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The world is constantly changing and both hardware and software are evolving constantly.

The people in our organisations enter with the luggage they have and for which we’ve hired them. This luggage (their knowledge, skills, personality, motivation) does not remain constant. In a changing world, the development of the individual is paramount to us being able to deliver the best service, the best products to ever-changing customers. We know about the millennials, but do we really and have our teams been prepared to talk to them, think like them? And should we forget about the “old” guys? I hear, many a time, that before all was different (and better). We’ve all heard it but cannot seem to shake it away. We’ve written enough about new solutions for changing generations and changing customers, but we’ve not quite looked at the continuous learning aspect for ourselves as employers or for our employees.

Working in some parts of the world, I have seen some employers almost chaining their employees, through duration of contracts, to the company whenever money was spent on training and mostly purely business related trainings or development schemes. I even had one employer formally prohibit his employees (female) of getting pregnant when they asked for training or personal development. The discussion was all about ROI, return on investment.

There are rational arguments about spending money and wanting a positive return on this spending.

Yet, one could also look at the non-quantifiable elements of this investment, especially when investing in people.

Looking at the cost is an objective measure, but looking at the alternative, i.e. what will happen with the organisation if and when we do not invest in development, is a very difficult if not impossible task, but it is essential to factor it in the risk management of a company. The “what if” questions.

Most if not all people aspire to develop themselves and to pass that personal development on to the future generations. We’ve seen people that were lifted to the next level being so happy and proud of this that they were happy to transmit that knowledge to other members of staff.

And there lays already one cost that a company could look at : sending one or more individuals on personal and professional development will increase the possibility of this having a contaminating effect on the others. But this is and must be a continuous process, there will be new people all the time and new knowledge, in every industry, is made available all the time.

What if I do not develop my staff? Some will leave, some will tire or go to sleep, but you can bank on quality going down.

A previous article mentioned the responsibility of the employer in not demotivating his employees and each employer should have done market scan, a positioning study, on how he performs against the other potential employers his employees might turn to. And knowing how much the competition is offering, also in terms of development, is part of this.

And this is valid for all companies. And this is also valid for all people within the organisation, including owners and especially those from small businesses. I met a small business owner lately who loved his job but complained that he grew stupid over the years, not having the time or the money to develop himself professionally.

And there is another cost that the employer can look at : can you quantify what will happen and how much when and if the quality of your services or products is going down?

There are a zillion development possibilities out there, some better than others. And it is not always a requirement to be purely professional, purely related to the business of the company.

We have observed people attending trainings in time management, or in communication skills (verbal, non-verbal), even acting classes ; subjects that are sometimes obliquely pertinent to the business but it gave individuals a precious extra luggage and some of that luggage will also serve them for their personal life adding interest for the individual.

AT LHC we have different development possibilities during the year, most of them professionally driven. We have numerous possibilities for line staff and all levels of management.

But we also have a development programme centred on the development of the brand “me”


Photo P.Verbeke 4×6

Pierre Verbeke Senior Consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA

Pierre Verbeke is a Senior Consultant at LHC. He has an extensive career in hotel operations, pre-openings and re-brandings. He is first and foremost an operational person having managed several hotels in Belgium and having set up many pre-opening teams in different countries. He also has gained a wealth of experience opening hotels for a large Hotel Operator in various European, North African and Eastern European countries. He is particularly at ease with project management and knows how to deliver the highest quality of service within the agreed timeframe.

Pierre has experience with leased, managed and franchise properties and undserstands the various demands from owners, investors, and operators within the different projects. Pierre is an alumnus of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. He speaks Dutch, German, French and English, with some notions of Spanish.