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Training and development has no shelf life

19 August 2019

Investing in learning and development (L&D) can seem like an unnecessary expense in the hospitality industry, especially if money’s tight. However, if you find your cleaning and hygiene standards slipping, poor L&D procedures may be the culprit. Katie Martinelli offers some advice

How can poor L&D result in slipping hygiene standards?

L&D involves providing your employees with the skills and knowledge needed to carry out their roles safely and in a way that improves team and organisational performance. Part of this is ensuring that employees are effectively trained in day-to-day duties like hygiene, cleaning, and food safety. These practices are essential for ensuring that your organisation complies with the law. 

So, how can you ensure that your employees meet legal standards? The answer: proper learning and development policies and procedures. 

An essential part of L&D in the hospitality industry is compliance training. Without appropriate L&D, your workforce may be confused about their duties or how to carry them out properly. Because of this, you may find that essential cleaning procedures are carried out incorrectly or accidently missed completely. 

For example, bar staff may know they are responsible for bar hygiene, including routine tasks like the daily wipe down and weekly beer line cleaning. However, they may not realise that they are also responsible for cleaning the ice machine, as it’s housed in the kitchen. Conversely, the kitchen staff may believe this is a bar job, as they don’t use the ice. The result: poor hygiene and cleaning practices.

Compliance training in hospitality

So, how do you combat poor practices in the workplace? You should start by assessing your L&D activities. 

Compliance training is vital for ensuring the success of a business and should be an essential part of your L&D strategy. For the hospitality industry, compliance training should include food hygiene and safety, allergen awareness and HACCP training.

Employees must understand how to work safely and prevent food safety breaches. If there is a breach on your premises, you can only use the defence of ‘due-diligence’ if you can prove you’ve done everything ‘reasonably possible’ to ensure safety – this includes appropriately training employees on their legal duties and ensuring they can carry out their roles safely. Failing to properly communicate legal duties to them can result in lost business, poor reputation, fines and even imprisonment (for serious cases).

However, sometimes it can feel hard to fit in training, as the hospitality industry is fast-paced and customer-facing, with employees often working long hours. However, online training and bitesize learning are quickly becoming a flexible, consistent and cost-effective replacement for traditional face-to-face training. Investing in high-quality online compliance courses will help you ensure your employees understand their legal duties and can work up to code.

Don’t check out of hospitality hygiene

L&D doesn’t just end with compliance training. To retain high cleaning and hygiene standards, it needs to be an ongoing process. 

Workers must understand how to incorporate the principles they’ve learnt from compliance training in practice. Coaching and mentoring new employees are excellent ways to ensure workers feel supported, understand their responsibilities, and incorporate them into their roles. Having effective coaching in place means that you’ll maintain high standards and build collaborative teams.

You should also be prepared for holiday and sick leave. Who can cover essential cleaning and hygiene duties? Are they aware they need to cover? Have they had the appropriate training to carry out these duties competently?

Finally, your organisation should have policies and procedures in place that outline employee duties. These duties should be thoroughly communicated to everyone, so each worker understands exactly what is expected of them and what tasks they must carry out. Experienced employees should champion these policies and support new staff in carrying out their duties effectively. 

With these L&D strategies and clear policies you’ll help your business to maintain high standards and, ultimately, comply with the law.

Katie Martinelli is learning and development analyst at High Speed Training