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

This is part three 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. Part One is here. Part Two is here.


In Part Two of this three-part series on the value of online learning in private club environments, we focused on the employee perspective and ways in which e-learning can effectively reach a workforce that is getting younger and more tech-savvy.

We discussed our belief that training boosts confidence, which in turn enhances performance. Online training—and really all training—helps your staff understand why their work matters to themselves, to your members, and to the club more broadly.

But there is more to training than just bolstering attitudes. Your staff members aren’t born knowing how to perform their tasks. Whether they’re a dining-room server, a special event coordinator, or a pro-shop cashier, they have to learn what to do and how to do it. (And if they come from the hospitality industry, but not the unique world of private clubs, they may need to re-learn what they do.)

Clubs are discovering that online instruction is an excellent way to lay the groundwork for subsequent hands-on training that delivers specific task-based skills.

A smart training regimen includes computer-based education during the onboarding process, but also in subsequent refreshers and skill-building scenarios. The goal is for all staff and managers begin with the same set of understandings about club practices, procedures, culture, and expectations. The blended learning concept is the most productive approach for 21st-century facilities.

A computer-based approach also can make training for non-English speakers less intimidating, build shaky confidence, and ensure that information is absorbed and understood.

A trainee with limited English skills can control the pace of learning, stop and start material that is difficult to understand, and repeat sections that have not been well understood, all within a private, self-directed context that helps avoid embarrassment. More and more clubs are developing multi-lingual training to make this process even more effective.

Savvy club managers understand that there is a significant bottom-line benefit from developing a motivated and prepared workforce.

As Laura Stack explains in her Productivity Pro blog, The Big Benefits That Come From Consistent Training,

“Well-trained employees don’t make as many errors (and therefore, don’t have to waste time and money fixing them), and they require less direct supervision. Furthermore, they spend less time on problem-solving since they already know what to do. Consistent training also decreases employee turnover—a big drain on corporate costs.”

Given the persistent problem of high turnover in private clubs, this concept is crucial. The hallmark of online training is exactly the kind of consistency Stark talks about since everyone sees the same thing, presented in the same compelling way.

Well-crafted online learning gives employees the opportunity to learn first-hand from experts who have developed proven techniques over decades of experience. You can be sure your staff and managers are getting state-of-the-art information presented using time-tested methods, all without relying on your internal managers who may or may not have high-level training skills, or on on-site consultants.

This is particularly true for introductory or onboarding sessions, or for communicating core information about club procedures or culture. Importantly, using online instruction allows learning to more easily become a continuous process and not just a sporadic special event. And because online classes are more affordable to deliver, clubs are beginning to discover that their limited training dollars go further. The bang-for-the-buck factor is high.

Because e-learning, by definition, does not require assembling large groups of employees all at once or tasking managers to divert time from their daily tasks, disruptions to routines and schedules are minimized. Nor do you have to wait until some significant number of staff need the same material before providing crucial training to individuals who need or want it.

It’s important to note, however, that even though managers do not need to be pulled away from their work to conduct the material covered in online courses, follow-up coaching and feedback are vital. The computer is not a substitute for the daily interactions between supervisors and subordinates, and it’s imperative to make sure that the employees who received computer-based instruction understood it and absorbed it.

At the end of the day, though, the primary benefits of online instruction aren’t cost or time savings, or convenience, or ease of use. It’s not the fact that it’s always available, user-friendly, comfortable for younger employees, and able to deliver consistent messages.

Rather, the biggest benefit is the simple but profound fact that better trained, more confident, and highly engaged employees ensure that your members and guests are not merely satisfied with their club experience, but delighted with it … and ready to come back for more. Transforming your members into raving fans is the key to your success and survival in today’s hyper-competitive world.

Computer-based learning is an increasingly vital tool for savvy, forward-looking clubs willing and eager to go all in on the high-tech landscape in which we all now live.

As Tony Robbins has said: “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional!”


RCS understands that every club is unique and that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to club training. Our experienced experts can craft customized online training systems that reflect the particular needs of your club, convey your values, and reference your specific procedures. Employees who see that you have made the effort to create something just for them will understand that you take their professional and personal development seriously, which is a major factor in retention, particularly with younger workers.

Also, coming soon is training in Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese, reflecting the full diversity of today’s club staff.


If you'd like to learn more about the online training opportunities that are available today, visit our website at or e-mail us at

#onlinetraining #elearning #rcsuniversity #rcsu #clubservice #training #stafftraining #managementtraining #staffmanagement #leadershipteam #employeetraining #onlinelearning #technology #humanresources

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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