By the time new hires have your hospitality training manual in their hands, they’ve already developed a few first impressions about what working for you will be like – ideally, good ones – and you want the manual to reinforce that you’re an excellent place to spend their careers.
If your training manual is dated, dull or too dumbed-down, employees not only won’t pay attention, they’ll get the message that their being well-prepared to do a good job doesn’t really matter to you.
New hires are eager to learn and impress their new bosses, so don’t squander your opportunity to impress them. Here are some tips for how to refresh your hospitality training manual.
Make it a Team Effort
Whether your training manual needs a few updates or a major overhaul, it’s a good idea to get input from your current employees. They can give you insight on what information they wish they’d known when they started and some secrets to successfully navigating the tricky first six weeks.
Getting current staff involved also gives them a sense of ownership over the training process and shows that you value their opinions and experience. And, after all, they’re the ones who will be working most closely with your new hires, so it’s in their best interest to make sure they’re ready to wow your guests.
Make It Something People Want to Read
At a time when even people’s watches have the ability to entertain, you need to make your hospitality training manual as engaging as possible to get the information inside to stick. Chuck the clip art and blurry photos and consider hiring a graphic designer or finding someone on staff who’s artistically inclined.
Include real-world examples and anecdotes to keep things interesting: Don’t just say customer service is important to you, give an example of a time when an employee went above and beyond for a customer or quote a particularly positive review from a travel site about your amazing staff.
Consider including brief bios of current staff with their names, positions, how long they’ve been with you and why they enjoy working for you. Seeing other real people will help employees feel that they’re joining an impressive team or family.
Offer Opportunities for Growth
Employees are more likely to invest their time with companies that invest in them. Offering learning and professional development opportunities to staff, no matter what they do, is a great way to keep them engaged and less likely to leave.
If you don’t already, start by offering monthly or even quarterly trainings on things like interviewing skills, resume writing and career coaching. Offer weekly language classes. Give people opportunities to grow beyond their current roles and move up the ladder. Then make sure to mention all of your resources in your training manual.
You can also mention the free online training for front-line employees available from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. The VISIT FLORIDA Online Hospitality Training Program offers a range of modules, and participants who score 80 percent or better on a multiple-choice final exam receive a VISIT FLORIDA certificate of completion. They’re also entered into an incentive program with reward opportunities for the employee and their company. The program’s web site has more information.
At one time, an estimated one-third of hospitality businesses didn’t have employee training programs at all. Fortunately, that number has decreased over time as companies realize the importance of a well-trained workforce. Your hospitality training manual is a key player in your overall training program, and it’s worth spending the time to keep it current.