We spoke with Kew Green Hotels’ Talent Development Executive, Simon Dowling, to find out about their transition to a digital training platform.
Why do you think this is the right time to go digital?
Pre-Covid19 we had been researching appropriate e-learning platforms for quite some time but the global pandemic expedited this process as it became clear that our previous face-to-face methods of training delivery were not going to be appropriate either during the crisis or in the emerging “new normal” world.
There will be some training where a blended method of delivery will still be necessary – it’s more difficult to assess the application of learning when it comes to soft-skills over a camera than it is in person, for example – but so much can be achieved online and accessed 24/7 – it’s great for business!
Digital technology is being used increasingly in all areas of our industry for guest engagement: how check-in or check-out; the way they order food and beverage. It seems only natural that the methods to engage our team members would follow suit.
What do you think this means for KGH as an employer?
Having an established e-learning platform in place demonstrates to our teams and to our peers in the industry that we are future-thinking. Whilst some businesses are struggling to adapt to the new world, Kew Green is demonstrating that our “We Love Change” value is something we truly believe in and live by. I think it shows even further that we are a hospitality force to be reckoned with and it can help us stand out as an employer that values the development of its teams, both to current and to future.
The training development process has also been massively streamlined thanks to our e-learning platform with several steps either being removed entirely or becoming much more efficient, meaning that we can create and facilitate training almost instantly.
What has your involvement been?
From originally researching e-learning platforms that could meet our needs, meeting with providers and testing demo versions of software, to administering the back-end by setting up team members with access and creating e-learning modules – I’ve basically done it all.
I am currently in the middle of a project to map all mandatory and developmental training by brand and by role responsibility. Once this is completed each team member in the system will have a personalised training pathway, designed to help them become truly outstanding at their jobs. This is where the digital training platform will really come into its own. VERY EXCITING STUFF!
What, if any, are the restrictions having training digital?
From a facilitation point of view, it is sad not to be able to be physically present with your learners and experience their energy and enthusiasm first-hand. Feedback through body language is a powerful tool when it comes to successfully facilitating a workshop, but there are other ways to collaborate and seek opinion. It’s also more difficult to take questions from learners and address queries instantly – but I know that digital tools to assist with those concerns are being developed and improving all the time. Perhaps that’s my next big project?
What opportunities has this opened up for the company?
With our old ways of working it could take up to 12 weeks from identifying training gaps to facilitating a physical workshop. Having our e-learning platform means that we can address training need much, much faster. We recently identified need, created, tested and rolled-out an e-learning module on a new compliance process in less than a week. We would never have been able to do this before and I believe having this ability gives our team members confidence and clarity in what is expected of them to deliver.
There are also direct cost and time-saving benefits to be had. Not having 20 delegates travelling from across the estate to attend a ½ day workshop, for example, allows us to invest expenses that method of training would have incurred to other areas of the business.
If you’re interested in a future career with such a forward-thinking company who loves change, please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org