Hyatt Gives Cloud-based Training System Five Stars

Global hotel chains face no shortage of challenges. But one of the most difficult areas typically revolves around training and development. Delivering a consistent customer experience is at the center of everything. For Hyatt Hotels, which operates 652 properties in 53 countries, the task is nothing short of critical. A few years ago, the company recognized that it wasn’t keeping up with training and development requirements, according to Bhavana Devulapally, vice president of Internal Systems at Hyatt Hotel Corporation.

It was no small problem. “Training varied significantly from one site to another. The system wasn’t doing a good job in terms of flexibility and encouraging learning, and it presented problems from a technology and governance perspective,” Devulapally explained. “We recognized a need to move to a framework that would create more consistency but also make it easier for people who weren’t sitting behind desks to access content when and where they need it.”

After surveying the vendor landscape, Hyatt turned to Saba Cloud to implement a more advanced training and development framework that would include mobile and social capabilities. One of the key requirements was an ability to address varied language and geographic requirements.

But Hyatt also wanted to implement a system that was simple to use and could provide video and other content on mobile devices, such as smartphones. This would make it possible for a waiter to review how to pour a glass of wine properly or for a member of housekeeping to see how to make a bed correctly. In addition, the system had to support an array of other learning functions incorporating systems training and leadership development.

The new system, which went live in April 2015, has helped Hyatt take training and development into the digital age. Hyatt now offers 24/7/365 access to content and courses that facilitate peer-to-peer networking and knowledge exchange. It’s possible to assign or recommend training to employees based on their brand, level or functional role in the organization. The solution, which supports 11 languages, delivers content in a variety of ways, including online virtual classrooms, social communities and mobile access. It also delivers materials for in-person training.

Users can look up things on their own but they also have the ability to search by relevance or popularity and apply filters by attributes, such as language. What’s more, employees can view their progress and rate the training materials.

“We constantly gain feedback on what works and what doesn’t work from the rating as well as from the analytics the tool offers,” Devulapally said.

The biggest challenge, according to Devulapally, was meeting an aggressive timeline for implementing the technology and updating content. The process — which took just under four months — required input from multiple business units, including IT, human resources and operations. Hyatt plans to continue rolling out content in the months ahead and it also is looking into virtual classroom training to augment the current content.

Concludes Devulapally: “A lot of our old training was text based or classroom-oriented. Today, people don’t want to watch training for two hours or wade through pages of text. They want to be able to access the information they require when they need it.”

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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