Covid survival training, part 3: make it relevant
By Dan Bignold
Nov 28th, 2020
In the final part of our series explaining the importance of staff training for hospitality businesses trying to survive Covid-19, it’s time to make sure training is both accessible and relevant.

Ok, so you’ve written your SOPs and you’ve covered off maximising revenue. Box ticked, right? Training has been provided and all will be well with the world. Time for you to forget about it, and get on with the other piles of work. Yes?

Nope. Writing some training and sending your staff a pdf, or worse still, some bits of paper, is certainly not a guarantee of success. Tick and flick when it comes to staff development will get you nowhere. You need to make sure your training is effective.

If we look back at our four key training objectives from part 1, this means closing in on number 3:

  1. Make sure staff understand your new strategy and product, and how it fits the new market opportunity.
  2. Make sure staff know how to sell and upsell, to maximise that opportunity.
  3. Keep staff motivated to train, so they stay really focused on points 1 and 2 above.
  4. Give new hires the training they need to arrive at points 1-3 as fast as possible.

Training should give staff a clear idea of the specific challenges you’re asking them to overcome, and how (No1). It should also train them to make money (No2). But none of that training will work if teams aren't motivated to pick up the training, or it’s delivered in a way that makes them switch off.

So don’t undo your hard work. Make that valuable time investment count. Here’s how:

1. Save yourself time – by putting it online

This is the bit where we’re going to talk up online training. Yes, all training is valuable, and we’re certainly not arguing that it’s a replacement for face-to-face practical demos. D’uh, it’s hospitality, after all. We get it.

But if you’re a manager, you’ve got all manner of frustrations hanging over you, and an online solution is realistically the only way you’re going to earn yourself enough time to tackle those problems while also training some of the problems away in the process.

Like the SOPs, if you create your training online once, it’s done – and then all staff can access it, whenever they need. Yes, it will require a time investment in the first instance. But if staff turnover means you’re having to onboard and train new team members every couple of months, that’s a lot of repeated face-to-face sessions going over the same material.

2. Save the staff time – by making training convenient

Your team has all got jobs to do too, so sitting down for two hours each week – all of them – isn’t going to happen. If a learning outcome can be achieved with six minutes of online training, don't run a 30-minute group session, especially not with people of different experience levels.

If they can train through their phone at a time that’s convenient to their working day, without having to re-arrange their shifts so they can all be in the same room at once, even better. Training should generate positive engagement, not become a chore.

3. Motivate the staff – by making training relevant

If employees ever question the relevance of their assigned training to their job, your program isn’t working. Online training, however, created and structured in a modular fashion, allows you to break up your programme into courses that match each person’s role.

4. Get the staff engaged – by incentivising training 

Incentivise training and reward success. If you include an online element to training, you can generate healthy competition through points and leaderboards. Of course, not every character responds to being ranked, but if you’re able to monitor the progress each individual is making anyway, you’ll be able celebrate their achievement in whatever way works for them.

5. Use tracking to improve training’s effectiveness & fill gaps 

The proof of all training’s effectiveness is in the health of your business. Because online training platform allows you to track who’s completed what lessons, it also allows you to track whether learning is delivering tangible behavioural change from them during service. And whether sales are going up as a result.

If service and your product isn’t improving, because the online lessons aren’t filling the right gaps, or staff are struggling with a particular learning outcome, you can either update the training or – here’s the beauty – focus on the problem with a specific face-to-face group session or one-to-one meeting.

Online training isn’t a cure-all or magic pill. It’s a support tool that strengthens service foundations so that operation, training and HR managers can really get to work polishing up the details. And if you want a magic pill for success, as any hospitality manager will tell you, it’s that combination of fundamentals being sound, then the sprinkling-on of a few special details.

At Small Batch Learning, we’ll give you all the tools needed to initiate our three-part battle plan:

  • An enterprise-level, mobile-first learning management system, created specifically for the hospitality industry’s HR and training demands. Fully customisable, fully secure, and fully owned by you (forever), for you or your training team to upload whatever existing training materials you use (training manuals, front of house SOPs, back of house SOPs, for beverage or kitchen, rooms or management… up to you).
  • A training library with 30 hours (and counting) of ready-written core content, including: category knowledge, bar service, floor service, wine tasting, drink recommending. Plus: strategies for upselling and maximising revenue, Covid-19 safety, and staff mental and physical health training (and you can re-write anything you don’t feel is right for your business).
  • A training library with 1,000+ beverage SKUs and 100+ classic cocktails to build your own virtual menu and train staff on the products sold in your business. Customise our recipes or upload your own, to make sure your bar teams make drinks according to your own specs. Add selling tips to make sure your teams actively sell them.
  • Curated, job-specific, ready-to-go Training Plans (Bartender Levels 1 & 2, and Waitstaff Levels 1 & 2), so you can get your different service teams started without having to invest any time building a program yourself.
  • Certificates, badges and leaderboards, to help motivate and incentivise staff.
  • Stats and weekly reports to track every staff member’s learning progress, giving you the data needed to manage an individual’s development and reward their success.
  • App and web browser access.

If you’d like to find out more about training your own team, get in touch details here

Read Survival Training Part 1 here, covering the importance of SOPs and a staff handbook.
Read Survival Training Part 2 here, on training staff to maximise revenue.