Something’s Got to Give, but Why is it Always the Training Budget?

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of Food & Beverage training programs during challenging economic times. Showcased is Ted’s Montana Grill, which increased rather than decreased developmental training during unfavorable financial times.

The challenges: Food and Beverage has the highest turn-over rate of all industries. Its training is more likely to be task based and not include soft skills or leadership development. For many employees, their current restaurant position is their first job and this lack of any experience is a hurdle faced by F&B industry more than most.

Add the financial impact of healthcare costs and slow recovery from the recession - restaurants find their plates very full. The potential of a $15 minimum wage has restaurants trimming budgets. The first to be trimmed is developmental training, particularly self-leadership, because the results and return on investment are not instantly apparent. Will a decrease investment in training cost more than it saves?

An American restaurant chain with a steadfast commitment to employee development.

Heather Dunn, The Director of Training at Ted’s Montana Grill needed a program that would evolve staff competencies, including self leadership. TMG identified turn-over as a costly part of their business and was willing to invest in talent development. In managing e-learning across 16 stations, the platform had to be flexible, mobile, available at anytime - from anywhere, and it had to be affordable.

The Solution - CD2 Learning is the only complete content delivery system on a single cloud-based architecture. Nothing to integrate; built-in authoring tools, gamification, social collaboration, content management, tracking, storage, versioning, reporting – accessible anywhere on any device. An award-winning Human Capital Software designed from the granular level with content as the core.

For TMG, CD2 Learning provides a customized talent development platform combining The Ken Blanchard Companies’ world-class leadership content and library (SLII®), CD2’s Talent Development Toolkit and Learning Process Map. It brings Ted’s Montana Grill a common language of leadership and a strong foundation to ensure leaders focus on growth and development in day to day interactions. It teaches leaders and individuals to analyze, diagnose, think, and apply leadership concepts effectively in any situation - and to be more accessible and responsive. Manager groups allow participants to increase the quality and frequency of conversations while building trust and sharing accountability. Managers select lessons from the KBC Leadership Manager Curriculum, or the Individual Contributor Curriculum, that meet TMG’s organizational goals/outcomes. Online lessons are constructed using rich multimedia interactive simulations and discussions, and end with an assessment. Instant measurement and gratification supports TMG’s goal of self-leadership development.

To meet sustainability goals: CD2 Talent Development Toolkit - intuitive, easy-to-use, and accessible to all team members. Using this designed-to-scale toolkit, TMG can:

  • Create an interactive map of organizational and departmental goals
  • Set individual SMART goals and tasks that align to department and organization goals
  • More effective confidential communication between key stakeholders to discuss goals and performance.

The Talent Development Toolkit also provides a documented, real-time system that supports team members to improve overall communication and organizational effectiveness. TMG’s distinct outcomes were met through a customized process that Dunn put in place in 2013.

Another component of the strategy for TMG was micro learning. CD2 Learning’s Learning Process Map (LPM) allows for training to be accessible, affordable, and flexible. Users navigate a series of lessons and activities related to a specific learning outcome or competency and are easily tailored to meet training needs. Gamification engages users through recognition; earning badges and points. (Soon a leader board will be launched that promotes engagement and shows at-a-glance progress.) After finishing the Leadership LPM, the toolkit supports a culture of continuous learning and engagement.

The results? The investment paid off. Staying committed to their core value of continual training was one of the overall successful strategies responsible for TMG’s 58 consecutive months of increased sales (same store). According to Dunn, “TMG has seen a decrease in manager turnover and rise in scores on employee engagement surveys.”

CD2 Learning’s online tools and technology allowed for a strategic plan with measurable outcomes, clearly indicating tangible benefits of investing in development when faced with tough economic times.