Learning Pool helps RBH to 'SMILE'

RBH is the UK’s leading hotel management company boasting a portfolio of over 45 hotels, from luxury hotels with leisure and spa, to limited-service city-centre hotels.  

The Challenge

RBH was an early adopter of e-learning as it gave them a cost-effective way to deliver statutory hospitality training for their employees.

In addition, taking staff out of the business for classroom training was always a challenge for customer-facing employees. Added to this, seasonal employment patterns and the pace that new hotels coming into the company’s portfolio, RBH needed to stay ahead of their customers’ needs. As such, they needed to work with a company that was continually innovating and were able to keep pace with the demands of the hotel industry.

RBH was aware that Learning Pool had the same customer-centric values as them, and embarked on introducing a new learning system from Learning Pool that would:

  • give employees access to statutory training
  • replace their current intranet which was not being well utilised
  • convert 85% of the remaining face-to-face learning to online
  • reduce time spent on learning administration and back-to-work transition
  • provide accurate records of learning
  • improve the mindset of learners
  • create a culture of self-driven learning.
What we did
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The solution

RBH and Learning Pool worked in partnership to create SMILE, the Simply Magical and Inspiring Learning Environment. It was a one-stop-shop for all things learning, based on Learning Pool’s Totara Learn environment.

To make sure the solution met the needs of the business, a focus group of ‘Smilers’ was created. These ‘Smilers’ asked questions and gave constant feedback, which helped Learning Pool to see and react to what motivates them. This was instrumental for the project, ensuring it stayed on track and would ultimately achieve the results the business needed.

SMILE was launched with a set of ‘Hello’ induction modules created with Adapt, Learning Pool’s content builder. With the system constantly evolving and new content being added on a regular basis it now offers around 200 courses to the hotel and head office staff.

Content includes the Learning Pool hospitality suite of courses, all of the compliance training needed for the industry; legal, fire safety, food hygiene, etc and courses to support their apprenticeship scheme.

Various audiences were created to allow the L&D team to push regulatory training out to specific job roles and each audience profile receives six core regulatory courses. For example, SMILE is home to The Bar Academy, a set of courses covering licencing legislation, weights and measures, etc and this can be easily allocated to staff working in the food and beverage areas.

Learning Pool’s content tool – Adapt Builder – was used to ensure that all content exactly met their business needs and branding. As part of SMILE, RBH has been able to incorporate their learning calendar online, which alerts people to the courses and programmes available to them. Additionally, it can be used for tasks such as back-to-work assessments consistently across the business, reducing the time these tasks take.

The system has been developed to offer a single sign-in to give users ease of access from the corporate intranet and it also synchronises with their HR system, to ensure user data is kept up to date; a must for an industry with high staff churn and seasonal work patterns.

Niki Fincham
Group Learning and Development Manager

“SMILE has been a huge success within the business with high user engagement across all our hotels. The reporting has allowed us to get excellent visibility on both statutory training completions, as well as understanding what other learning is taking place. Learning Pool really listens and understand our business needs and always come up with new solutions and help overcome problems. They are quick to inform us of new features and ways of working, especially when we don’t know what we don’t know!”

The results

While RBH only employs around 100 direct staff members, in order to support the achievement of the goals and objectives of each hotel, it is available to around 2,000 employees across the 45 hotel units.

While one of the main objectives for SMILE was to deliver statutory training, the L&D team work hard to encourage line managers and hotels to go above and beyond just completing these courses.

The RBH team have introduced a scorecard for hotels which look at the learning culture and learning achievements and hotels can gain ‘100 Club’ status, a badge of achievement which rates their performance.

Training achievements in SMILE are now starting to be used as a success criterion for line managers. Significantly SMILE has achieved: 92% completions for all statutory training across the business, and an impressive 85% conversion of classroom training to online.

Notably, it has also become a key feature of their corporate brand proposition, with hotel owners citing it as a vital aspect to the successful management of a hotel.

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