5 building blocks of efficient hotel housekeeping training
Just like any other professionals, housekeeping employees need to continue honing their skills and learning new ones during the course of their careers. However, it’s not uncommon to see instances in which housekeeping and general hotel management practices equate training processes with onboarding new employees and end them once the new hires are ready to start working.
If you want to create a strong housekeeping team that will keep your hotel pristine and your guests coming back time and time again, training needs to be treated as an ongoing process that hotel managers must invest valuable time and resources into in order to get the best possible results.
No matter how experienced a housekeeping team member is, ongoing training can help to improve their performance, keep them engaged, and expand their skill set. Furthermore, providing your veteran staff members with continued training and professional support allows them to assume mentoring roles and help implement your training programs that are designed for newer staff members.
As is the case with any job, routine and practice are imperative, which is exactly what training provides. During the course of their hotel housekeeping training, your new and current employees are able to make mistakes and learn from them without having these mistakes negatively affect your guests.
Just like every aspect of the hotel management business, training has also evolved considerably by wholeheartedly embracing the benefits of technology. Now more than ever, with hotels and other hospitality businesses working through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to make sure that your housekeeping staff is both properly and efficiently trained to deal with the intensified health and safety protocols that have become a lasting part of this “new reality” of ours.
As leaders in the proliferation of technology in housekeeping and property management, these are the five pillars that we believe lead to the creation of a modern, efficient, and effective hotel housekeeping training program and process.
1. In-Person Training and Shadowing
The first and foundational housekeeping training sessions that you provide to your housekeeping staff should be held in person, either by management or by veteran team members who have been trained to onboard new staff members. While in-person training sounds like a technique that should be considered out-dated with so much technology available, it’s still an imperative practice in the early stages of the training process.
There are key principles and values that need to be instilled in your new staff from the start and there’s no better way to do this than through personalized communication. In-person talks and training sessions also serve to minimize anxiety and nervousness that new hires might have entering the job. While everyone can learn how to use technology, especially with how intuitive hotel management and housekeeping software has become, it’s not uncommon for new hires to have no previous experience with such tools.
In-person training sessions should be used to make your new hires comfortable and help them feel part of the team. It’s a time to instill your values in them and talk about what is expected from them in terms of culture, behavior, attitude, etiquette, and interaction.
The first few housekeeping training sessions should also include actual job training in the form of shadowing. The best way to make sure that your new employees are learning to perform their tasks properly is by letting them see firsthand how to do things correctly by having them tag along with a veteran team member.
When these initial training sessions and lessons have been instilled properly in a new hire, reinforcing them through other, less personal, methods becomes much easier.
2. Video Tutorials
Once the foundation has been laid for your new staff through in-person sessions, training can continue efficiently by leveraging technology. Creating video tutorials for your new staff is a great way to facilitate quick and effective training. One of the great things about creating digital content to use in your training sessions is the fact that trainees will be able to reference them quickly whenever they need a refresher or detailed guidance.
While there are countless ways in which you can use video and other digital materials to improve your hospitality training process, short and simple videos taken on your smartphone can be used to provide instruction on the following important aspects of the job:
- Technology: If you’re using housekeeping software to keep track of your team’s daily tasks, schedule employee shifts, and communicate internally but your staff members are new to these types of apps and tools, creating videos to educate them on how they work can be incredibly helpful in the onboarding process.
- Cleaning Technique: Creating videos can be a great way to show your new employees the preferred cleaning techniques your hotel management recommends and clearly demonstrate the desired results you expect from your cleaning staff. Experienced staff members should be able to help create these videos in order to set the standard for best practices when it comes to cleanliness by highlighting the best and most effective cleaning techniques.
- Equipment and Product Use: A big part of running a successful housekeeping team is making sure that your staff is using all of the cleaning equipment and products correctly to ensure that they are staying safe, your equipment is being maintained, and cleaning products are being used properly.
The best thing about video tutorials is that they can be very easily edited and updated whenever necessary.
3. Photo Tutorials
Taking pictures to show new hires how things should be done is even easier than making videos and can be just as effective. While there are some tasks that would probably require detailed videos for employees to properly understand, there are many others that can be effectively illustrated via simple photographs.
For example, presentation tips related to your employee uniforms might be something that can very easily be demonstrated via photographs. If there is a certain way that you want uniforms to be worn, especially if details are very important to you, showing exactly what you are looking for through photographs would be a good idea.
Hotels are also often very particular about the presentation in their rooms and dining areas. Photos can be used to clearly demonstrate what a made bed should look like, how towels should be stacked, how napkins should be folded, and so on.
4. Detailed Checklists
Checklists have long been a preferred method for keeping track of tasks and establishing protocols that need to be followed by housekeeping staff. Checklists are now even easier to introduce to your staff because they can now be distributed digitally.
Digital checklists can be used by everyone, from the housekeeping staff to managers, in order to make sure that all tasks have been completed and that everything is running smoothly.
Checklists have been used by hotel management for decades for the simple reason that they really do work. They work because they clearly define work goals and show staff how to achieve those goals in simple and incremental steps that are easily manageable.
Breaking down goals into smaller, more manageable steps keeps your staff motivated and makes the entire process of completing a task less stressful and arduous. This reasoning has been confirmed by psychologists as well, who claim that every small achievement that’s checked off a to-do list results in a feeling of pleasure and motivation through the brain’s release of dopamine.
Digital checklists provide an easy way to manage your staff and the tasks that they need to perform while providing them with a greater sense of purpose and achievement while they perform their daily activities.
5. Easily Accessible SOPs
The beauty of technology and housekeeping management apps is that everything is right at your fingertips and available in your pocket, no matter where you are located within the facility. That’s what makes housekeeping training solutions like video/photo tutorials and digital checklists so effective, the fact that they can be easily accessed at all times.
The same goes for digital standard operation procedures (SOPs) that both housekeepers and managers can have available to them on their mobile devices at all times. The importance and reasons behind having SOPs are fairly self-explanatory; they help hotels and other hospitality businesses uphold their standards of quality in every branch of their operation, housekeeping included. Using digital SOPs for hospitality training and evaluation purposes on a daily basis can help hotel managers achieve the following:
- Health and Safety Compliance: Health and safety compliance has never been more important than today in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with the many added protocols that hotels must adhere to in order to keep their guest safe. SOPs make it easier to ensure that your facility is in compliance with all relevant health and safety regulations.
- Continued Training: As mentioned earlier, training needs to be viewed as a continuous and cyclical process. Keeping your business’s SOPs constantly updated is a big part of that process.
- Branding and Customer Service Standards: SOPs exist in order to define and then meet the high standards that you expect of your staff and facility as a whole. Making sure that SOPs are respected and upheld will go a long way towards maintaining and increasing your hotel’s credibility and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.