At two of the luxury international hotels I managed, employee satisfaction related to training and development was very low at the time when I joined.
Good quality trainers were difficult to find or extremely expensive, and on-site or off-site training was time- consuming, with a constant conflict as to when the trainers were available in a 24/7 operation.
We also found that the quality of training fluctuated.
We reviewed the business process and created a task force team which included a technology partner who could help us develop and deliver remote training online.
We created a master plan that included all the mandatory training which could be done virtually from a smartphone in a secure environment, without being copied or downloaded.
Our goal was that every employee would join specific assigned virtual training classes for 3 hours a month, with little or no impact on their day-to-day responsibilities.
The virtual training we created in-house needed to cover topics including hotel, company and brand orientations, brand standards, manuals, safety and security, hygiene, employee handbooks, guest feedback, best practices etc.
To ensure that people weren’t distracted from their jobs, we decided that training classes should be a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 45 minutes long, and be followed by a quick 10-question evaluation digital questionnaire.
We used a variety of formats for the virtual training, including lectures, recorded videos or readings or online educational games, and included chat options so that trainees could ask questions.
We reviewed our existing training manual for each topic, updated it and identified which employees would be best to become virtual trainers. For some subjects, we used external suppliers and professional coaches to help us.
We identified which virtual training modules would be conducted in which language and which ones needed subtitles.
Human resources and all the department heads could monitor the training progress of the teams in their department from their smartphones.
Finally, we set ourselves a task to launch a minimum of three in-house virtual video training classes per week and provided three free YouTube videos links to content relevant to our business.
After just 18 months, employee satisfaction regarding training and development improved to above 90%.
We created over 180 in-house virtual training classes, with employee engagement in helping to produce virtual videos way above expectation. In fact, many of them were very proud to have become virtual trainers.
Departmental employees’ attendance at training sessions was close to 100% in most departments, with all above 95%.
Surprisingly, 45% employees joined the virtual training during their off time and not during working hours, with an average of 9 hours virtual training class attendance per employee per month.
During the same time, guest satisfaction went up by 3 points.
Some of our virtual training class videos were given to sister hotels within the organisation, delivering value for the group as a whole.