Creating a Learning Culture in a Hospitality World

By Stacey Oliver-Knappe Owner, The Customer Service Gurus | March 11, 2018

If culture defines the proper way to behave within an organization in my world of Human Resources Development, this can be taken a step further.  I can detect if organizations have positive or punitive learning cultures based on, to SHRM's point, how most people behave in regards to training. Improving operational effectiveness through training is critical to overall financial success. 

Basic Learning and Development Definitions

Before we go further, these are the definitions I will use in this article. 

  • Training - This is any activity that is to change employee behavior or improve their skills.  This activity can be an instructor led event in a classroom; it can be an e-learning module; it can be a short video; it can be written communication.   The methods and tools currently available to support employee learning is astounding.  
  • Employee - To keep this simple, for any person in the organization, I will use this broad term.  Every employee, from the CEO to the front line operations, can benefit from some type of development.
  • Learning Culture - A learning culture behaves in these ways:  it proactively analyzes data to discover organizational and employee improvement opportunities, and implements interventions to make the desired change occur.  Emotionally, when new training is announced, employees are excited and embrace the idea of learning to improve.  Leaders see training as a supportive tool in their toolbox of success, and make it a priority to schedule.
  • Personal Development Learning - is also championed by leaders because they care about their employee's future success.

The Cost of a Poor Learning Culture  

A poor learning culture is where training is squeezed in to daily operations, with minimum attention to the learning experience.   Enough is done to maintain compliance, as in boxes get checked off for completion. However, not enough is done for employees to feel like the company cares about their development, personal or professional.  There is little goal setting, and even less support to help employees reach company or personal goals.   Managers and employees use any slight excuse to not attend training.  When attending training, participation is apathetic.  

Smart leaders must stop this culture.  It is negatively affecting your business.  Engagement suffers; employee turnover is higher.  Employees make mistakes that could cause corporate liability.  Nothing saddens me more than when a company is sued for an issue that could have solved with effective training.

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Coming up in December 2018...

Hotel Law: New Administration - New Policies

In a business as large as a hotel and in a field as broad as the law, there are innumerable legal issues which affect every area of a hotel's operation. For a hotel, the primary legal focus includes their restaurant, bar, meeting, convention and spa areas of their business, as well as employee relations. Hotels are also expected to protect their guests from criminal harm and to ensure the confidentiality of their personal identity information. These are a few of the daily legal matters hotels are concerned with, but on a national scale, there are also a number of pressing issues that the industry at large must address. For example, with a new presidential administration, there could be new policies on minimum wage and overtime rules, and a revised standard for determining joint employer status. There could also be legal issues surrounding new immigration policies like the H-2B guest-worker program (used by some hotels and resorts for seasonal staffing), as well as the uncertain legal status of some employees who fall under the DACA program. There are also major legal implications surrounding the online gaming industry. With the growing popularity of internet gambling and daily fantasy sports betting, more traditional resort casinos are also seeking the legal right to offer online gambling. Finally, the legal status of home-sharing companies like Airbnb continues to make news. Local jurisdictions are still trying to determine how to regulate the short-term apartment rental market, and the outcome will have consequences for the hotel industry. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.