Soft Skills and Hospitality: how much are they financially important?

26.03.2019

How to enhance the financial performances thanks to the training and the development of the soft skills in hotel.

Reading time: 1.40’

 

Hospitality is the field that requires its operators a unique combination of skills. The staff, at every stage and role, is required to have both specific technical skills and cross-skills, more commonly known as Soft Skills.

According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, nowadays the Ho.Re.Ca. industry is highly requiring these specific five soft skills, here below indicated:

  • Problem solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Moral and professional ethics and its maintenance

The following results are based on 122.000 employees interviewed:

  • 55% is lacking in Guest management

  • 53% needs improvement in organizational skills

  • 51% shows gaps in oral and linguistic communication

  • 44% has no team spirit.

 

How these numbers influence the hotel industry?

Lack of training has been having a massive impact in terms of performance and productivity in the hotellerie. Guest sensibility is more and more often oriented to the quality of service based on human interaction, the well­‐known H2H that represents the present and the future of this industry.

An easy example is the morning coffee, that can be interesting for everyone: why should we invest our money and time in Café A, where coffee is served by a frustrated and always sulky bartender, when in Café B, that is only some meters away, coffee has the same price but it is served by a smiling and always welcoming bartender?

Anyway, it is easy to understand which café will be soon crowded and which one not. Training and development needs are clear and unquestionable; by the way, the solution is not as easy as it seems.

In the report of the Australian Government about sustainable tourism, “although the hospitality industry recognise that educational institutions are doing a good job, there are anyway some concerns. Apparently, there are many training service providers, who offer a limited and incoherent education and invest in the wrong people, with the unique objective to obtain the educational subsidy”. In the report is is claimed that “the most negative impacting aspect of the actual training in the hotels is that the majority of trainers don’t come from the field and are not able to adequately evaluate the staff while working at the minimum standards. Nonetheless, the material provided is too old and must be updated: the modules are too generic and difficult to apply on a daily basis”.

 

Which steps towards the solution?

The first essential step is recruiting: be as meticulous as possible while selecting your staff and be able to identify, beyond the competencies, also the talent and the passion for hospitality while interviewing. These additional resources will surely represent a ROI while entering in the team.

The second step is the commonly called on­‐boarding.

  • How are the new team members welcomed?
  • Are they literally thrown in the fray without any kind of training or are they trained in a complete and conscious manner?
  • Is this essential step in every management member’s plan?

Investing in the right initial training represents a secure and efficient transmission of know-­‐how and product knowledge. This is an essential element for providing the so called ‘know how to do’ that will find a sound basis for a ‘know what to be’.

The third step is the managerial training. When top and middle management put their efforts in the training, they influence the whole company culture in a positive way and it doesn’t make any difference if it is a common pub or a Michelin star restaurant.

 

Some concrete suggestions:

  • Organize regular meetings with the staff and create a positive focus on internal training. Team members will be happy to share with the management the aspects in which they sometimes feel insecure, and it will be easier for them to do it in an open forum where they can freely express themselves.
  • Consider third-‐parties for training and ad hoc consultations on a yearly basis. these courses are the occasions to introduce new specific abilities and professional soft skills in your company.
  • Highlight the importance of training as a reward for the participating team members, avoid to consider it as a waste of time. It will help to create a better experience for the Guests and to strengthen the competencies of the whole staff while providing services.

In addition, you could with pleasure learn that a constant training and a particular attention to the positive performances contribute to improve the motivation if the staff and consequently, the business volumes. Investing in a high-­‐quality company culture and management efforts to support the training activities enhance productivity by up to 17% (Gallup Research 2017).

 

Good job,

 

Hospite’s team