HRM in hospitality industry
This report covers the recommended training initiative for a Hotel organization. The aim of the training initiative is to update and further develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employees, especially in the area of customer service. The training initiative is designed specifically to address issues in customer service particularly in the Front Office of the Hotel.
The organization is a full-service hotel that serves domestic and foreign guests. The hotel has built a reputation for its excellent accommodation and services. The management wants to further enhanced that reputation by enhancing the skills and abilities of the employees. The training initiative will initially focus on the Front Office staff, as they are considered as the frontliner when it comes to service. The training initiative aims to develop the front office staff and to enhance their customer service skills.
The organization faces numerous challenges in the business arena. These challenges have implications for the way employee capabilities should be developed.
1. Intense Competition
The organization finds itself operating in an environment of growing competitive pressures. The intense competition between firms makes it more difficult to develop and sustain any kind of competitive advantage. New products are quickly reverse-engineered, copied, and produced less expensively. When new services are launched, competing services soon follow. Organizations are pressured to innovate and stay ahead of the competition (Kraiger 2002).
The business environment is changing at an incredibly rapid pace, which means that organizations must respond in kind. Because products and services can be copied more quickly than ever before, there is pressure on organizations to stay ahead or to respond rapidly to competition. Employees are being trained and developed in order to adapt continually to new demands (Kraiger 2002).
3. Increased focus on Customer
Consumers are becoming more smart and knowledgeable. Organizations are focusing on consumers – analyzing their behavior, attitudes and decision-making process. Organizations need to prepare better the employees who interact with customers who interact with customers, providing them with better information, better skills, and greater autonomy to address customer requests and concerns (Kraiger 2002).
4. Need to Maintain High Levels of Talent
One of the most compelling challenges with implications for a company’s training strategy is the war for talent. Labor shortages exist in many markets, and particularly in knowledge-intensive industries. Heightened competition intensifies this problem. If products and services can be copied, then competencies – for example, to innovate, to refine processes, to solve problems, to form relationships – become an organization’s only sustainable advantage. Attracting, retaining, and developing people with critical competencies becomes paramount. Organizations need talented people to succeed and must compete in part on their ability to attract, develop, and retain them (Kraiger 2002).
These challenges have an impact on the training and development process of the organization. In order to remain competitive, the firm must train and develop its human resources. As a source of competitive advantage, the firm must invest on its employees. This report focuses on the training and development needs of a Hotel organization. It is the goal of this report to present recommendations and suggestions in developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) of the employees. As a service-oriented organization, the primary focus of the training initiative will be the development of customer service KSAs, and abilities of the employees.
In order for the organization to gain competitive advantage, training must encompass a broader focus than just basic skills development. Training should be viewed as a way to create intellectual capital. Intellectual capital includes the KSAs to perform one’s job, advances skills, and an understanding of customers and organizational processes key to the organization’s success. Organizations according to Sims (2002) provide training for many reasons: to orient new hires to the organization or teach them how to perform in their initial job assignment, to improve the current performance of employees who may not be working as effectively as desired, or to prepare employees for future promotions of for upcoming changes in design, processes, or technology in their present jobs. Recent changes in the business environment have made the training function even more important in helping organizations maintain competitiveness and prepare for the future.
Training and Development
Training can be considered as the process of learning how to perform the tasks needed in order for the organization to function. Training covers a variety of instructional and learning processes, ranging from formal, classroom training programs to on-the-job training and self-directed learning. It also includes the ‘entry’ learning experiences of orientation and socialization (Clardy 1996). The training programs must be related to the overall strategy of the organization’s overall strategy. In accordance with the company’s commitment to workplace diversity, training and development programs must be made available to all employees.
The Training Process
The goal of training is to contribute to the organization’s overall goals that is why training programs should be developed systematically with the organization’s true needs in mind. Effective training can raise performance, improve morale, and increase an organization’s potential. To maximize the benefits of training, the organization must closely monitor the training process. the training process is composed of three parts: needs assessment, design and implementation, and evaluation (Sims 2002).
Phase 1: Needs Assessment
In the needs assessment phase, the organization conducts a systematic analysis of an organization’s job related needs and specifies the objectives of the training effort. Part of the training needs assessment is the assessment of the organization’s strategy, the resources available for training, and its general philosophy regarding training and development. In this phase of the training process, the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of the employees are assessed.
In the case of the organization beings studied, the training initiative is geared towards the improvement of performance. The aim of training is to develop and update the KSAs of the employees in order for them to be able to effectively fulfill their responsibilities. Customer service is an important area that the employees need to work on.
The sources of data and information for needs assessment will be the records on the present performance of the employees. Through the performance appraisal records, the strengths and weaknesses of the employees will be identified as well as their training needs. The organization must also conduct an interview with the employees and managers. Interviews are a good way of gathering information on performance discrepancies and perceived training needs. The interview must provide answers for the following questions:
- What are the job-related problems of the employees?
- What additional KSAs does the employee need to better perform the job?
- What training does the employee believe is needed?
Questionnaires can also be helpful in this stage. The organization can make use of customer surveys to identify problem areas that may not be obvious to employees of the organization. Focus groups can also be used to determine training needs. Focus groups are composed of employees from various departments and various levels within the organization (Sims 2002).
Setting Training and Development Goals
The establishment of training or development objectives or goals is one of the most important steps in the training process. When clearly defined objectives are lacking, it is impossible to evaluate the training program efficiently. In addition, there is no basis for selecting materials, content, or training methods. With clear training objectives or goals in hand, HRM specialists can begin to plan the actual development, implementation, and evaluation of training.
Phase 2: Program Development and Implementation
After the assessment of training needs and establishment of objectives for training comes the development and implementation of training or development programs that will achieve those objectives. This is accomplished by first outlining and defining training and development program content, then selecting the most appropriate instructors to complete the process, and then selecting training methods and developing training materials that convey the KSAs identified in the training objectives.
Phase 3: Evaluation
Evaluation is the final phase in the training and development process. Evaluation is the determination of the extent to which the training and development activities have net their goals (Sims 2002).
It is important to incorporate learning principle in designing and implementing the training program. One significant factor that affects the participation in and the outcome of the training program is motivation. In order to learn, a person must want to learn. In the context of training and development, motivation influences a person’s enthusiasm, keeps attention focused on the training and development activities, and reinforces what is learned. Motivation is influenced by the beliefs and perceptions of the trainee. If a trainee is not motivated, little can be accomplished in a training or development program.
Methods of Instruction
Training can be divided into two categories, on-the-job training and off-the0job training. On-the-job training according to Sims (1990) refers to the methods that are applied on the workplace, while the employee is actually working. Off-the-job training on the other hand is any form of training performed away from the employee’s work area. Off-the-job techniques take place in classrooms or meeting rooms away form the workplace. There are two forms of off-the-job training. These are:
- In-House – coordinated by the employee’s organization and conducted within a company training facility
- Off-Site – conducted away from the organization and sponsored by a professional association, educational institution, or independent training firm.
The training program will include both on-the-job and off-the-job techniques in order to achieve a more holistic learning experience for the participants. Combining on-the-job and off-the-job training is also of significant advantage as participants are able to apply the skills, knowledge and abilities that they acquired in off-the-job settings on their actual jobs.
1. Classroom Instruction
Classroom instruction can be used to educate and train the employees. Classroom lectures are presentations that cover different topics and concepts. Discussions can also be used. Discussions encourage participants and trainers to freely exchange knowledge, ideas and opinions on a particular subject. Discussions work well when the information presented can be applied in different ways. Discussions also give trainers feedback on how employees are using the knowledge or skills they have learned (Sims 2002).
2. Demonstrations/ Role Plays
Demonstrations are visual instructional techniques. In demonstrations, the instructor performs the behavior or skills to be learned, and the trainees learn by watching. After the trainer models the desired skills or behaviors, trainees are asked not just to imitate the trainer’s performance, but also to apply these skills and behaviors to a sample situation in which different individuals play a certain role. Solving and discussing problems helps trainees learn technical material and content, and role plays are excellent way of applying the interpersonal skills being emphasized in the training (Sims 1998).
3. Case Studies
Case studies use factual, real-life events to illustrate organizational problems and issues. Case studies can be presented through lecture, film, or video, but most case studies are written and handed out as a course materials. Participants read the case study and use what they have learned in the program to analyze the situation (Sims 1998).
4. Games and Exercises
Games and exercises are one of the most creative and enjoyable training methods. Most training games and exercise have competition, playing rules, and a designated finish time or final score. As learning activities, games offer a number of advantages. They add variety and zest to training programs and get learners actively involved. They allow trainees to acquire knowledge, practice and apply skills, review materials, and ultimately achieve course objectives. They are versatile and easily incorporated into different types of training, whether an instructor-led classroom course or a computer-based instructional program (Sims 2002).
Evaluation of the Training Initiative
The formative evaluation will be used to measure the potential effect of the training program. The formative evaluation will be conducted during the design process of the training program. A formative evaluation according to Sims (1998) defines and refines training materials to maximize learning and achieve particular results. The purpose is to create a training initiative that has the greatest impact possible.
1. One-to-One Evaluation
The one-to-one evaluation will involved a human resource staff, a training professional and members of the target audience and management. The aim of the one-to-one evaluation, according to Sims (1998) is to review training techniques and materials for appropriateness, clarity of language, instructions, and effect.
2. Pilot Test
The purpose of the pilot test is to obtain feedback from a large sample of the planned training audience. Properly conducted, the pilot test answers several questions about the training initiative’s design (Sims 1998).
At the end of the pilot test, an evaluation will be conducted in order to assess the effectiveness of the training program.
Summative evaluation assesses whether a new training initiative has met its objectives. It also helps to ensure the continued success of an ongoing training initiative, Summative evaluation measures the impact of training on participants and on the organization. The summative evaluation aims to assess the effectiveness of the training program through different points. These points are:
3. Training Methods
The summative evaluation will be conducted after training has ended. In order to avoid disruption with the training session, an evaluation form will be handed to each participant during the last session. The participants will be given time to fill out the evaluation form.
Evaluating the Training Initiative
The general categories to be evaluated are adapted form Suchman (1967). These are:
1. Evaluation of the Effort – assesses input regardless of the output.
2. Evaluation of performance – focuses on the results of the initiative.
3. Evaluation of Adequacy – determines how effective the initiative was.
4. Evaluation of Efficiency – concerned with alternate ways of achieving the same ends that are more efficient in terms of money, time, human resources, materials, and convenience.
5. Evaluations of Process – focuses on the operation of a training initiative, with emphasis on how and why it works or does not work (cited in Sims 1998, p. 136).
Clardy, A. B. (1996). Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and
Applications Workbook. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kraiger, K. (2002). Decision-Based Evaluation. In K. Kraiger (Ed.). Creating, Implementing, and Managing Effective Training and Development: State-Of-The-Art Lessons for Practice (pp. 331-375). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Sims, R. (1998). Reinventing Training and Development. Westport CT: Quorum Books.
Sims, R. (2002). Organizational Success through Effective Human Resources Management. Westport CT: Quorum Books.
Suchman E. (1967). Evaluating Research. New York: Russell Sage.
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