Demand from millennials spikes trend for ‘Greener’ training in hospitality sector.

40 per cent would choose a job based on sustainability plan.

With the highest percentage of millennial employees (49.9 per cent) across any sector, the hospitality industry is facing increased demand from ethically-driven workers looking for more innovative and sustainable investment in their training and career progression. As businesses look to make changes during 2020 in line with boosting staff engagement and retention, employee engagement technology firm Eko (www.ekoapp.com), has experienced a significant upsurge of hospitality businesses specifically looking to shift their training offering in line with a ‘greener’ mindset.

Millennials place greater emphasis on a company’s social purpose and values and recent surveys found that 40 per cent of millennials chose a job because of a company’s sustainability plan while 70 per cent said that the same factor would affect their decision to stay with their employer for the long term. Investment in fit-for-purpose learning and development continues to be a big driver for the younger generations, but how they receive that training and coaching has to be sustainably-led too.

Robert Darling, COO at Eko commented, “Research shows that today’s younger workforce don’t want to learn and develop via traditional paper-based methods and this is becoming increasingly apparent for those businesses operating in foodservice, catering and hospitality. Employees also want immediate feedback from their leadership in line with their training and career progression, which can prove difficult within what is predominantly a non-desk workforce with people often in multiple locations. It’s very easy for people to become disconnected and isolated from the wider team, which impacts not just on employee wellbeing but on career progression and engagement too.”

Eko has found that organisations in the sector have started to prioritise sustainability practices to attract and retain young workforces and are looking at technology as a key driver to support this and create a more sustainable learning environment.

Darling added: Despite being a crucial part of employee growth and operational success, training and inducting new recruits can be harmful to the environment. Not only do these sessions come with huge amounts of documents, ranging from safety guidelines to company policies, they often also come with the emissions from travelling to off-site locations.”

Key feedback collated from focused interviews with hospitality firms in the last three months (period December 2019 – February 2020) has revealed the following ‘green training’ trends:

  • Connecting: Hotels specifically are embracing technology and platforms that are familiar and resonate with  ‘socially-driven’ young people in order to approach training in a more sustainable and engaging way.
  • Mobile first: More firms are providing access to relevant learning materials for staff via their mobile phones to avoid physical wastage of printed documents. This poses a much more eco-friendly solution which also benefits staff working remotely or in dispersed locations.
  • Reducing travel: Businesses are also reducing the need for physical travelling to training centres or meetings by referring to centralised information that all staff can refer back to as required.
  • Widening communication channels: With more young workers are looking to advance their training and skills through hands-on experience, hospitality businesses are starting to look at widening the channels of communication between their teams and leadership to boost inclusion, build rapport and support progression with regular feedback.

Darling concluded: “We live in a very instant world today and it’s important for the industry to be able to connect and give feedback to staff in real time but in a sustainable and accessible way. Technology has often been accused of stifling human interaction, but in many cases it has the potential to unlock several changes needed to create a more sustainable and progressive future workforce.”

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