Posted on 31 Oct 2017

It is no secret that turnover in the hospitality industry is unavoidable. With young workerscommonly studentsmaking up a high percentage of the workforce. Combine that with shift work, long hours and low pay, and it’s no shock then that the industry is experiencing low retention rates.

Across the board, Hong Kong’s major industries are struggling with turnover with the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management’s (HKIHRM) survey by Manpower recently revealing  that the average staff turnover rate for the first half of 2017 was 12.3%, rising 1.8 percentage points from 10.5% in the second half of 2016.1

It’s time to address this issue head on. There is a lot that your management staff can do to contribute to staff retention and increase overall employee engagement with their job! And this starts with understanding how onboarding and learning can keep your new hires on the highway to success.

The benefits of having a robust onboarding process for new hires are well known. The first experiences with your organisation are integral to the long term success of new employees. As renowned talent management thought-leader and advisor to San Francisco State University, Dr. John Sullivan, notes, effective onboarding programs can improve employee performance by 11.5%, with 66% of employees who take part in a structured onboarding process being more likely to remain with a company for longer than three years.2

The numbers are in onboarding’s favour:

  • Globally, 90% of new hires decide whether to stay at a company within the first 6 months of starting a new job.3
  • Employees whose companies have longer onboarding programs gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in the shortest programs.4

But what happens when your onboarding program ends and your employees begin to settle into the role, still faced with several more learning gaps ahead? It’s that transition point that is the difference between extending their learning curve in order to providing exceptional customer service, or shortening it.

Smoothing Out the Bumps in the Road

The transition from employee onboarding into workplace learning is often disjointed but it really shouldn’t be! Seamlessly integrating the onboarding process with longer-term learning and development programs has a significant impact on reducing employee turnover, as it enables more time for coaching and information sharing which is vital in a highly guest service-oriented business.

In many cases, if your organisation is making even a slight investment into learning and development for employees, the idea of continued learning facilitation is already present in your plan. Here lies an opportunity to ensure learning doesn’t end with the completion of your workplace health and safety courses.

5 Tips to Help You Get Your Hospitality Training into Gear

Remember, learning is a career-long journey, onboarding is a logical starting point for that journey to take place, not the end of the road. And it’s not a journey that employees should get lost on along the way, or struggle to find directions.

So how can you keep your new recruits on the highway to success?

  1. Ensure new hires don’t hit a dead end once they’ve completed their initial compliance training;
  2. Talent Acquisition and L&D functions should partner to take a truly holistic approach to the overall learning experience of new hires – it takes two to tango;
  3. Make the transition from onboarding to learning a seamless one with technology that supports learning continuity;
  4. Recommend, schedule and track extended onboarding/learning activities to close any identified knowledge gaps quickly.
  5. Explore integrating your onboarding and learning technology to ensure the organisation has full visibility over an employee’s entire learning journey over time.

Interested in combining onboarding with a learning extension? PageUp’s combined Onboard + Learning Management offering can help you shorten the learning curve for new hires.



  1. SMBWorld Asia Editors. Accessed October 2017.
  2. Sullivan, J.  Accessed July 2017.
  3. Bersin by Deloitte. The Corporate Learning Factbook 2012.  Deloitte Consulting LLC, 2012.
  4. Urbanbound.  Accessed July 2017