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Employee Training & Retention Trend Report: Part 1

Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part series authored by RCS owner & president Whitney Reid Pennell for 2018, intended to help club managers and hospitality professionals understand the current obstacles in employee retention and training. Part Two will post in two weeks on Friday February 2nd.


What are the biggest obstacles in employee retention & training?

If you're in the hospitality business, you probably already know that the food and beverage industry has the highest turnover rate of any industry.

Fortunately, a robust training program can alleviate turnover and the effects of same by providing a roadmap for advancement and success to employees, opportunities for growth and recognition, and more developed job skills--resulting in higher confidence and fulfillment on the job. Training practices in the club industry have been deeply impacted by the role that technology plays in our lives. Today’s club training environment must communicate club standards effectively and efficiently, and should also be a reflection of the needs and values of the employees. Organizations need to prioritize how they educate their employees, making sure they have the appropriate tools for development and growth. A learning management system (LMS) platform won't be enough to keep your workforce engaged and continually learning. Hospitality, in all of its forms, often attracts young people in transition. Generational research tells us that most Millennials, and even some Generation Xers, are more comfortable engaging with mobile training solutions than using dated manuals.

"New hires need a consistent onboarding program, including computer training both in-person and web based," commented Rich Morehouse, Director CRES & Revenue Management for Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. "How many times have you gone to YouTube to watch a how-to video? The younger work force does it for almost everything."

Many club employers lack formal training for their employees, and frequently suffer from out-dated training practices that do little to encourage employee engagement or loyalty.

“The challenges which hospitality companies have faced in 2017 are not going to go away any time soon,” says Craig Allen, co-founder of The Change Group. “We’re already seeing the sector wanting to find ways to work around issues and bring a fresh perspective, especially in terms of the all-important question of recruiting the best talent.”

Employees will continue to be the essential component in providing superior club service...and investing in the right technology ensures that staff is always equipped to deliver just that.

Without the right training tools and procedures in place, club employers risk inconsistent messaging, which can potentially hinder member experiences. The more you spend on member service training, the less you spend on service recovery and lost member engagement—both of which can ultimately lead to membership attrition.

Why are we seeing these obstacles?

There are several issues that impact employee retention in the club industry.

Seasonal fluctuations and high employee turnover make training more difficult to deliver, yet even more critical to provide. Long working hours, low pay, and slow advancement are common characteristics that also contribute to job stress and turnover in the hospitality industry as a whole.

Organizations often fail to provide employee training due to lack of time, lack of resources, and associated costs. Though most hospitality leaders understand that people -- specifically, frontline employees -- are at the heart of every exceptional customer interaction, few employers have effective training initiatives in place to facilitate this kind of success on a consistent basis.

The hospitality industry also happens to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. labor market (projected to add almost 1 million jobs by 2024). However, according to the Pew Research Center only 28 percent of hospitality employees have participated in training over the last year. 28%!

That means that almost three quarters of hospitality staff are not growing or developing, and even worse, not being given the tools to do so. Clearly, training is lagging behind the growth of the industry as a whole--which may result in attrition.


Don't forget, Part Two will be posted on February 2nd. Find out what's being done to combat these obstacles and what's on the horizon for a multi-generational workforce.


Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the RCS Hospitality Group, honored five times by BoardRoom Magazine for excellence. RCS is the "go-to" group for private clubs and golf courses seeking state-of-the-art consulting that combines 21st-century techniques with the timeless values of America's great club traditions, to prepare for the next generation of members, guests, and employees. Learn more about the award winning RCS Hospitality Group and their team at or visit their online learning platform at

#employeetraining #training #clubtrends #elearning #stafftraining #technology #staffmanagement #clubmanagement #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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