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Employee Training & Retention Trend Report: Part 2

Editor's Note: This is part two 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 One can be read here.


Part One of this series on trends in employee retention and training discussed what obstacles are currently being faced by hospitality professionals and why they have occurred.

Let's continue.

What is being done to combat these obstacles?

According to the VAK Learning Styles Model, there are three types of learners: visual (65%), auditory (30%), and kinesthetic (5%). Everyone learns and retains information differently, so robust training programs should be able to reach each staff member in the way they learn best.

Many restaurants and clubs are moving away from dated learning management systems (LMS). They are offering online training, video training, and even virtual reality training to fully immerse employees in their brand culture. No matter their learning style, most people find it easier to retain information if the learning experience is enjoyable. When it comes to online learning it’s important to keep lessons short and succinct. Restaurants and clubs on the cutting edge are using “micro-learning”: a condensed, responsive delivery of information that helps employees meet learning objectives efficiently. Lessons are made up of short-term activities and generally kept at a maximum of 15 minutes. This makes it easy for employees to apply what they’ve learned right away on the job. To ensure employees retain what they’ve learned, test them with short quizzes throughout their courses. To promote even more engagement, provide rewards for employees who complete their training on time or earn high scores. Highlighting successes helps define the work experience as positive, and can motivate employees to continue performing well.

“Reward and recognition are also key drivers in employee retention with public praise being a very powerful tool in retaining high achievers,” says Phil Gannon, Group Goods and Bev Manager for Sydney Collective.

Most importantly, training shouldn't be a "one and done" approach. Continual and ongoing training efforts are essential in maintaining consistent service standards.

The Change Group notes, “With there being less talent available, the hospitality sector will need to find resourceful ways to attract and retain skilled employees in 2018.” It believes that firms offering “…flexible working and better pay, as well as more tailored training and career development, will be the ones to entice more people to work in hospitality.”

Many restaurants and clubs are offering innovative benefits, such as 401K matching programs, scholarships, and housing to attract and maintain long-term employees.

More opportunities for growth and promotion are also being provided. Promotion from within reduces the amount of time it takes a new employee to adapt to company culture and become a contributing member of the team. It also reduces hiring and training costs. These opportunities for growth and development make all the difference for employees with an eye on their futures…the difference between a “job” or a career.

What is on the horizon for a multi-generational workforce?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers aged 45 and older make up 26% of the workforce in the hospitality industry. It is not uncommon to have four or more generations of employees working alongside one another. By understanding generational differences, club employers can develop and implement HR strategies and policies that will help attract and retain great employees while creating a culture that fosters job satisfaction, motivation, and loyalty. Training programs should take into account the fact that the various generations tend to learn differently. With this in mind, consider tailoring your training programs to include a traditional classroom setting for Baby Boomers and more videos, interactive content, and a mobile platform for Millennials and Generation Xers.

According to TriNet HR Insights, employees of any generation should be provided with opportunities to stretch their skills. Opportunities for personal growth and development may appeal particularly to Millennials and encourage them to stay longer with their current employer. Generation Xers might like the additional job security that additional training provides for them. For Baby Boomers, the appeal might be in the opportunity simply to do more, or it might be in the chance to become a mentor or coach to younger workers. The needs and preferences for employee benefits often vary depending on their age. As a large number of Millennials are pet owners, pet insurance is a popular benefit for this generation. In light of their relative youth and health, Millennials are perhaps also more likely to prefer high deductible health plans and health savings accounts to traditional health insurance plans. Generation X employees on the other hand typically prefer a more traditional health insurance plan, and are usually interested in a solid (and generous) retirement plan. The retirement plan is also a highly valued benefit for those in the Baby Boomer generation. Other multigenerational benefits that may be valuable are wellness programs, employee assistance programs, financial services, and retirement and estate planning.


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

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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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