees may crisscross roles and need to look up how to do things in the moment, creating a searchable LMS library can be a life-saver. For example, if someone needs to dice a tomato correctly, and the restaurant is too busy for someone to help, they can do a quick google-style search on their company’s LMS and find out.
But, this setup can help out in other sectors too. For example, there could be just-in-time training for:
- Medical professionals to get a refresher on procedures they are about to perform
- Asking those in law to complete ethics training related to a trial they are about to take part in
- Employees seeking presentation advice right before a big meeting
- In-the-moment software training and help
Get creative! I’m confident there’s a way that just-in-time training will benefit employees in most industries.
Attracting Employees Through Great Training
Our client Dairy Queen has discussed with us the impact of great training on attracting employees. DQ has a workforce with high turnover and often rely on their workers recommending that their friends work there. Great training, from day one, has a big impact on the employee experience. It’s one of the first things a new crew member sees. That positive experience will affect how employees feel about their working experience and help attract top talent.
This is an area that I think can apply in any industry, even if there is low turnover. In fact, great training could have an even bigger impact at companies where employees are looking to expand their skills and build a career. Feeling like the company cares about your success and growth makes an employee more excited to work there and attracts other top talents in the industry.
The hospitality industry requires a lot of localization of training. Especially in food, regulations can vary greatly from state to state and require different rules to be taught to employees.
I believe localization can be effective in other kinds of industries. In national or international companies, the work culture at every location/office and the background of those working there will be a little different. As a result, their needs will be a little different.
It’s worth it to have an understanding of what those differences are. Have open communication with team leaders on the floor with your employees. Instead of assuming that all offices will benefit the most from mobile learning, check in and see if video learning is more important to some of your workforces and make both available.
The creative training techniques our hospitality clients have utilized within our LMS truly impresses us. I wanted to pass along this wisdom in hopes that these ideas can make training better in your industry, too.