Why Crown’s L&D programs are winning awards

by John Hilton27 Nov 2015
Matching L&D to business performance is one of the most important jobs of an L&D practitioner. John Hilton talks to Alicia Gleeson, General Manager HR at Crown, about how L&D works at Crown College.

What does L&D at Crown College look like?

We operate Crown College at both of our sites, Melbourne and Perth. I will focus on the Melbourne site which is a $10 million purpose-built training centre based on the third floor of our Crown Metropole Hotel, which was built just over five years ago. Through Crown College in Melbourne we operate our own Registered Training Organisation. And through that we offer over 500 different courses delivering programs across areas such as compliance, customer service, leadership and the technical skills that we need for all of our separate business areas.

How do you find the right training mix?

We use a blended approach, ranging from classrooms with face-to-face learning, online learning, and simulated work environments, as well as on the job training and coaching. We have got over 1200 employees enrolled in accredited training at Crown College in Melbourne at the moment.

In addition to that training that comes through on the calendar in accredited activity we also have professional developments for any of our professional areas such as legal, finance, HR, IT, sales training and the like. We also support any of the departmental development plans in terms of what they might specifically need at any time from an intervention perspective that need training assistance.

How do you go about making the case for the benefits of a meaningful L&D culture?

We’re fortunate now. I think our case has been well-demonstrated over the years to the business and we probably don’t have to spend as much time as some other organisations do proving that. We’ve been able to demonstrate the return on investment to the business in several facets. One has been the fact that we have received a lot of external recognition.  We were in the Hall of Fame recently for the RACV Tourism Awards and Crown Perth was also successful in the Australian Training Awards as the 2015 Employer of the Year.

The business is not going to release employees into paid learning opportunities that are costing them money unless it returns something to them. That’s where we ensure that the training that we offer is always delivering on the business outcomes. We are a service industry so we focus on the service and the business understands that we have been able to really develop and lift our service standards to an international level through really engaging effective learning opportunities for people to really develop that.

The engagement of employees is very clear and they really value that. The business can see that their staff value the opportunities and the development. The fact that it actually creates competent employees who are ready for the next steps in their career paths, and then some of the interventions we do are very directly related to the kinds of indicators the business is using for its success.

A simple one may be sales metrics or sign ups into our loyalty programs or any of those kinds of key indicators that the business is interested in driving forward. And if it has a learning element attached to that it’s actually measuring that return on investment. To do all of those things the business understands that the investment of a couple of hours may well pay ten-fold in its returns.

One of the most interesting aspects is looking at the business plan and saying: ‘Where are we going to grow or change our business?’ Then it’s a matter of what we can do to actually ensure that that works effectively.