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How interactive training can boost your business

Liz Smith-Mills, hotel consultant, housekeeping specialist and Yorkshire and North East’s UKHA deputy chair shares her top tips.

liz smith mills procter and gamble housekeeping tips

Liz Smith-Mills is an Expert Advisory Council member for P&G Professional. With over 35 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, she has worked predominantly in four- and fivestar properties in all hotel departments, specialising in housekeeping, training, mystery guest inspections and assisting with new openings.

Question:
We are looking to create new training programmes for both new and long-standing staff. How do you create activities that are relevant and engaging for everyone?

Throughout my career, I have worked with many wonderful, dedicated and hardworking people. I’ve learned that continued investment in training programmes pays dividends. Employees are the heart and soul of your business, driving success and delivering quality experiences to guests.

Regular investment in these employees, with both time and energy can revitalise the housekeeping team, while increasing productivity and retention rates.

As an alternative to e-learning, some innovative training techniques that allow for a little fun to be had at the same time include;

1. The Rogue Room: Daily housekeeping duties are repetitive, but it’s important staff stay alert to ensure nothing is overlooked.

Setting up and the checking of the Rogue Room is a hands-on training session that demonstrates to employees the importance of being observant, which should help your team members learn how to carry out room checks to the highest standards. To create a Rogue Room, remove several items from a guest room, such as the kettle lead, batteries from the remote control, or light bulbs and hide items like an old newspaper. Allow the room attendants or supervisors a few minutes to check over the room and uncover errors. This exercise provides friendly competition, while allowing you to assess team members’ observation skills, and ultimately improve guest satisfaction.

2. Housekeeping Olympics:
If you are looking for a way to reinforce best practices for everyday tasks, build team morale and recognise individuals who are excelling in their roles, organising a Housekeeping Olympics event would be a great investment. Divide your staff into teams to compete against each other for a prize. Create a range of events, this could be a vacuum race – testing which team could remove debris, such as rice and confetti from a floor most effectively or a Rogue Room challenge (see above). You could also include timed activities, such as making a bed, setting up a tea tray, descaling a kettle or changing a vacuum bag. Acknowledge winners of each activity with a certificate, while rewarding the overall winner with a prize or medal.

3. Who wants to be a winner:
Inspired by the TV show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,’ you could create a similar quiz to test product knowledge on the hotel and cleaning practices. An example question could be; What would you do if you found an unattended bag in the corridor?

A. Play a game of football
B. Report immediately to a supervisor
C. Hand it into the front desk
D. Empty the contents to see who it belongs to.

Like the show, employees taking part would have the chance to ‘ask the audience’ to ‘go 50/50’ and even ‘phone a friend’ to help them answer questions. This training activity allows you to test knowledge and identify areas that are not clearly understood, helping you to tailor future training for your team.

Involve your staff:
Over the course of my career, I have worked with many intuitive, smart and creative people who routinely suggested ideas to improve their jobs. In one instance, after seeing how rooms were inspected, a housekeeper saw an opportunity for improvement, suggesting that drawers and doors should be left open after cleaning, shortening the time needed for inspection. This idea was implemented and was beneficial to the hotel. Your staff are likely to be buzzing with great ideas too – and will likely feel empowered when their voices are heard and ideas implemented.

Equip staff for success:
Finally, it is important to ensure your employees understand how to best use the products and tools available to them, through continued training. P&G Professional products are simple to use and only require basic training, which is complimentary upon installation, engaging all staff which can help ensure proper usage and a thorough clean. Hopefully the above ideas have provided inspiration on how to create training programmes for new and existing team members that are fun and engaging for all.

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If you have a question or problem relating to housekeeping or laundry that you would like Liz to answer, please email info@housekeepingtoday.co.uk or reach out to Housekeeping Today UK on Twitter @HkeepingToday. If your question is featured in a future column, you will receive a gift basket with P&G Professional products to make your life a little cleaner.

To learn more about P&G Professional and professional cleaning systems please visit www.pgpro.co.uk or call 0800 716 854.