Why Training and Development are Essential for Employees

Could you share a little bit about who you are and what you do here at OML Consulting?

Oky: After receiving my Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management, I started working in the Front Office. During this time, I came to realize that along with my passion for serving others, I also thoroughly enjoyed designing and delivering training to my colleagues. I then had the opportunity to become a lecturer and instructor at a vocational hospitality school, crafting my instructional design, teaching, and training skills. Plus, working primarily with young people aged 16–25 improved my patience and audience reading skills. After moving back to Indonesia, I was able to use my experience in hospitality, training, and education to lead a team of trainers for Indonesia’s largest hospitality and lifestyle brands. My passion for guiding people in their development has recently led me to obtain my Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coaching Federation. I firmly believe that coaching is an essential tool for development and globally, more people are reaping the benefits from it. At OML, my primary focus are projects which involve training, coaching, and learning and development.

Why are training and development so important for employees and their employers?

Oky: We can look at a couple of statistics which can support this fact. According to the survey by ClearCompany in 2019, 68% of employees say that training and development is the most important policy a company has. This shows that employees are keen to know that their employer is willing to invest in their development.

Another research by The Learning Wave shows that 74% of employees believe that they are not reaching their full potential. That’s overwhelming and such an untapped amount of potential! Can you imagine ¾ of your employees feeling like they are unable to get the best out of themselves? That surely affects their performance.

Another statistic shows that 85% of employees feel that they are disengaged at work. They are unable to deliver their best work, and a lack of training and support is part of this.

Image from Unsplash.

Another one by go2HR, 40% of employees with poor training will leave the company in the first year. That’s staggering. That’s almost half of your first years’. What does that mean? Not only are you losing talent that you have already invested in, but you have to spend even more resources recruiting new employees. People often think that training only costs them money. However, training and development are imperative because you need to continuously develop your employees so that they can help you grow your business. As the statistics show, it also makes your employees more engaged and loyal. All in all, people generally enjoy becoming better versions of themself, even more so when it allows them to progress in their career.

What do you think are some important skills that everyone should acquire if they have the resources to do so? Why?

Oky: This is a very good question, especially now in this time where most of the world has been working remotely. I think that if you have the resources, you should develop the following skills:

I think the first one is learnability. The world is changing at an even faster pace, so you need the skills and mindset to want to continuously learn. Meanwhile, you also need to unlearn and accept that certain thoughts and competencies you have are no longer useful and need to be let go.

Resilience is a skill that, especially this year, has shown to be of tremendous value. Many people have learned a lot about themselves and may have gone through periods of stress and concern, having to adapt to working from home. Some people may have thought that working from home at the beginning is what they have always wanted, and then they are suddenly faced with day-to-day challenges, like running a household with kids who are now also at home learning and needing your attention. To be able to bounce back, remain positive, and tell yourself that as long as you try your best, there is hope. Resilience is definitely important.

Image from Pexels.

One more quality that I think it’s imperative and a lot of us overlook is self-care. To have awareness and a clear vision of who you are and what you need to give yourself in order to give others the best. There’s a saying that you “cannot pour from an empty cup”. I hear about it all the time, also from my clients, that people now are overwhelmed with what’s happening in the world and they are trying to adjust, but there’s a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. You have to stay positive and look forward to the future. Having a clear self-care plan which includes simple and achievable daily self-care practices is the foundation. It is more than getting enough sleep, eating regular meals, and exercising. It involves looking at your mental, physical, social, and spiritual needs. If this is unknown territory for you, a coach can guide you in this journey.

Another definite skill to have is collaboration. Most work involves working with others and that synergy is still important. Especially now with remote working, where you do not have the daily face to face interaction, the collaboration will be of an even higher need.

Another skill would be creativity, which is also related to technology. Certain skills such as being able to build a website, having some understanding of social media, and writing a fitting text that supports exposure are important. Of course, there are specialists out there that can do that, but having the understanding to do that would also help.

Image from Unsplash.

One skill that will always remain, I believe, is empathy. Being able to understand what others are going through and putting yourself in their position, that is a skill that will definitely stay. Problem-solving as well. Being able to look at things critically that you would want to approach and try to solve it yourself first. In a remote environment, that might also be stimulated because you are kind of on your own first. Of course, teams can get together and try to solve it after someone has taken a look at the problem, but that is still an important skill to cultivate.

Another skill is leadership and people management, although that is especially applicable to those who have the ambition to lead and manage a team of people. Last but not least, negotiation skills. Even though people believe this is a skill for someone who works in sales, negotiating is something that we all do on a daily basis. Some examples include discussing a timeline with your team, a training need you to have with your manager, or negotiating a fee or salary.

What is the most interesting project that you’ve ever worked on?

Oky: That would have to be one which was a tailor-made training and then delivered company-wide. I would like to point out the Brand Values training that I was fortunate to work on with an international Spanish hotel chain across five of their properties in Southeast Asia. Besides enjoying their excellent hospitality in beautiful locations, what made this experience unique was that the training groups were a blend of all positions from the general manager, the director, the supervisor, the housekeeper, to the receptionist.

Image from Oky Ceelen.

Being able to work with people from different positions and seeing how they were committed to wanting to learn and collaborate was amazing and gave a great sense of fulfilment.

About the Author:

Oky Ceelen is a founding partner of OML Consulting. He has a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management from Hotelschool The Hague, is an experienced trainer and certified Transformative Coach with hospitality and vocational education background. His passion is to guide individuals and teams in their learning and development.

Future of Work / Elevate Talent

Future of Work / Elevate Talent


Want to improve your customer service — Here are some tips to provide a 5 star hospitality experience

  • What is 5 star hospitality service?
  • Offer supreme service to show your professionalism
  • Show genuine interest to understand your customer better
  • Exceed expectations to add value to your business
  • How to build service excellence and consistency

What is 5 star hospitality service?

If there is one industry where customer service is of utmost importance, it is the hospitality industry. You may have heard of the phrase ‘5 star hospitality service’; but what makes a hospitality destination 5 star? This may surprise you, but there are actually no international standards. One rating which is internationally known and respected is the rating outlined in the annual Forbes Travel Guide. Anonymous and independent inspectors travel around the world reviewing luxury hospitality destinations; testing them rigorously against 900 standards. The final score is based 75% on the hotel’s service and 25% on the quality of its facilities.

Last February Forbes Travel Guide announced their Star Award Winners and 265 hotels received their prestigious Forbes Travel Guide 5 Star. What makes these hotels the elite of the elite? As quoted by Forbes Travel Guide CEO Filip Boyen, “Each deserving recipient excels at enriching people’s lives through the power of exceptional service.” Three specific criteria which measured exceptional service were ‘supreme service,’ ‘genuine interest’ and ‘exceeding expectations.’ Let’s take a closer look at these three.

Offer supreme service

“When asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service is ranked number one.” — Zendesk 2019

Offering supreme service gives your customers the feeling you are highly professional and give attention to detail. You must possess great product knowledge and communication skills. For the former this means being able to inform, advise, or take action competently — be that on the spot or within a respectable time frame. For the latter it involves a positive attitude which combines great listening skills, as well as speaking to your customers in a pleasant and certainly respectful manner at all times. Your goal is to connect and engage with your customers and avoid situations that may lead to complaints and confrontations. However, when confronted with a complaint, supreme customer service will usually be able to turn this negative into a positive; therefore, preserving the relationship you have. When you notice that your guest has shoes that need polishing, leaving them a note offering to do so, illustrates a level of offering supreme service.

Show genuine interest

Image provided by Patrick Tomasso

“Feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services.” — Newvoicemedia.com

Human beings are social creatures; as such we are often deeply touched when someone shows genuine interest. The best way to do so is by showing empathy. Empathy is being able to place yourself in someone else’s position, and therefore have a better understanding of their needs and wants. Essentially, when you combine this with great communication skills, it allows you to optimally serve your customers. “What makes your customers buy your products and/or services, what challenges do they encounter, what recommendations do they have?” Showing genuine interest ultimately makes your customers feel heard and appreciated, which is a major factor of retention and referrals. Furthermore, their feedback provides valuable information to exceed their expectations and improve your products and services (which is imperative for any business, but that’s for another topic). An example would be to remember the preferred room temperature of a returning guest, and setting the ac to this prior to their next arrival.

Exceed expectations

Image provided by Patrick Tomasso

“54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. This percentage jumps to 66% for consumers aged from 18 to 34 years old.” — Microsoft 2019

Customers are becoming more demanding, so the best way to differentiate yourself is by exceeding their expectations. This of course is easier said than done. First of all you cannot exceed expectations without successfully offering supreme service and showing genuine interest. Then, using all the information you already know about your customers, you can provide products and services that will positively surprise them. These deeply personalized gestures are usually complimentary. However, the memorable emotional experience you created greatly outweighs any investments. A fantastic example is when a hotel surprises a returning guests traveling by themselves with a handwritten card, chocolates, flowers and champagne to congratulate their wedding anniversary.

Build service excellence and consistency

“Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.” — Bain & Company

“Investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones.” — Invesp 2019

Implementing 5 star hospitality service requires planning, commitment, and consistency. For the first two, a clear vision and standards must be set and communicated to every individual in your team. The process of owning these standards requires time, whilst providing product knowledge, excellence service and empowerment training are key (to name a few). Finally, consistency is threefold; firstly, monitor your team, secondly analyze any feedback and then use the former and latter to improve your standards and performances. The third step is ongoing personalized training for your team; this is often lacking or not done at all by businesses.

My previous experiences with regard to improving customer service include service excellence design, evaluating service standards and delivering service excellence training. Most recently I delivered a service excellence and brand values training for Melia Hotels & Resorts amongst 1,000 of its staff (general manager to rank and file) across five hotels in Southeast Asia. The main objective was to introduce new brand values, which all focus on creating a sense of belonging and memorable experiences for both guests and staff. Spread over two half day hands-on workshops, participants were encouraged to think creatively and team activities were implemented to discuss and practice excellent service techniques.

Are you in need of designing a service excellence culture or looking for ways to boost your customer service? Book a complimentary 30 minutes chat with me by emailing [email protected], where I can offer you insights and advice.

About the author

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Oky Ceelen is a founding partner of OML Consulting. He is an experienced trainer and certified Transformative Coach with a hospitality and vocational education background. His passion is to guide individuals and teams in their learning and development.