Mark Ransley

Founder and Director, EEC-ITIS Malta

Mark Ransley is Founder and Director of EEC-ITIS Malta Tourism and Languages Institute.

Qualified Staff And Continuous Training

Monday 19th March 2018

In general, people’s actions are based on their level of education and/or experience. There can be thousands of different approaches to any given situation, and many of us may act very differently in the same circumstance. However, in my opinion, people with a good level of education will act more or less similarly. This of course all depends on the seriousness and importance of the matter. Let’s take one common example. If a mother tells her child that touching fire will hurt and burn their fingers, then that child has been educated not to touch fire. On the other hand, if the child did touch the fire, then that child has learned through experience.

In the business world, companies cannot afford to employ staff without education or wait for them to learn only through experience, as this might be quite costly, and affect other factors such as company image. If the company management thinks that employing cheap labour will increase profits, then they are totally mistaken. In this case it might very well be that the management itself also does not have the necessary qualifications to manage. Mathematically, it is logical to work out that less labour cost equals more profit. But employees with low wages are most likely to be unqualified and unhappy at work since their wages are not sufficient to pay rent or buy groceries. Like their wage, their output will be poor. How many times, for example, have we been to a restaurant where we were badly served by a waiter who is underpaid, without any skills or experience in waiting? The same goes for front office staff at hotels. It is not the first time that I have felt unwelcome during check-in at a relatively good quality hotel. I am sure that all of us would be reluctant to visit those particular restaurants and hotels again.

Am I correct in saying that in these two types of roles, the waiter and the front office staff, are the first company personnel that the customer meets? Am I correct in saying that these two entry-level positions are actually the ambassadors of these establishments? Does it therefore make any sense to employ unqualified or unknowledgeable staff in these two occupation examples that entail very important responsibilities within these establishments? It is all about customer service. No matter how good the food is, or how attractive the hotel might be, if the customers do not get the support/service from these employees, they will just choose your competitors.

It is essential, especially in the service business, for companies to invest in their employees by offering them a respectable wage and provide them with continuous training, whether in-house or outsourced. These factors will improve the employee’s performance, efficiency and give them a sense of confidence in their work which can only result in having satisfied customers. This in turn will surely increase sales and profits.

To advance one step further, employing the right staff is not the only solution. They need to be updated with new trends in their profession. Speaking about professions, may I just remark that many people think that being a waiter is not a profession, but just a job that university students to take on to make ends meet, or simply an ideal occupation for fast, unprofessional employment. This unquestionably is a misconception in the way people think outside of the service industry. Restaurant work is actually mentally challenging, requiring knowledge and skill in how to serve, and can be rather physically exhausting.

There are many new and innovative ways to improve customer service, including continuous academic training that will definitely enhance the employee’s performance and branding of such establishments. Thus, it is important to know what the customer expects and how to offer them a service beyond their expectations.