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Atlas Hotels ignites learner engagement with a revitalised learning culture

Specialising in the operation of branded hotels, Atlas Hotels is an award-winning company owning and operating Holiday Inn Express and Hampton by Hilton Hotels across the UK. They are the biggest franchisee of Holiday Inn Express hotels in Europe.

The hotels and central corporate teams are full of passionate, ambitious, caring and committed people who put guest experience and satisfaction at the heart of everything they do.

The Challenge

With employees at Atlas Hotels working across the two different hotel brands, and in an industry that experiences relatively high staff churn, the company needed a learning solution that delivered targeted training to their employees in order to realise their mission of putting their guest’s experience and satisfaction at the heart of their business.

They needed a solution that could manage training for different audiences, that was engaging to use, could be rolled out quickly and efficiently and also allowed for regular updates.

The then-incumbent system, a platform designed specifically for the hospitality industry, was falling short of their needs and was not engaging learners, meaning that staff could have been missing out on vital knowledge needed for their role, or managers were having to take time out to teach staff on-the-job.

A brand-new system was the order of the day and Atlas Hotels chose Learning Pool to create a learning environment that could be fully adapted to their needs, would be quick to implement and, most importantly, would engage their learners.

The Solution

The fast-paced environment of hospitality called for seamless and easily accessible learning environment and with that, 'Ed' was born. Ed is everyone’s training buddy and with its own character and email address, is branded in a fun way to get the maximum engagement from employees.

Enhancing the power of Totara Learn with Adapt Builder authoring capability, the learning platform was launched with over 100 Learning Pool ready-made catalogue courses, including the Hospitality suite. Adapt was used to customise this content; tweaking terminology, applying brand logos, colours and changing the tone of voice where applicable; all in an effort to ensure the courses resonated with the staff and drove engagement of the system.

Atlas  Hotels' Totara Learn LMS

The previous learning platform had offered very little visibility on user activity so Atlas Hotels tapped in the expertise of the Learning Pool Learning Consultants to help create a range of bespoke reports, giving the central L&D team and general managers access to all the information regarding courses, users, completions etc, allowing them to monitor compliance of regulatory training requirements.

Specific audiences were created in the system so that certain jobs roles can automatically be allocated a set of courses relating to their role. For example, those roles that might involve working in bars and restaurants would include courses relating to the Challenge 25 licensing laws, as well as food hygiene, which is pretty mandatory for all staff. These audience profiles ensure that every employee sees the correct set of courses for them as well as additional training that allows them to develop their skills and knowledge further.

The system was configured to support face-to-face training and bookings for these courses can be made within Ed, joining instructions generated and attendees managed.

Ed has been integrated the Atlas Hotel HR platform which is an important time-saving feature for the L&D function. The hospitality industry has a higher than average staff churn and seasonal staff increases. This integration allows users to be easily added and removed from the system

Ed uses certification and badges extensively to reward people for their learning and this incentivises them not only to complete their mandatory learning but to go on and to take other courses.

The Results

Around 1,000-1,100 staff members working in 47 hotels are accessing the training and do so from dedicated PCs within the hotel’s back offices, from employees’ mobile devices and homes and from new mobile tablets going into the hotels.

After six months of use, around 120 courses have now been made available to staff and Ed has seen 17,792 course completions.

The system has had a real impact on the business with Atlas Hotels seeing a real shift in culture, with learners becoming much more engaged with the content. Completion rates for mandatory courses are at an all-time high.

Crucial in the decision-making process for a new system, was to be able to auto release modules. This has been achieved with Ed and has allowed the L&D department to automatically release mandatory training that must be refreshed at regular intervals, saving a huge amount of time and admin. Next up for Ed is to move the corporate induction and onboarding processes online.

‘We have been delighted with the response to the rollout of Ed. The system has proved to be very user-friendly, both for the learner and those of us who are creating content, managing users and reporting. The engagement from learners and feedback from managers has exceeded our expectations and put simply, Ed is creating a fun and engaging environment for learning and has been a tremendous success.’

Beverly Flint, People Development Manager, Atlas Hotels