As Edward Gallier, group learning and development manager for Jurys Inn, explains, their focus in the last two years has been on doing more of their learning online. “Nearly every day, a live webinar is being held for someone, somewhere,” he adds. The company, who partners with Learning Pool using Totara LMS, considers it one of their competitive advantages, especially with a largely under-30 workforce that expects continual professional development and engagement with their team.
Their overarching people-development programme, appropriately entitled GROW, facilitates this professional development pathway for employees so they can identify what skills they need and the career activities for developing them.
GROW won an award in the prestigious E-Learning Age awards in November. Beating off stiff competition from over 350 entries, it was awarded silver in the ‘Best Learning Management System Implementation’ category.
In an interview with TetraMap International, Certified TetraMap Facilitator Edward Gallier took a break from development to explain the need for ongoing learning, why they incorporate TetraMap into this plan, and the changing needs of this Generation Y workforce.
Why have you chosen to incorporate TetraMap into your training programme?
Each year we partner with Leadership Factor who manage our online employee engagement survey. The results and feedback are pillars of the following year’s people strategy. A regular comment around communication may be, for instance, “I would like better communication with my manager.” It isn’t that the team is looking for more emails or newsletters; it’s that they just want better, more frequent conversations with managers. We introduce TetraMap as a day session as part of the ‘impact and influence’ section of GROW. It helps to equip managers with skills to form stronger teams, start to read employees better, and start to respond better to not only their own team members, but guests too. As a manager it’s important you develop influence with your team to have a positive impact on the business. Hospitality isn’t like manufacturing; we are lucky to provide services to our customers directly. You actually see your impact on the person right in front of you.
Why is there a shift in employees to seek out better, more frequent conversations with managers?
Our team members are Generation Y managed by Generation X. About 50% of our 2,000 employees are under 30. It’s a generational need. Generation Y are much more open, they are big into social media, and they’ll share or talk about anything. The Generation X managers can be much more reserved; they talk about work at work, rather than mix work, social, and private together. Younger employees find it very easy to give managers feedback about what it’s like to be a team member and why managers often need to develop the appropriate skills to respond.
What other feedback do you receive from this younger workforce?
The annual surveys indicate that this generation has a high demand for the tools and training for their current job as well as a real need and desire to see a career path for different job roles down the line. They want to see what sort of development they need to fulfil in their current job role to seek a progression with Jurys Inn Group. As a company, we keep a training pathway record online to identify what training needs to take place and how to arrange it.
Why is Learning and Development such a focus for your organisation?
We see Learning and Development as one of a range of benefits when you are part of the Jurys Inn team. Normally we think of benefits as pay, holidays, reward cards etc. But rather than treating L&D as something separate, one of our competitive advantages is our award-winning learning and development. If there wasn’t much difference between us and a competitor on other benefits, our flexible and accessible approach to learning would offer that positive edge on the competition.
Why did you make the switch to online learning?
We are a 24/7 business. Our people who work nights and weekends and part-timers with families often can’t go away to attend face-to-face training. Therefore there were a number of different groups missing out on traditional learning. With our online portal you can learn at your own pace, wherever you want to access content (at work, home, or on mobile devices). Live webinars meant that people could take an hour at work and learn something live or online without having to leave home. We even run webinars in the early morning so night teams can attend.
How has this emphasis on learning been received?
One of the first things we developed was an induction programme called ‘Belong’ to help new recruits settle into the business quickly, become productive sooner, and to help tackle turnover in the first six months of employment. ‘Belong’ consists of 17 online courses that start at home by outlining what to bring and what will happen on the first day so individuals feel comfortable walking into their new job. The next courses begin as soon as they arrive and it carries on from there. Since implementing the programme we’ve seen a reduction in our first six months turnover. There are a lot of costs associated with new employees and statistics indicated that we were losing employees based due to lack of engagement. Now from day one, everyone goes through the same induction programme and this has had a positive impact on the turnover rate.
What’s next in the field of L&D for Jurys Inn?
Online is here to stay and has become a valuable part of the learning and development mix for us. Most people are perfectly fine with it – it’s only every so often we have to hold a hand – and the feedback is so positive. We want to get to the point where people are self-driving their learning. We’ve still got some work to do on learning plans and we’re exploring the online space more in depth. Next year we’ll introduce new software called ‘Encore’ which will send individuals reminders, quizzes etc to their handheld device up to three months later so learning doesn’t drop off post the classroom. It will also encourage employees to continue to apply their learning on the go and reduce the learning fade over time.
Based on your success, can you offer other L&D managers some advice?
If you don’t have a good learning offering in the workplace, people will notice. It’s an absolute selling point for recruitment and it ensures your people are capable now and for the future. Employees might not stay forever, especially in our sector with so much choice and change – the job for life is done. Today individuals are developing portfolio jobs and careers. Employees will work hard for you but when they leave they want to have personally developed during their time with you. A key external recognition product we’ve started to engage with is Open Badges so when an employee moves on they’ll take their backpack full of learned skills with them. It’s got to be good for everyone to display learning achievement in the public space.