Why Don't We Train Hospitality Staff Like We Train Pilots? by@hollyszakal

Why Don't We Train Hospitality Staff Like We Train Pilots?

One may think the use of training simulation in pilots is purely reserved for safety, in this case specifically, not to crash a plane. But there are many benefits of learning skills off-site or training employees under simulation modules. The airline industry has evidently hit a home run in its onboarding procedures. So how can we start expanding this training method into an industry struggling to retain post-pandemic staff?
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Holly Szakal

Holly Szakal is a blended e-commerce copywriter and tech writer who lives and breathes writing.


When boarding a plane, what preoccupies your mind? Is it how much you can physically fit in you from the free snack menu before having to unbutton your pants and expand into the seat of your neighboring traveler? Or is it the nagging thought of whether your favorite Tom Hanks movie is on the seatback screen?


As the flight reaches altitude, our attention turns to whether Jenny several rows behind knows how to calm her screaming child down instead of the orchestra the pilot is conducting upfront.


Finally, we hit play on Tom Hanks and settle in, waiting for the air hostess to bring us our free snacks, waiting to expand into our neighbor's seat.


However, during this entire auto-pilot experience, we forget that the men and women who live their 9 to 5 above the clouds are some of the most thoroughly trained professionals on this planet.


Airline aviation has become the safest long-distance travel in the world due to its rigorous training procedures throughout the initial period of a pilot's career. We can look to thank simulators for such a milestone.


One may think the use of training simulation is purely reserved for safety, in this case specifically, not to crash a plane. But there are many benefits of learning skills off-site or training employees under simulation modules.

The airline industry has evidently hit a home run in its onboarding procedures. So how can we start expanding this training method into an industry struggling to retain post-pandemic staff?


Planes and Beers? What's The Correlation Here?

With 3.5 million Americans having left the workforce to pursue more independent means of financial stability since March 2020, one-third who walked out the door were hospitality workers.


There is an intrinsic mindset in the hospitality industry of "figure it out or get out”.


Your first day may look like this: you are thrown in front of customers with no prior training and expectations to learn on the go. The first 8 hours are commonly met with demanding, impatient, and sometimes intoxicated customers. Stress levels sit at an all-time high as you must prove your absolute best self to your new boss, who is most likely watching you on the cameras above, all while being completely unaware of where the dirty cutlery goes. **

Down under, in Australia, a country also grappling with a staff crisis, this mentality engrains itself into more profound levels. The expectation is that you fulfill an illegal, unpaid 'trial shift' showcasing your best skills to land the job within a short 3-hour time frame, with no prior training. Why would you need it? The mentality is that you should know what you’re doing without being told.


Back home in the U.S, 64% of those working in hospitality have said that their job is their most prominent source of stress. A lack of ethical training to build up the confidence of those serving us our Friday night drinks may be why we specifically see a significant turnover crisis in this sector. With 78% of restaurants admitting they don't have enough staff to fulfill the current demand, it is a no-brainer that this industry is in dire need of change in its onboarding and  training procedures in order to make a lasting impression from the get-go.


New measures must be implemented fast to maintain employee stress levels, such as more specific training procedures to retain staff who can comfortably and fluidly meet customer demand quickly and efficiently, in a calm and collected manner.


We can look to onboarding simulation modules to immerse new hires in dynamic environments before they step foot in a demanding new workplace, thus alleviating stress and boosting confidence for those joining a new team to learn the ropes off-site, with the outcome of turnover levels reflecting an upward trend for employers in the process.

How Can Simulation-Based Modules Help An Industry In Turmoil?

When thoroughly engaged in an activity, humans retain information more in-depth and learn at a faster rate.


In hospitality, as mentioned, you're thrown into the chaos of it all. However, 9 to 5 in the office traditionally consists of digital learning known as a mandatory 2004-styled PDF handbook or training videos, similar to the style of self-paced online learning, which has been shown to have a significant failure rate.

Think back to being a student flicking through a textbook in high school. Were you engaged? How much do you remember? Having employees click their way through mandatory procedures brings a mundane approach to training instead of immersing new hires head-first into the excitement of beginning a potentially career-changing opportunity.


Dave and Buster’s New Hire On-boading Immersive Module Developed by NIDUM.

Dave and Buster’s New Hire On-boading Immersive Module Developed by NIDUM.


There are companies such asNIDUM that are further strengthening the human connection that is clearly lacking between employees and employers by providing immersive onboarding and training modules that see fit as such.


Immersive learning has shown to be effective in maintaining higher retention capabilities through visualization methods. Employers can create workplace simulations that are highly engaging and easily accessible on a laptop or iPhone through the use of 360 degrees cameras.


Restaurant and bar owners can solve their employee crisis by standing out from the crowd of others grappling with the same issue by offering modules tailored to real-life, busy restaurant service hours to their employees, old and new, thus allowing them to gain complete comfortability at work before dealing with real-life scenarios.


A new team member can familiarize themselves with the basics—like how the dishwasher works, the specific location of cutlery or glasses, or even learn their way around a point of sale system, all from the comfort of home.


It's not just hospitality. Over in the construction industry, contractors may have to run through a new site's health and safety procedures weekly. By providing contractors the opportunity to complete this training before coming on-site, they can show up on the first day of work and begin immediately, producing a higher productivity rate per employee and saving wages in training temporary contractors.


Overall, those struggling to retain, or hire staff, should look to implement workplace simulations in their hiring and onboarding procedures to gain an opportunity to connect more in depth with the current employment market.


Today's work culture is fed up with being thrown into a pool of stress. In the hardship employers currently face, it's no longer enough to continue doing things the way they've always been. Adaptation to a more modern approach is vital.


Simulation-built modules are just one of the ways a company can connect with the workforce in a more genuine, modern, and stress-free way.


It may not be a 10-million-dollar flight simulator like the airline industry is treated with.

But distancing yourself from the cookie cutter 2004-styled Microsoft Word PDF handbooks by opting to use VR onboarding and training modules will prove to your employees, current, and future, thatyou are a workplace willing to adapt to change, which is what the current workforce is craving to see.

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by Holly Szakal @hollyszakal.Holly Szakal is a blended e-commerce copywriter and tech writer who lives and breathes writing.
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