Sandals team members benefit from online learning system

AS part of its continued investment in the development of its team members in Jamaica and across the region, Sandals Resorts International has provided them with additional learning opportunities through its robust online learning management system (LMS), titled Cornerstone OnDemand.

The LMS is the latest in the company’s well-documented history of investing in team members’ growth and development, and is in addition to the Sandals Corporate University’s (SCU) previous investment of over US$1 million in scholarships to team members pursuing high school equivalency courses; professional certification programmes; associate, bachelor and postgraduate degrees.

The SCU was launched in 2012 under the direction of Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart to formalise the company’s mission to instil, encourage and reward team members’ commitment to lifelong learning and to position team members to be able to realise their full potential.

The LMS, which offers a range of courses in multiple disciplines and subject areas, has seen increased traffic since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with team members turning to the portal to pursue a range of courses and enhance their skill sets.

According to the company’s Learning, Development and Service Standards Director Dr Phillip Brown, the company has seen an almost 40 per cent increase in the number of team members starting and completing courses since the closure of the resorts due to the pandemic.

“We are very happy to see this increased use of our learning management system. It tells us that our team members are taking charge of their learning and development and are using this time away from work productively. We are extremely proud of our team members and their efforts to enhance their skills, and we look forward to reopening our resorts with an even stronger, well-trained team,” Dr Brown said.

“Our company has always taken learning and development seriously, and through this particular learning management system we are able to further streamline our efforts, work closely with our team members to plan their individual learning journeys, and be better positioned to invest in the holistic development of our team. This has proven crucial, especially at a time like this,” Dr Brown said,

Sandals introduced the LMS in an effort to provide all team members, from line staff to supervisors, managers and executives, with opportunities for continued learning and upskilling. A robust and multifaceted system, the LMS currently covers over 130 courses created by Sandals or third-party suppliers to meet the learning and competency needs of team members. There are also plans afoot to roll out an additional 1,000 courses developed and catalogued by Cornerstone for an initial one-month period, with a view to permanently add these in the future.

Team members are able to use the system, which is cloud-based and accessible anywhere in the world, through the web via their laptops or desktops, or on the go using their cellphones and tablets through a mobile app. With many courses on the app being downloadable there is no heavy data requirement.

Team members may pursue courses of their choice and are also assigned courses by their supervisors or managers based on the needs of the company, their specific departments, and the team member’s individual learning pathway.

The system also promotes social learning through its Cornerstone Connect tool, which allows team members to ‘follow’ others and share courses and other useful content.

The LMS also has the capacity to track each team member’s learning journey and to generate reports which further inform the company’s approach to training and development.

Since March team members have completed courses such as project management, human resource management, safety in the workplace, negotiation skills; measuring results from training, team building for managers, public speaking, ‘serve safe’ (food safety certification), among many others. The most popular courses to date have been safety in the workplace, teamwork and team building, and Excel 2016 essentials. All team members are also mandated to complete a Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness course, which was built out from the company’s robust protocol manual outlining strict health and safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concierge agent at Sandals Montego Bay, Shadeen Reid, recently completed the customer service course and spoke highly of the experience.

“Completing my LMS customer service course was the best thing that happened to me during COVID-19,” Reid said. “The course helped me so much during this pandemic. I used it to clear my mind of all pandemic thoughts and focus on ways to be more productive in my career. The information was very useful and increased my knowledge, which will help with my daily routine at work.”

Upon successful completion of third-party courses, such as those from the National Restaurant Association for example, team members will receive internationally recognised certification, while those who successfully complete in-house courses may be eligible for Sandals Corporate University certificates of completion.

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