Cost-saving Strategies for Hospitality Trainers: Part 1 – Materials & Classes
March 13, 2017 | 2673 Views
We’re just a few months into 2017, and if your training department is like mine, then you’re probably already watching every dollar spent between now and the end of the year to make sure you don’t go over budget. With rapidly rising wages and the increasing cost of materials (and just about everything else), it’s becoming more and more expensive to develop, implement, and evaluate training programs in the hospitality industry.
The challenge for trainers, of course, is that we don’t want to cut any of our programs if possible, because less training isn’t going to help our people and our company continue growing. So how do we provide the same level of support and still keep our costs in check?
In a two blog series, I will share some strategies to consider that will help improve the affordability of your programs, organized into four different categories: Materials, Classes, New Employee/New Manager Training, and Big Picture. Let’s start with the first two:
- Double sided, people! – Make sure you are printing double-sided on every possible piece of paper. Just like you wouldn’t waste half the space in your hotel or restaurant, or leave half of your inventory unused, don’t waste paper by printing on only one half. It’s a very small thing, but it demonstrates your commitment to doing your best to remain within budget (and small things can sometimes add up quickly).
- Get help from the outside – When it comes to designing materials, if you don’t have an in-house graphics designer to assist with the layout, consider using an online source such as Fiverr (https://www.fiverr.com/) to find someone. The site bills itself as “the world's largest freelance services marketplace for lean entrepreneurs to focus on growth & create a successful business at affordable costs,” and you can find a whole host of designers willing to enhance the look of your work at very reasonable prices.
- Get help from CHART partners – Contact our printing partners at Viatech or Mimeo to see if they have new products or services that can help cut the costs of any training materials you regularly print.
- Go digital – Evaluate the materials you already have and determine if it’s possible to not print any of them in the future. Might it be just as easy for your teams to access these materials if they were stored online, like on the company intranet site, or possibly on the hard drive of the manager’s computer? Can you leverage your LMS partner such as DiscoverLink to push more programs to an e-format?
- CHART partners – As with your training materials, ask CHART’s e-learning partners such as DiscoverLink, Hot Schedules, and Wisetail about their ability to replace expensive in-person classes with more affordable online learning modules that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and of course do not result in any travel reimbursements for your employees or meeting space rental fees.
- Webinars – Webinars are another great replacement possibility for in-person classes. Again, there are no travel costs or meeting space rental fees related to these types of training, and they can usually be recorded so that those employees who miss out can watch them later at their convenience.
- Location, location, location – If an in-person class is a necessity at your company, then make sure you are doing your best to save money on the class location. If you don’t have a banquet room or meeting room in-house and need to rent one for such occasions, shop around to make sure you are getting one for a good price (and always consider the whole price, including the cost of attendee parking). Yes, a meeting room at a swanky downtown hotel might be very nice, but would a community center in a local suburb works just as well for half the cost? The same principle applies to the meeting food: do you really need to buy an expensive lunch for every attendee at a training class, or might they be just as happy with some bottled beverages and snacks?
- Time of Day – Similar to the note above regarding locations for meetings, if you need to hold a meeting does it need to be held over a meal period? Instead of holding your 3-hour class from 11am-2pm where lunch will be expected, hold it from 2pm-5pm. Not only will that keep food costs limited to light snacks, it also allows your employees to work a peak meal period before or after your class.
- Review the agenda – My experience with most training classes is that oftentimes there is to too much material for most attendees. The instructional designers start with a central subject, but then “scope creep” sets in and they add this topic and that topic and this other topic, and soon the class has expanded from 2-3 hour to 4-6 hours. To reverse this effect, work with your team to review the agendas of your training classes and see what you might be able to scale back without affecting the core topics, and provide the extra information in a handout or online for attendees.
Those are some of my ideas, but I would love to hear yours as well. Please add your thoughts to the CHART Community Discussion section below and let’s keep this conversation going! Stay tuned for my second blog: Cost-saving Strategies for Hospitality Trainers: Part 2 – New Employee/New Manager Training & Big Picture.