Hotel Online Special Report

Considering Factors that  Influence Training Accountability in the Hospitality Industry
by Andreas Gunawan Putra - 15 October 1999 - 

Training is generally acknowledged as an important ‘vehicle’ for the hospitality industry.  There have been a lot of facts, reviews and manuscripts to support this. Besides, generally known that training is also seen as an investment rather than just ‘a regular program’ activity.  Indeed, lots of researchers have acknowledged that the traditional view of training entails the following three components that can be useful to render the effectiveness of training programs.

  1. A methodical assessment of training needs analysis to ensure that a training program addresses issues and problems within the hospitality industry. A thorough needs analysis is used to determine where in the organization training is needed, which employees require training, and what knowledge and or skills are required.
  1. Applying an appropriate training tools/methods to deliver content based on training needs analysis. The training methods depend upon the program’s objectives. Methods can be on the job training or off the job instruction. And each method is best utilized under particular conditions determined by the desired outcomes.
  1. A wide-ranging evaluation of the program applying numerous different evaluation criteria and strategies to ascertain whether the desired outcomes have been achieved.
However, the problem appears to be narrowed on training specific features per se and it also seems that these components exclude such consideration of factors outside the training boundaries that could influence the effectiveness of any training effort.  This outside factors could be individual and work environment that may also associate with training effectiveness. 

Therefore, training effectiveness, which is arguably, may not be able to stand firm with the instructional design and or contextual factors alone, but it may be caused by some ‘unidentified factors’ that tend to be ‘left out’ in every single discussion.  Therefore, it is very interesting to explore what these ‘unidentified factors’ are.

Many questions have been arisen in educational literatures or empirical evidence that managers should ask how much money we spent on training in relation to employees’ perceptions of the value of training.  Although, it may be useful to know whether perceptions about training are in line with companies’ financial commitments to this activity, it seems that the question has gone to the wrong address.  The issue is not ‘how much’, or ‘what employees’ think’, or ‘what methods’, but the issue is of what makes training effective.

Nevertheless, such an approach suggests that if desired results are not achieved with a considerable level of training expenditure, perceptions, or delivery issues, management will search for a reason for the failure and probably focusing on to the one of the three components above or could be all of them.  Thus, such a failure may in fact have nothing to do with the training itself, because ‘unidentified factors’ may affect training effectiveness.

The next thing is trying to find out the factors outside the training boundaries that appear to influence training effectiveness.

1. Individuals characteristics

  • Individual’s ability to learn and acquire new knowledge and skills can have a direct influence on training preparation and performance.  Some of the factors that individual should have is his or her ability to construct and evaluate problematical information. If trainees possess these, thus learning would be comparatively quick and efficient. Individuals’ ability can be assessed throughout the selection process and to make selection decisions, managers must know about the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to perform the essential tasks and duties.
  • An individual’s attitude toward work may also affect his or her willingness to apply the newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job after training has been accomplished. Such individuals’ commitment should also be considered to ensure his or her desire to achieve good performance. Indeed, if individuals possess a high degree of commitment to their jobs, it is very likely they will regard training as valuable and easy to transfer their new ‘capital’ back on the job.
  • Individuals’ willingness may lead to increase their motivation.  In addition, those who are motivated to go to training are more likely to learn and  use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to the workplace.  Now the issue is how to enhance motivation.  It is managers’ job to boost their motivation and to understand employees’ values and needs. To find out which motivation - either external motivation or internal motivation or can be both -, managers must constantly examine and work together with their employees.
2. Working atmosphere
  • Working atmosphere may have a considerable impact on someone’s preparation for and transfer of training. Hospitality managers must be concerned with factors such as individuals awareness about the work situation and systems as they influence learning and performance. 
  • Social association may also play a major element of the work environment that can influence training effectiveness.  Organization’s social norms and values that support learning can have a positive impact on an individual’s willingness to attend and learn during training, as well as to transfer learning back to the job. Peers support can also be successful to encourage individuals to use the newly acquired knowledge and skills. ‘Buddy’ system is very helpful for someone who remains unsure to apply newly gained skills and knowledge.
  • Organizational systems such as the appraisal and reward systems.  Performance appraisal is used to identify performance discrepancies and this will form the training needs analysis to determine the exact cause of performance gap.  Furthermore, if someone can demonstrate a great performance, he or she should be rewarded. And this can be seen through every individual who shows what they have acquired through training.
  • Finally, continuing learning may have a major impact on the effectiveness of training. Programs such as mentoring, apprenticeships, traineeships, cadetships, attending professional seminars can too influence the effectiveness of training, especially when these learning opportunities accompaniment what has been gained through training.
It should be noted that there is more to training per se than the assessment of needs, methods and proper evaluation.  For training to be fully maximized, managers must look beyond the training boundaries and examine the individual and work environment factors that have a significant influence on training effectiveness.
Andreas Gunawan Putra
Graduate School of Management
University of Western Sydney Nepean
[email protected]
Also See: Reservation Sales Training Program Available via the Internet is Enhanced / March 1999 
Promus Hotel Corporation Training Program to Develop a New Type of Hotel Executive / March 1999 

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