What to Do About Training

In a number of articles I’ve enumerated the challenges that standalone operations have in designing and implementing the robust and consistent training programs necessary to enhance organizational effectiveness and customer/guest/member service.  While most operations focus their training efforts on line employees, I have long advocated the need for manager and supervisory training in all areas.  As agents of the enterprise, these individuals can do far more harm unless well-schooled in leadership, business disciplines, and legal and liability issues.

While there is no doubt that the challenges to comprehensive training are significant, the ramifications of weak, inconsistent training are even more significant in that they impact performance at every level and area of the operation – and may ultimately prove to be a threat to the enterprise’s very existence.

Despite its critical nature, there always seem to be reasons not to train.  Often the biggest obstacle to formal training programs is cost – as every hour of training is an hour of payroll.  But as I’ve said before, there is a lot of wasted time in every operation, so the real issue is one of organization and the “will to make it happen.”

So what is a General Manager to do, should he or she want to institute a formal system of comprehensive training?  Here are four basic requirements:

  • Identify needs.  While every operation may have specific needs, Training Requirements for Hospitality Operations lays out the general types of necessary training.
  • Develop a training plan.  One organization’s first pass at a plan can be found on the Hospitality Resources International website under Operations>Resources>White Papers.  Certainly this can be used as a basis to develop your own plan.
  • Establish priorities.  As usual, go for the “low-hanging fruit” – those that are easiest to implement.  You might even use one department as the testing ground for others before full implementation.
  • Use “on the go” training.  The use of ongoing, short training topics will help keep the cost of training down, while providing constant reminders of important issues, best practices, and service techniques.  Hospitality Resources International has pioneered the concept of “on the go” training and has developed materials for Organizational Values, Leadership, Human Resources, Accounting, Employee Development and Discipline, Service, Management Disciplines, Food Service Management, and Safety.  Others are under development for Golf Management and F&B Knowledge.  These can be purchased from the HRI Marketplace and provide a proven method of training.

Surveying the needs of setting up formal training program, you realize it’s a lot of work.  But much of it has already been done for you, so no need to reinvent the wheel.  Should you decide to develop your own materials; the above mentioned modules provide a powerful example of how it can be done.

Lastly, I would suggest the concept of “incremental progress” to guide your training development.  You don’t have to do everything at once.  Make it a multi-year goal; assign tasks, responsibilities, and timelines.  Make a little progress each week while keeping your eye on the end result.  Each step forward will bring incremental improvements.  In time you’ll be amazed at the results!

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

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