Long Term Focus
It is important to approach housekeeping in line with the millennials mindset to create curiosity and conviction in the profession. An educator’s or trainer’s role is to help the students build a vision, enabling them to see their future as a housekeeper and beyond. A few requirements of this approach could be:
• Balancing the teaching and training to imbibe confidence and competence in the students. For example, using Problem Based Learning to develop critical thinking instead of focusing merely on skills.
• Creating an awareness in students about Housekeeping related challenges at work e.g. minimal guest contact to experience visible results of work done
• Housekeeping faculty members at the institutes play a crucial role in introducing the current industry trends to the students. Being updated, therefore becomes important
• The housekeepers in the industry could contribute to bridging this gap, by collaborating with the faculty members
• Broadening the student mindset by creating opportunities to expose them to different cultures, situations, continents, organizations with a realization that education and training go beyond a certificate
[box type=”shadow” ]“Housekeepers are required to take on the role of a business manager, a strategist,” says Yogesh Deshmukh, Housekeeping Manager, Hyatt Regency, Pune[/box]
Formal training certifications will equip the housekeepers and housekeeping educators to create a change in perspective..
Glorifying housekeeping and eliminating the reasons which discourage students from joining housekeeping. Evidence of the large number of opportunities in the field.
Bridging the gap between Housekeeping education and the industry. Ownership of sharing information between education and industry which will benefit the students and Housekeeping community at large. ( Sentence incomplete . if deliberate, we may have to give in bullet points)
Skilling the human resource based on Standard Operating Procedures ensures standard performance.
Training them will bring out optimal performance. Periodically monitoring interns and auditing feedback will ensure learning. The students will be able to connect theory to the practical / real life work. They will be able to develop a vision for the future and a changed perception of Housekeeping.
Housekeeping and Information Technology
Housekeeping and Information Technology are interfacing on many levels. These have helped to reduce a lot of manual paperwork essential for the daily operations e.g. duty or work allocations, inventories, reports, log books and records. The Hotel Operating Systems have brought reservations, cost and revenue on a common platform through real time data processing. While the human touch is necessary in Housekeeping, arrival of technology has eased operational burden to a large extent.
Proposed Solutions & Applications
There is a lot of data being generated in large and small hotels alike, which necessitates Hotel Operating Systems. Automating operations through a software eases room booking, housekeeping management, guest data management, financial reports and many other functions.
Automated rooms management
Hotel operating systems (HOS) can be interfaced with various services in the guest room e.g. pre-setting the room temperature according to the country, region, climatic conditions and number of guests in the room, to make the guest comfortable on arrival and through the stay. Reducing the time required to deliver a guest request by allocating smart phones to the room attendants, which are linked to the Guest Request System. The room telephones are used to clear the guest rooms for sale to the front office from their departure status. The room telephones are interfaced with the Property Management System (PMS), which not only reduces the time delay in change of status but also reduces the desk attendant’s job by 50%.
The HOS / PMS also have inbuilt functions of duty allocations, staff attendance, task allocations and escalation, room assignments. The functions can also be accessed on remote and portable devices. Real time updates are displayed on a dashboard for management review and timely corrective actions.
As reported in the Economics Times (16 Nov 2013), the payroll costs ranged between 20-30% of the average revenue of a hotel. Only about 30% of those who have studied in hotel management institutions join the hotel industry, the rest shift to other industries like banking sector, travel & tour operators, small restaurants and other industries that pay higher salaries.
Incentives to staff range from global exposure across properties, developing a variable talent pool with multi skilled employees who can play multiple roles, moving talent to a busier property in group hotels, planning and ensuring career growth, and hiring at an early stage of their career at. campus recruitment & then grooming the high potential employees on a fast track growth plan.
High rate of attrition and proactive growth plans make demands on training initiatives carried out by the hotels. While shadowing experienced staff is a widely used method of training in hospitality, some concepts are better learned through instruction.
Learning management system:
• Allows learning on a large scale using a single installation across multiple properties
• Multiple departments, locations, facilities, languages and time zones can be catered to at the same time
• Employees decide their pace of study, without disrupting customer service. This flexibility is liberating for the learners and reduces business downtime due to classroom-based schedules
• All the learners receive the same standardized material e.g. standard operating procedures, menu details, customer care policies as the guests demand standardized quality and services
• The training program’s effectiveness can be assessed with the tools provided. Likewise, the knowledge levels of the participants can be measured through assessments
• New content can be effortlessly developed & the old content updated and uploaded as the need arises
Learning management systems like Edmodo, Moodle, Upside LMS or an interactive learning platform like Lobster Ink can be used effectively to develop, deliver and measure standardized content. The deployment of an LMS can be fast, at a lower cost and with technical support and regular updates. An LMS can be integrated with HOS seamlessly and securely. Business intelligence is made easy by translating learning management data into meaningful information for measurement of training performance. Lobster Ink is an education company specializing in hospitality. This educational platform is built around creation and delivery of detailed, high definition courses on international skills, international standards and product knowledge. It uses a powerful on-line learning and assessment environment to ensure ease of access and focused measurable training outcomes aimed at achieving new levels of guest experience.