Whether it’s face-to-face training or online courses, tried and tested methods are essential for learning and development strategies. However, living in the time that we do, there are various ways to broaden your employees’ learning experience. It’s a case of thinking outside the box to keep your employees learning in a way that’s engaging, fun and relevant. Here are five ideas to give you food for thought…

Yammer

For those who haven’t heard, Microsoft-owned Yammer is a private cloud-based social network designed specifically for businesses. The great thing about Yammer is that it’s suitable for companies of all sizes and enables employees to collaborate across departments, locations, content and business applications. From a learning perspective, Yammer is all about sharing knowledge and showcasing different ways of doing things. As a social network, it’s also something that will rouse employees’ interest and provoke them to get involved in the conversation. From Xerox to KLM, there’s no shortage of positive case studies on Yammer.

Workplace by Facebook

Workplace by Facebook is a similar tool to Yammer in that employers can connect everyone in their business, with a community that encourages group discussion, delivers a personalised news-feed and enables voice and video calling. However, its biggest advantage is that it’s based on familiar Facebook features, so most users will require little or no training due to their personal experience gained (if they have any). As an ad-free space, it runs separately to the public version of Facebook; users have their own professional profiles which they can develop and follow their co-workers. Crucially, it’s been designed to help companies build their own culture, a platform where openness, feedback and diversity are the core values.

Literature

Reading books is a traditional way of consuming information, but it’s often overlooked as a learning method for employees. We are starting to see hospitality companies use literature for improving core and niche skills – and for good reason. Books, especially those of a business nature, are a great way to inspire learning in your budding managers. If you have anyone who displays a flair or interest in one specific area, a short and snappy book can only feed their appetite and further their interest. In addition to this, it’s important not to forget the impact reading has; it can improve vocabulary, comprehension, written skills and open your eyes to new ways of thinking.

Activity Days

To provide a source of enrichment for employees, activity days are becoming more popular in the hospitality industry. From butchery to brewery tours, these experiences are a great way to add enjoyment into the learning equation. It might be something completely new to your employees which can help them build essential product knowledge and develop a genuine passion for their role. Perhaps one of the most important advantages of activity days is the fact they complement your core methods of training; an opportunity for them to put their knowledge into practice.

Staff Champions

Let’s say you’re launching a new menu or selling a new product… wouldn’t it be great to have a dedicated person who takes the lead on this project and learns all there is to know? Allocating a member of staff to champion a specific subject/product/menu shows that you’re placing importance in their role. If there’s one thing we know about today’s customer, it’s they care about aspects like provenance; they want to know how it’s brewed or where it’s grown. The idea of having a staff champion(s) is an innovative way of answering your customers’ questions, whilst simultaneously developing staff in the process.