Training Is Not Optional

August 1, 2012 No Comments

With a variety of delivery systems, every proprietor can take advantage of great educational programs
How does employee training benefit your company? What difference does it make? Can it really make you more competitive?
Yes, it can. For one, employee training improves your ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace. Because your staff is learning and working efficiently, you can shift to new ideas more quickly. Training also ensures you have quality people on hand when you expand. Because employees know what to do, they can grow your business.
In addition, training builds a motivated and committed team that’s loyal to your company. It also creates a pool of qualified replacements for employees who leave. Ongoing training helps you fill voids with good people.
Lastly, training is just fair to your customers who you depend on for your livelihood. Skilled employees will impress customers to come back. Together, these reasons boost your competitive edge as you provide training for your employees.
Education and training staff is often like dieting and exercise; we all know we should be doing it and feel better when we do, but the motivation to start is inherently absent. It is not seen as necessary or even vital to survival until an unfortunate life-altering event like a health emergency occurs.
Where to start? What are the training options? What is best for your operation? What will give the best ROI?
Many factors contribute to this but, with today’s technology and economic climate, the question isn’t whether you can afford to train but whether you can afford NOT to train. It is not if you should have internal and external training but what is the best combination of training.

Online Versus In-person Training

This October, BPAA is introducing the School of Entertainment Center Management. The six-day program is packed with 30-plus hours of classroom training, with instruction from some of the best and brightest the industry has to offer.  Additionally, the school experience includes multiple site visits to some of the best entertainment centers in the country, where students have the opportunity to question the operators and owners about their respective operating best practices.  The school includes curriculum in: Entertainment Center Financial Levers, Attractions Operations, Food & Beverage Service & Execution, Group Events Promotion, Organized Play in Entertainment Centers, Staff Selection & Scheduling, Maximizing Profitability through Effective Packaging, Managing Managers, Game Room Operation and Sales Force Selection & Interviewing. Although this head-spinning amount of information is only $1,299 per person, it could be potentially cost prohibitive for front-line staff to attend.  This type of in-person training is designed for those who are, or could become, high-level operation managers in bowling-anchored entertainment centers.  Other forms of in-person training like bringing in a training consultant could be more advantageous but still has its limitations of topics and price.
However, online training, when available, presents an option that can fulfill front line and supervisor-level training at a fraction of the cost.  In 2007, through a partnership with Anne Arundel Community College, named one of the top 10 foremost leaders in e-learning and digital technology, the BPAA Bowling University developed college level courses that today over 500 centers use as a less expensive option for training much of their front-line and developing supervisors and managers. Centers train their staffs in topics such as Customer Service, Food and Beverage, Human Resources, Leadership, Maintenance, Marketing and Sales and Supervisory Skills among others, for only $75 per course.
Be cautioned, online training and certification is not for everyone. It takes a bit of discipline to make sure assignments are completed on time.  Online training is new and sometimes intimidating because of the unknown, but be assured that the knowledge gained is arguably better retained than in-person training. Online education is quickly becoming the standard in higher education.  Today, one in every six students enrolled in college will participate in online learning.  In fact, a recent US Department of Education study found that students taking online courses outperformed students receiving face-to-face instruction.
Whether you are training a front line staffer to have a better understanding for your customer service needs or you have a blossoming manager, there is something available that is affordable.  Just as importantly, whether you are a veteran or a newcomer, the industry is changing so quickly that your own education and training is just as valuable to your operation. -
(Kelly Bednar is the BPAA Director of Education and can be reached at Kelly@bpaa.com.)

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