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Next month, the Living Wage comes into force across the UK. The upcoming change will mean that many employers will have to tighten their belts in order to pay for this increase in minimum wage. But does this mean cutting corners on employee development?

According to PwC, the hospitality and leisure industry will be hardest hit, with the new Living Wage predicted to cost the industry £13.2m by 2020.1 But with the sector already facing an ongoing battle with a ‘revolving door’ culture, an issue which studies have shown directly relates to the time and money invested in training both new and existing staff, how can hospitality businesses ensure they are getting the most out of their investment in employee L&D?

Today’s workplace is more distributed, diverse and multigenerational than ever before. Hourly employee hires in restaurants have a median age ranging from 21 to 24 years,2 and younger workers have high expectations when it comes to their training. 85% of restaurant companies reported an increase in the use of e-learning last year,3 and done well, online learning is often more effective when it comes to engaging tech-savvy learners.

But that doesn’t mean wowing employees with bells and whistles – modern learners don’t want to be impressed, they just want to learn, and providing easy access to training solutions which work simply and simply work will help you get the most out of your workforce without breaking the bank.

Condensing lengthy classroom training sessions into bite-sized e-learning courses which can be completed during downtime in the workplace is also a key benefit of e-learning, enabling fast-paced businesses to save valuable time and resources. And what’s more, having a solid foundation of e-learning content can streamline and simplify compliance training and act as a self-service resource library for learners looking to refresh their knowledge whenever and wherever they need it.

Making the most of your existing resources is also a key way to combat shrinking L&D budgets, and mentoring is fast becoming one of the most effective ways of developing staff. Not only is peer-to-peer coaching a powerful tool for driving employee engagement, but intergenerational mentoring can also help drive essential skills sharing. For example, whilst older workers may lead on customer service training, younger workers could lead on training or confidence building in the use of new technologies in the workplace.

Employees like to feel that their employers are investing in their careers, and demonstrating that you are developing staff is a powerful tool for recruitment and retention. Informal learning is on the rise, and in addition to coaching and mentoring, making simple changes such as tracking informal conversations and actively measuring aspects of on-the-job training can help you show employees that they are being continuously developed and supported in their day-to-day role.

At a time when many businesses are feeling the pinch, looking ahead and making even small changes to the way you manage employee L&D can not only help you streamline processes and make vital resource savings, but staying in touch with the changing needs of your learners will help ensure you get the most out of your L&D strategy, now and in the future.

1. PwC (2015). Taking proactive stance on National Living Wage
2. Transforming Data into Knowledge (2015). Trends in Hospitality Training and Development Study
3. Transforming Data into Knowledge (2015). Trends in Hospitality Training and Development Study

Learn more about how we are supporting the hospitality industry at kallidus.com

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