Accor, the world’s leading hospitality operator’s CEO, Sebastien Bazin, reaffirmed recently in a major announcement, whilst referring to the talent of the organisation: “You are the most important asset of this Group. Nothing will be possible with our guests if I don’t take care of you.”
With over 280,000 talent committed to providing guests with outstanding experiences, Accor believes that one of its greatest assets is its people. With this ethos in mind, the Group ensures it maintains an authentic sense of service delivered in each of its outlets and properties, by implementing a strong learning and development culture thanks to the world’s first accredited hospitality learning network, Accor Academy.
THE BIRTH AND REBIRTH OF ACCOR ACADEMY
Accor was the first services company in Europe to create an integrated training centre. Since its inception in 1985, a network of Academies throughout the globe offers a multitude of dedicated learning programmes, supported by a variety of training techniques and aligned with the needs of local hotels and market practices. Accor Academy trained an average of over 81,000 employees in Asia Pacific in 2018 through a catalogue of over 100+ different courses delivered in six Academies around the region, from Auckland to Makati, Bangkok to Delhi, Sydney to the Maldives, and within over 1,100 properties. Accor Academy is committed to supporting the Group’s expansion with training courses that cement the corporate culture and enhance employee capabilities.
The year 2019 has seen a major revamp of the Academy with the support of a dedicated task force of representatives from each region and a global collection of leaders representing industry disciplines. To inspire and gain insight on the best learning models and initiatives, the Academy Revamp taskforce’s first mission was to study universities and organisations with a successful learning culture, as well as countries, such as Sweden, who have demonstrated a unified approach towards mobility and access to equal education for all.
“Over the past two years, the Academy has undergone significant transformation,” says Michael Vaz, Vice President of Learning & Development at Accor Asia Pacific. “The idea was always to earn a reputation of becoming an extremely professional in-house consultancy, bringing a variety of leadership programmes and globally recognised certifications to our corporate offices and hotel teams in addition to creating strategic and operational hospitality programmes that make a real difference to our customer journey and to our teams delivering our promises daily. We also have over 650 certified trainers across our region groomed to deliver learning sessions across our 1,100+ properties ensuring learning reaches every level so that our talent is provided with opportunities to constantly learn and grow.”
Learning programmes are also undergoing a real facelift and evolving into “learning journeys”, combining virtual classrooms, online learning, access to e-libraries combined with face-to-face classroom sessions. This enables the Group to stay relevant, current and cater to a very multi-generational workforce. Accor’s latest leadership journey called Leadership in Motion was delivered to their most senior leaders with this multi–layered blended learning approach, which also included focus groups with millennials and leaders at various levels, making learning immersive and as real life as possible.
E-LEARNING IN YOUR POCKET
For the first time in the Group’s history, Accor will also be moving towards a globally used Learning Management system, giving every member of the organisation access to their own personalised learning journey and allowing employees to be part of global learning network and opportunities, all available “in their pocket” through mobile or at work.
This platform will create informal and formal learning communities to make learning a way of life, where users can ask questions, comment and share best practices around the world. A combination of brand new blended learning leadership journeys, being designed with cutting-edge learning models will be released when the platform launches.
“This platform will truly help us engage audiences across generations and create something very special in our employee experience,” says Vaz. “Just as our guests value great content being sent to them digitally or in person, so do our people. It will also help us obtain feedback directly from our audience on the needs and preferences of our talent when it comes to development and access to learning programmes.”
LEARNING FROM THE HEART
The greatest and most impactful enabler to effectively spread this new learning revolution within Accor was undoubtedly the Heartist® Journey. Regarded as an organisation-wide cultural revolution, the journey started in Asia Pacific in 2017 and was met with enthusiasm, passion and energy by leaders and employees alike.
Heartist® focuses on enhancing the employee experience, which in turn enhances the guest experience. Hotels that have launched the Heartist® Journey have demonstrated a rise in their overall guest scores and employee friendliness scores. The Heartist® Journey enhances that emotional connection which blends perfectly with the guest-focused industry, enabling talent to understand guests at their very heart. This journey has helped transform the “death by Powerpoint” type trainings into powerful learning techniques, adopting storytelling and experiences to help deliver an effective and immersive learning experience.