Let’s Voyage with the Marriott


Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel chain and in 2017 it broke into the top 500 of Forbes Global 2000 list.

Click here to view Forbes’ list.

Yes, mergers and acquisitions have added to its global size, but it is Marriott’s quality systems that keep their growth going and their customers coming back. The Marriott has the highest customer loyalty of any hotel chain, according the 2017, J.D. Power report.

One of Marriott’s successes factors is its unique employee onboarding, leadership, and development program, which is called “Voyage”.

Here is a case study on the Voyage training program.

Marriott has transformed its very traditional and dated training systems to utilize the latest technology and has integrated aspects of Web 3.0 learning theory into all aspects of this unique training .

Click here to learn more about Web 3.0.

Marriott’s Voyage program is a holistic training program that includes:

  • a sophisticated learning platform
  • Integrated approached
  • Webinars
  • Blended learning
  • Virtual learning and collaboration
  • Hotel simulator and gamification

This program has expanded and is now a global leadership development program run by the Marriott University. Its chief goal is to develop post-secondary graduates into leaders in the Hotel Industry.

Click here to learn more about the Marriott University.

Marriott has done what so few organizations do; it understands the quality equation, which is that the quality of its services is based on the quality of its employees, which is in turn based on the quality of its training and development. The Voyage program, from on-boarding to global leadership development, was a major contributor to Marriott’s stock price rise of 64% in 2017.  Many other organizations may want to model this training concept in their own contexts.


Discussion Questions:

  • Research and identify the differences between Web 2.0 learning and Web 3.0 learning?
  • Give examples of two other organizations that are using Web 3.0 principles of learning and explain how they have been successful with their training programs.











HR and Gamification


Gamification in the workplace is a trend that started around 2015 and has become increasingly popular in the training and development world. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of gamification, let’s start with the basics. The Training Industry defines game-based learning and gamification, which are two closely related concepts, in the following way:

Game-Based Learning is training that uses game elements to teach a specific skill or achieve a specific learning outcome. It takes your core content and objectives and makes them fun.

Gamification is the application of game mechanics in a non-game context to promote desired behaviour and drive learning outcomes. Think points, badges, leaderboards, and incentives.

Game-Based Learning vs. Gamification: Do You Know the Difference?

Why use gamification in the workplace? Some believe gamification in the workplace can improve productivity, employee engagement, and motivation. If done correctly it may be a great tool for skills development. Gamification does tap into the human need to participate, achieve, and to compete, which may breed exceptional employee performance. It can help bring workplace training to life.

For a deeper understanding of gamification in the workplace, click here and read this article from Radboud University.

Can using gamification in the workplace have negative effects? Yes, it can. Gamification can be expensive to set up if you do not already have an existing platform. Also, like any other learning interventions, it must be strategically linked to your organizations learning and business goals. According to Training Industry, gamification is not ideal for training that requires major behavioural shifts, but is best-suited to content that can be memorized.

Before an HR Department integrates gamification into workplace training or a development program, it must first think very seriously about the outcomes of extensive gamification. Will gamification of training breed positive or negative outcome in the workplace?

Discussion Questions:

Research a company that has successfully introduced gamification in the workplace. What was the specific purpose of the gamification? Where did it result in workplace improvements?

Research a company that has introduced gamification in the workplace and has seen negative results. What were the negative outcomes?

Research to discover some of the ethical issues of gamification in the workplace.


Loving the Labels?

As humans, we have an innate tendency to label things.

Labels often help us make sense of the world. Many of us thrive on the things around us being tidy and organized. Labels provide us with a great way to keep those things where we need them to be, and they help us find what we think we are looking for.

We do it with things. We do it with people.

How often have you arrived at a training or learning session and, as you register, you are given a badge or a label with your name on it? When you wear your name on a label, it does help for others to know who you are and, from an organizational sense, it confirms whether or not you are participating in the session to which you were assigned.

What happens when labeling is designed not just to indicate your name, but to describe who you are? How would you react if, instead of your name on the tag, you were asked to provide your personality type based on an assessment such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)? This might be too much information (TMI) for many of us to share.

Personality assessments, tests, or indicators are often interesting and productive tools that help develop understandings of how or why we behave in certain ways. These tools have been, and continue to be, used within organizations to help develop professional growth plans for individual employees. While most people enjoy learning more about what makes them tick, these assessments come with a cautionary note when used or applied within a workplace setting.

The limitations of applying this type of personality assessment in the workplace are explored in an article from Canadian Business magazine.

Click here to read the article.

The Human Resources practitioner is typically charged with managing an organization’s training and development program. This responsibility comes with the challenge of making the program interesting, interactive, and relevant to individual employees. While nothing may be more interesting for individual employees than figuring out more about themselves, as Human Resources practitioners we need to ensure that the professional development programs we design keep the organization’s interests at the forefront in any planning process.

We need to ensure that we are providing the right resources that encourage continuous personal growth within the context of the organization. More importantly, we need to be aware of the potential risks of crossing the line into too much personal information, and the unintended consequences of attaching labels to others.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As an HR practitioner, how could you use a personality assessment, such as Myers-Briggs, to develop a performance plan for individual employees?
  2. A supervisor wants to use the Myers-Briggs assessment as part of a professional development session focused on team building with her employees. How will you respond to her request as the HR practitioner responsible for designing the session?
  3. From your perspective, why are personality tests used as training tools in the workplace?
  4. If you completed a Myers-Briggs test in the past:
    1. How did the results coincide with your own assessment of yourself?
    2. What types of insights were revealed to you/about you?
    3. Did you agree or disagree with the results?

Orientation or Initiation?

“I am overwhelmed, there is too much paper, and this is so boring!”

This is not a teenager talking about a high school class, but a typical new employee’s comments after a common workplace orientation session.

Many HR departments who run employee orientation or on-boarding sessions get it all wrong, and it sets up a poor employee relationship from day one. The new employee starts to think, “If the company can’t get this right, do I really want to work here?” Talk about a demotivating experience.

There are better ways to run an employee orientation. Think about it as an employee’s initiation, not orientation. HR should focus on how to make the new employee fit into the organization, not HR telling the employee about the organization.

Here is a great article from Forbes how on to get orientation right.

The research shows that having an individual-focused orientation can reduce employee turnover significantly. HR is the gatekeeper of new employees on their first day, make it meaningful to the employee, not an administrative activity that feels like the goal is to deaden the employees will to live. Orientation should be an exciting day for the employee and the employer. Let’s keep that in mind.

Discussion Questions

  • Think about a time you have experienced a very poor orientation session, what was done wrong in that session.
  • If you were the HR manager responsible for the orientation session, what would you recommend changing to make it more meaningful?

Measuring What is Needed


Image of young businesswoman sitting on chair under spot of light
Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

The Human Resources professional’s role is not always in the organizational spotlight. That space is reserved for the organizational leader. Once in the spotlight, all of the characteristics of the leader are highlighted, from both a positive and a negative perspective. In either case, there is increased focus on the need for the leader to improve upon any perceived negative leadership traits in order to increase the level of positive leadership.


Where then should the focus be in order to support positive leadership development?

We need to let the statistics do the talking.

As noted in a recent article provided by the Society for Human Resource Management, there is an alarming rate of leadership development programs resulting in failure for the very leaders these programs are intended to assist.

Why? The statistics seem to indicate that the professional development being provided is not in line with the practical needs of the leader. What is needed by the leader is not what is evaluated by the organization. Evaluation comes with measuring real results and adjusting the organizational course when it is clear that those results do not meet organizational needs.

Click here to read the article.

The article raises an important distinction between ‘edu-trainment’ and true learning based on objective measures for the development of sustainable leadership capabilities. The Human Resources role is integral in maintaining learning programs where results are intentional, observable and measurable, ensuring the right kind of leadership development programs for all leadership roles within the organization.

As Human Resources professionals, we have the capacity to observe what is needed outside of the glare of the spotlight. From that perspective, we can see what is real; where the problems are; discern the difference between insipid inspiration and true leadership competencies; and establish learning outcomes for leaders that are measurable and sustainable. The Human Resources professional has the capacity and the obligation to ensure that valid organizational metrics are established. These should evaluate leadership development through a direct connection to the performance of employees and the results of the organization that the leader serves.

Human Resources will have its time in the spotlight when it is needed. In the meantime, there is always leadership work to be designed and done.

Discussion Questions:

  1. From your reading of the article, why do you think the author recommends that we ‘stop chasing inspiration’ as part of leadership development?
  2. Identify five specific metrics that an organization should implement that measure leadership development and provide a connection to organizational impact.
  3. Do you agree that HR is able to design programs that leadership development in a positive way? Why or why not?