glh hotels is the parent company of five leading hotel brands including Thistle, Amba Hotels, every Hotels and Clermont Hotels & Residences.
Guest-centred, customer hospitality lies at the heart of glh hotels and the organisation has significantly invested in its systems and processes to enable its 2,000 staff to do the best possible job in providing the ultimate guest experience.
Ensuring the highest levels of customer service means recruiting and developing the right talent across a wide variety of locations, job roles and skill levels. glh hotels also aims to provide cutting edge facilities to match the needs of today’s travellers, including seamless technology solutions around Wifi and digital. But with legacy internal systems and an ingrained culture of face-to-face training, the HR team at glh hotels knew they needed a new approach that matched their external standards.
Co-ordinating classroom attendance was a logistical challenge as front line staff were taken away from their duties, potentially impacting the guest experience. glh knew e-learning could help but needed a strategy and a platform to support it.
Due to the dispersed nature of glh staff and its numerous brands, the organisation decided to create ‘one source of truth’ for its customer values and training standards.
As a new, technology-enabled business, glh wanted to deliver this via a platform that would not only host e-learning, but would become the go-to destination for staff information, reference materials and learning resources.
The HR team had researched learning management systems and selected Totara from Learning Pool** ahead of several other enterprise platforms and Totara providers.
“Learning Pool offer great customer support options and are extremely competitive on LMS pricing. But why we chose them is the personal service we received throughout the initial sales process and the ongoing sense of continuity since. That doesn’t happen with suppliers very often these days. Learning Pool know what we want to achieve, take the time to understand our objectives and are always ready and able to help us achieve them.”
After creating a meticulous set of requirements, glh worked closely with Learning Pool to develop a Totara Learn that included:
- A learner friendly look and feel
- Customisable user interface
- E-learning content delivery and course infrastructure
- Mobile/BYOD access
- Blended learning programme support
- The ability to switch off non-essential features and functions
- Performance appraisals module
In a global 24/7 working environment, mobile access to e-learning and a responsive LMS was a business-critical requirement.
“A large proportion of our people are not desk based and do not have their own device for work. Whilst we don’t place any expectation on our staff to use their own smart phones or tablets for work and always provide access via shared workstations, the world is rapidly becoming more mobile driven. So it was important that Learning Pool implemented a responsive LMS and that it went live with the clear message that people could access it wherever and whenever they wanted, including from home on their own device if they wish.”
The implementation of Totara Learn was extremely quick. Within three months, the platform went live in January 2015. One of the most important elements of the implementation was creating a targeted user experience.
With four independent brands under the glh umbrella, it was imperative that every staff member logged on to an LMS that reflected the brand they work for. A receptionist for a Thistle hotel will identify with a different brand and a segmented set of corporate values to a waiter in a luxury Clermont venue or the manager of the new Amba hotel in Charing Cross.
Learning Pool set up four separate portals within the glh instance of Totara. So depending on a learner’s log-in criteria, they are taken to the profile that represents the brand they work for and only access the learning content associated with that brand. Much of the e-learning is common across all of glh, supporting the vision for ‘one source of truth’. But this targeted approach supports the core organisational strategy of reinforcing brand values and focusing on the experience guests receive at each hotel.
This was well received by staff who appreciated the ‘user friendly and straight forward approach’ of Totara and the fact each brand’s LMS ‘looks just like their websites’.
Over 18,500 e-learning courses were completed by glh staff in the first six months after launch. E-learning has a stronger presence in the business than classroom training across the company and covers everything from off-the-shelf mandatory training to in-depth developmental topics such as emotional intelligence and optimising team performance.
glh is an early adopter of the new performance management functionality in Totara 2.7, meaning its people’s development journey is now all accessed in one central place. Staff and managers can now review performance against objectives for the previous year and work on personal goals going forwards – all closely tied to the new range of online learning options.
“We have been one of the first organisations to fully implement the new appraisals module which has had its challenges. But Learning Pool's support was great in helping us get everything running smoothly as we had a very specific process we wanted Totara to follow. The feedback is already very positive and colleagues finding it easy to use, which is driving staff adoption and engagement.”
Totara Learn will also support the glh induction process going forwards, so new hires begin engaging with the system before they even start their role. And Beal has plans for more blended programmes, including combining experiential learning activities such as on-the-job shadowing and coaching with e-learning and other online resources. The new Open Badges functionality is also being explored to support new internal certifications. This will provide more formal recognition for staff training and the ongoing development that underpins the glh vision for guest-centred excellence around the world.
**This work was undertaken by Mind Click prior to its acquisition by Learning Pool