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Thirteen Best Practices for Hospitality Training Managers & Directors

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By Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS

  1. Plan, produce and monitor the annual training budget.  Successful training efforts do not just happen.  A team leader must work with HR and department heads to identify probable needs and create a viable plan to help operations meet those needs.

  2. Formulate all learning & professional development related policies and procedures and update routinely.   As with business forecasts, training needs to be anticipated and evaluated at least quarterly.

  3. Prepare appropriate training needs analyses and career development plans.    This is as much for the individual participating in training as it is for the organization.  We all like to know "what's in it for me" and having career path potentials can assist both department heads and associates "think ahead."

  4. Plan, produce and monitor the annual learning & professional development master schedule.   Training needs to be ingoing.  When one steps back and recognizes the changes in technology, the green movement, online learning and more, it becomes obvious that as in #2 above, there is a logical need for a longer term plan with the requirement for updates.

Delivery and Evaluation

  1. Support the timely scheduling and posting of the following month's Training Calendar, incorporating security and safety training sessions to all Department Heads and Executive Committee Members monthly. With the increasing potential of terrorism in hotels and hospitality businesses, the need to regularly review updates and the property's plans are essential.

  2. Assist the Quality Assurance or other managers in monitoring and consolidating month-end training activity reports from all departments. Some properties have limited training staff, but all information relating to professional development and training activities should be recapped in monthly training activity recaps. We all recall the expression, "what gets measured, gets done!"

  3. Assess changes in guest needs, the hotel's guest mix, and industry and competitive trends.  Markets change, products and services evolve and having someone who interacts with the front line regularly is an excellent resource to recommend appropriate product, service and operational changes that might improve the guest experience and associate satisfaction. Properties that set our to establish and  maintain market domination frequently enjoy outstanding financial results.

  4. Monitor and ensure that all training and development programs are carried out within the allocated budget. Budgets should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as needed, but not overlooked.  Training is not the place for major savings, unless perhaps one is considering delaying a major new initiative for a short period of time such as one quarter.

  5. Identify and make available external instructors as necessary to fulfill training objectives.   This column has focused on internal trainers, but there are times when external resources are essential.

  6. Conduct New Hire Orientation program for all new employees using current property, brand and/or corporate standards.  The expression about making the right first impression remains essential.

  7. Lead New Manager Orientation, clearly reviewing associate handbook information, brand, corporate and property standards.  New managers must understand the organizational values and operating procedures from day one.

  8. Oversee and/or conduct compliance courses. As in #5 that discussed safety and security, the need for attention to reasonable care continues to grow.  Programs that address product safety and potential liability, such as TIPS and Food Handler, and others involving Safety and/or Security should be addressed, monitored and measured. Some may be mandated by local, provincial/state and/or national  government agencies, but attention must be ramped up here.  Part of my work includes expert witness and/or consulting on legal issues and there needs to be specific attention paid to these issues by the major brands, as well as individual hotel owners, managers and franchisees.

  9. Lead by example. I have personally been an advocate in my career in ongoing learning. Professional certifications in a wide range of specialties in learning and operations are extremely beneficial because everyone benefits. Trainers need positive  leadership and interpersonal skills, yet must also maintain a sense of perspective for those learning.


Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
United States - Phoenix,
Phone: 602-799-5375