It's no secret that staff development provides employees with valuable knowledge they need to perform their duties proficiently. But, just as the ripples of a pebble dropped into a pond radiate throughout its ecosystem, so do the benefits of employee training extend to everyone in your hotel or restaurant.
Any 10-year-old knows you don't grab just any rock to make an impact; you consider your options wisely, drawing on prior experiences and basing your selection on the outcome you're shooting for. Planning your employee training is not all that different.
For maximum benefit, align training topics closely with your company's goals. Select participants whose job performance will be most enhanced by the new information. After completing the training, the employee should return to the workplace with a clear understanding of how this new knowledge will improve what he or she is already doing.
In his recent analysis of employee training's impact on the bottom line, learning strategies expert Oliver Tian suggested a method to quantify the return on investment (ROI) of employee training. Attach a monetary value to the quality you wish to quantify - say, increased employee job satisfaction or decreased customer complaints. Next, find the difference between any change in this quality and the cost of training. Obtain your ROI by dividing this total by the cost of training.
However, Tian went on to report that truly the best indicator of effective training would come from answering questions such as these: Did the content of the training address your company's needs? Did the training set a specific goal and achieve it? Are your employees now using what they learned? Is their implementation of this new knowledge impacting the way things are done at your site? Reflecting on these concerns will help you not only assess the usefulness of that particular training, but will also help you hone your search for the next training opportunity.
Hotel Monticello, located in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., has already increased their 2007 training budget to meet the needs of their associates. The boutique hotel's General Manager, Rob Suter, finds that training empowers employees and adds value to the organization as a whole: "It eases the burden on management when employees can alleviate situations immediately before they boil over," says Suter. "From a guest complaint to a problem with a room - whatever the situation is, when employees can resolve issues, it reduces stress for everyone."
Increased employee efficacy and decreased workplace stress, Suter points out, results in a bonus: "It leads to satisfaction for the customer."
Suter's observations are echoed in the current research, such as a recent study by Steven W. Schmidt to examine the link between employer-provided workplace training and employee job satisfaction. The Schmidt analysis reveals that people whose jobs involve face-to-face interaction with their customers - like those in the hospitality industry - are most likely to value training for its ability to help them engender customer satisfaction. That same study found that employees frequently named training opportunities as a top consideration in choosing and staying with an employer. Similar results came out of a survey by Aon Consulting and The Society for Human Resource Management, which determined that opportunity (or lack thereof) for professional development is one of the top reasons cited by employees who voluntarily leave one company for another.
The correlation of employee training to employee retention is nothing to sneeze at; some studies have attributed a retention increase by as much as 70 percent to employee training. That can have a huge impact on your bottom line, especially when you consider the resources that go into establishing a new hire into your organization. And retention isn't the only benefit of employee training as it relates to smooth operations and financial concerns. Training increases employee efficiency and productivity (some say up to 230 percent). It also keeps employees up-to-date with new technology and current best practices, resulting in superior job performance.
"The education definitely helps with job performance," says Alyeska Resort Human Resources Administration Assistant Mary Williamson, adding, "It starts with management and carries on from there." Although training for all of their employees is highly valued, Williamson says management training probably has the most widespread impact on the resort overall. Alyeska, which features 304 rooms and more than one thousand acres of ski slopes 40 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska, provides ongoing training programs for new and continuing management.
Whether communicating must-have information for a new hire who's transitioning into your hotel or restaurant, or offering an opportunity to an individual who's ready to take that next step forward in his or her career, employee training's effects are far-reaching. From enhanced performance and increased job satisfaction, to strengthened problem-solving skills and alleviated stress, and ultimately to customer satisfaction - it's almost impossible to count the numerous ways that employee training benefits the entire organization. But then again - have you ever tried to count the ripples in a pond after you've tossed a pebble?