Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Training - A Long-Term Investment

I find it ironic that at a time when we are asking more and more of our Managers, that Hotel companies are, for the most part, investing in them less and less over time.

How can we expect to create “Leaders” out of Managers when our investment in them is so low over time?

If you think about it, the training metric goes down in concert with the increase in tenure, except perhaps as it relates to line staff, which is the exception to the rule.

When we hire staff, the emphasis is on ensuring that enough time is spent with them so that they can adequately represent the values and culture of our business to our customers, the guest. Time and money well spent – no argument from me.

Then, when we have a new service or amenity come out, Brand training is emphasized and sometimes to the point where Managers must in fact demonstrate that their employees attended the training, or the Manager risks some form of retribution for not having the right “attitude” about employee training.

However, as and when someone becomes a Manager, especially for the first time, they are often thrown into the position with little more than an orientation to the position, sometimes from the outgoing Manager. Regardless of how it is handled, it is nonetheless, woefully inadequate for what we then ask of these people.

I do not remember who once used the expression to describe middle Managers as “the meat in the sandwich.” It isn’t sexy, but it is accurate. They are stuck in the middle with their employees below them and their Director or GM above them and they are trying to keep both sides of the equation happy on a day-to-day basis.

These are also often the people that are first on the scene in an emergency, as they are usually right there already. It’s a lot to handle, and a lot to ask of them.

Is it too much to ask that we train them and continue to invest in training for them, preferably at a level that continues to match their escalation through the ranks of Management?

These are often the unsung heroes in our business, (without intending to be too dramatic). They slog it away day after day, working long hours, covering absences and no-shows at the last minute, and their staff either love them, and would walk through fire for them, or, they hate them, and the cancer of negativity is running rampant through their department.

Either way, a consistent focus on training will make the good Manager exceptional, and it will help you to weed out the bad Manager.

If we’re going to continue to ask our Manager to “do more with less” how about we make an exception and train them on how to do that effectively? Money well spent, and an investment in Leadership, theirs and yours.

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