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Ready When You Are: The Power of Online Training (Part Two)

This is part two of a three-part series covering the significant benefits of incorporating online training into the suite of staff development tools your club uses to prepare employees and managers to deliver excellence every day.


In Part One of this three-part series on the value of online training, we stressed how online training programs—always available, ready-when-you-are—can help ensure that your club’s members are not merely satisfied with their membership experience, but become raving fans.

We know through long experience that staff and management training, both in-person and online, is crucial to a club’s efforts to make certain that employees and supervisors are fully prepared to provide the highest level of service from the first day they show up for work until the day they leave.

There is growing consensus within the hospitality industry that online training can and should be an integral part of your staff and management development toolkit. And as you consider what role e-learning can play in your training plan, it’s important to understand that the benefits accrue not just to the club itself, but to the employees themselves.

The good news for club managers is that the staff wants to be trained. In fact, many employees expect it to be a part of the work experience. A 2016 report entitled, “The State of American Jobs,” published by the renowned Pew Research Center, found that 47% of workers in the hospitality industry see training and skills development as an essential part of their work life.

Younger workers in particular want their employers to prepare them for the future. That’s important to know since younger workers, aged between 18 and 34 years old, will make up 75% of the workforce by 2020.

If your club doesn’t know how to engage and inspire that generation, it will be at a severe disadvantage in recruiting and retaining a competent workforce, but also in maintaining service standards and member satisfaction once they are hired.

It’s no secret that younger people today disdain rigid structures and hierarchies, and aren’t nearly as deferential to authority figures as earlier generations might have been. They want a respectful, reciprocal relationship with their bosses. They are highly attuned to building and establishing personal relationships and, of course, to technology. If it’s got a screen, they’ll be keen.

Smart club managers know that their training practices must adapt to this new reality. They’ve figured out that if they want an effective, efficient, high-functioning young staff, they’ll need to meet them on their terms.

In an article by Toast, trainer David Hayden is quoted as saying,

“When you’re teaching millennials, you have to mentor them, not manage them. When you do that, they will remain loyal, and they will want to learn more from your company.”

Because online instruction employs methods and technologies with which younger workers are comfortable, it’s a great way to begin the crucial process of engagement, that, of course, will also include hands-on, real-life instruction, as well.

Reaching younger workers is part of the broader issue of how to engage employees in their tasks and foster commitment to the goals of the company. In 2012, Gallup conducted a “State of the Global Workplace” study and found that in the United States, only 29% of workers are engaged in their work, while 54% are not, including 18% who are actively disengaged. Gallup defines engagement as being psychologically committed to a job and being likely to make positive contributions.

Online learning empowers employees of all ages. It gives your team the tools it needs to be successful and promote career growth and does so more successfully than on-the-job training alone.

New employees are naturally nervous about their ability to do their job well and to understand the precise nature of their tasks, the rules and requirements of the private club environment, and the nuances of a club’s particular culture. They also may need to learn new skills that either they have never needed before, or which were applied differently at a previous job.

One of the greatest benefits of online training is that no matter when a new employee comes onboard, basic instruction will be there on day one.

They won’t need to wait until either large-group hands-on training is scheduled or a supervisor has the time to sit down with them and bring them into the system. Online instruction eliminates the lag between an employee’s start date and the day they become full contributors to a club’s success. That’s obviously great for management, but it’s also great for the employee.

Early, comprehensive instruction helps increase confidence, which leads to heightened job satisfaction. And the more satisfied the employee, and the more they believe the club cares about their success, the greater the likelihood that they will stay.

This is particularly true if training is continuous, not just rolled out at the beginning during the onboarding process. Every club seeks to confront the perpetually challenging task of recruiting and retaining staff and managers and online tools can be one piece in the solution to that puzzle.

Again, because e-learning capabilities are always there, and require no new significant expenditures of time and money by the club, it’s easier to give staff (and managers!) refreshers or introduce new skills after a promotion, for instance. Used in conjunction with traditional hands-on training, online instruction can lead to enhanced mastery of tasks and improved knowledge.

But just as importantly, it can be crucial in reinforcing club values and culture and reiterating practices and procedures. The easy availability of computer-based tools may also be handy in correcting low-performing employees in a discreet and non-threatening way.

Applied wisely and crafted well, online training can also accelerate learning. It provides a solid foundation of basic skills, enabling employees to immediately focus on the more nuanced areas of your operation. It can be the gateway to more advanced training conducted using hands-on methods or group instruction. New workers, or those being promoted into new roles, can more quickly assimilate into your team and tie into the fundamental elements of your club’s culture and practices. Employees who can “find their niche” more quickly, and have increased confidence in their skills, are much less likely to wash out in the first few weeks.

Online instruction is a win-win-win for you, for your employees, and for your members. The club gets a better, more confident workforce which has a savvier grasp of skills and club culture, and which is more likely to be retained. The staff feels valued and develops personal and professional skills that will last a lifetime. And your members get the highest possible level of service from employees and managers who are ready, willing, and able to perform at peak levels from Day One!

Click here for Part Three!


Click here for part three of this three-part series on the role that online training can play in meeting your club’s staff development needs. In the meantime, please visit RCS University at or e-mail us at for information about online learning opportunities that are available today!

#onlinetraining #elearning #rcsuniversity #rcsu #employeetraining #training #stafftraining #HR #competitiveadvantage #technology #operations #empoweremployees #hiring #leadershipteam #managementtraining

Whitney Reid Pennell
 Founder & President

Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the award-winning RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services). She is a published author and widely praised seminar leader, with over 20 years of club operations management and consulting experience. 

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