When we think about next steps for the hospitality industry, there’s a lot to consider. Around the world, the industry is in a pretty constant state of flux at the moment – making it seem unpredictable and, at times, intimidating to plan a rebound strategy. The first step is taking a close look at what we should prioritize, and what can wait.
Good hospitality learning, training, and development needs to be at the top of that list: without learning, there can be no recovery. Here, Typsy’s breaking down the reasons why you should be making learning and development your top priority for post-COVID hospitality recovery.
As we move into the second half of the year, many hospitality businesses across the world are starting to see a rebound and – dare we say it – recovery is starting to seem not just possible but imminent. But the unfortunate truth is just as many business aren’t bouncing back as quickly, particularly in regions experiencing a second wave of cases and reintroduced lockdown measures. The road to recovery is long, and won’t be smooth.
All this is to say that coronavirus and its impact may be something we – collectively, globally – will have to deal with for a long while yet. But that doesn’t mean we cover our heads, cross our fingers and wait for it to pass.
So what do we do?
We start learning.
Strong hospitality training will be vital as the industry recovers, in almost every way imaginable. Studies show again and again that education is very closely correlated with positive economic outcomes – both on a macro, multi-national scale right down to individuals.
When the industry prioritizes learning, together we develop a community of highly skilled innovators: people with great, out-of-the-box ideas who have the tools and networks to make those ideas reality.
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Adaptation is learning put to practice
In these last few months, we’ve often heard it said that getting through this phase of uncertainty is a matter of adaptation. But what does this really mean? Adapting the minutiae of your business is one thing, but how does that set you up for long-term success in an (eventual) post-COVID future?
Here’s the truth: adaptation is just another form of learning. It’s learning more about how to respond quickly as things change; learning more about your customer base; learning more about where your strengths and weaknesses truly lie, and how to make the most of that knowledge.
So when you create an adaptive strategy for your business, and communicate that to your staff, what you're really doing is training them to adapt just as you have. Their learning strengthens your business.
And this brings us to our next point:
A recovery plan is meaningless without skilled staff
You could have the most meticulously planned rebound strategy the world has ever seen, but if you have staff who aren't sure what to do with it, you might as well not have bothered.
A hospitality team is only as strong as its weakest member - any hospitality worker who's found themselves in the middle of a rush with struggling teammates knows this to be true. Sometimes we imagine that staff pick up skills just through exposure (or osmosis), but staff training really is one of those areas where you get out exactly what you put in. The only remedy for this is good training.
When you deliver clear and consistent training to your staff, you not only improve their work performance but also the work culture of your venue, the level of camaraderie within your team, and the general level of morale. What you're left with are highly skilled, satisfied, and motivated staff who can execute your meticulously planned strategy exactly the way you envisioned.
Training your team with Typsy gives you the kind of consistent and practical training you need to take your staff to the next level. At the click of a button, you can assign training, check on training progress, and communicate your exact requirements to your staff in a way they'll find accessible, effective, and fun!
And best of all, we've got you and your team covered: our entire catalog - over 750 video lessons, courses and playlists - is absolutely free until September 30 2020.
This is a learning curve for everyone
To put it simply: none of us have faced this situation before. It’s a period of massive uncertainty, constant change and evolution, but we’re all trying to overcome the same type of brand new challenges. This means that every day, everyone in the hospitality industry is learning something new – and we’re learning it together.
In spite of everything, this actually puts us - en masse, as an industry - in a very advantageous position. Because it's absolutely true that knowledge is power, and there’s strength in numbers.
In the words of IHG CEO Keith Barr:
“We’re learning how to operate in this environment; we’re learning how to make customers feel safe. And that’s what we have to do as an industry: all of us have to work together.”
Renewed competition in the hospitality job market means you employ high quality candidates – who will improve the quality of your venue
Because of the number of staff across the world who have had to be furloughed during this period, there are significantly fewer open or new roles for those who weren't previously employed in the industry. This means that when a job opening does come along, candidates who apply will likely be more competitive applicants than in the past - in other words, more experienced and highly skilled.
Candidates will, of course, be aware of this. And they'll be taking steps to ensure their applications are as well-regarded as possible, including gaining qualifications and certifications in different areas of hospitality.
Ultimately, when a larger proportion of your staff are highly skilled, it will improve the service guests receive at your venue. Hospitality was already a service-based industry, but with shaken consumer confidence for their personal safety, good service will be an enormous aspect of regaining trust and securing pre-pandemic levels of occupancy and revenue.
The process of developing your venue into a busy hospitality hot-spot with a wide customer base starts, and ends, with employing great staff who have the skills and experience to deliver the best results.
Locally trained management teams are best positioned to make local decisions
There are certainly situations and business structures where top-down management works and makes sense, but post-coronavirus recovery is not one of them. It's simply not possible for a team at the top of a corporate structure to understand the nuances and needs of a location they're not in - particularly given the fact that travel is still highly restricted and may continue to be for some time.
Local decisions are best made by teams on the ground, in the thick of it. This view is increasingly being adopted by large hospitality businesses as they navigate the COVID period, including Sébastien Bazin, CEO of Accor. From that perspective, upskilling and training for management roles is a necessity for now - but it's also a great investment in the future.
When local management teams are highly skilled, they don't just do a better job managing their venue - they're more capable of providing detailed and nuanced reports and feedback to upper management, make better decisions with an eye for "glocal" implications, and generate creative and well-informed ideas that can benefit the entire business.
This is an intense period of learning, and personal and professional growth, for all of us in hospitality - and it'll be the key to a brighter future for hospitality on every level of the industry. When we lean into learning and development, we invest in that future.
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