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.











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?

What Do Best Employers Do?

focal point/Shutterstock

Learning happens through training and development programs for employees in all types of organizations across the country. Some programs offer a wide variety of options for employee development, while others may be in place only to provide the minimum requirements to meet legislative or compliance standards. Too often the focus, in the public eye, is on companies that do not go beyond the minimum. These organizations provide sensationalist ‘how not to’ stories, which result from the negative consequences of poor employee training plans.

For a refreshing change of pace, there are numerous Canadian employers who are able to provide a positive ‘how to’ perspective on their constructive employee development plans. One of these organizations is LoyaltyOne, an award-winning Canadian organization dedicated to continuous employee growth through learning and professional development.

Click here to read about LoyaltyOne’s approach to employee learning.

In our training and development studies we categorize employee learning as either on-the-job or off-the-job. The approach used by LoyaltyOne shows us that work-related learning does not have to be one or the other. Learning happens all the time. What is most important is that ‘real-time’ learning can happen through any number of sources for individuals at any time. Perhaps it is time to recognize that the categorization of when and how learning can happen is artificially limiting.

Thanks to technology, the learning landscape has been transformed to one of limitless opportunities and potential challenges. The scope of employee expectations is much higher as access to training through technology becomes easier to navigate and manage.

What has not changed in its importance is an absolute commitment to learning and employee development, which must be put in place from and by the leaders at the top. There is a reason award-winning organizations receive the accolades they do. A commitment to excellence is not just a theoretical concept for Canadian companies who are the best in their field.

That commitment must be real if genuine, ongoing growth and development is to happen.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you were the training and development specialist at your current organization, what types of ‘real-time’ learning strategies would you recommend?
  2. As an employee, do you prefer on- or off-the-job training? Explain your rationale.
  3. What is the relationship between LoyaltyOne’s approach to employee learning and its organizational culture?
  4. Click into LoyaltyOne’s corporate website. What types of learning incentives are in place that would be attractive to a potential employee?

Lonely At The Top?

Doidam 10/Shutterstock

It does not have to be!

One of the unspoken challenges that comes with the ascension into a senior leadership role is that there is no one to talk to.  When a leader takes on the role of the Chief Executive Officer, they are perceived as having the competencies and the abilities to enact all organizational decisions and strategies on their own.  As the leader of others, the CEO does not need to have a leader for themselves.  It is as if once the leader has assumed the role, they are fully formed and no longer need further development from others.

This view of a leadership practice flies in the face of the principles of life-long learning and the on-going development of a learning organization.  Leaders are human.  Humans are innately drawn to the need for constant development and continuous learning.  While the organizational leader may no longer need to have the same kind of formal professional development plans that they learned from as they moved into more senior leadership roles, once they are in the top position, the leader does need to continue learning and growing, just like everyone else.

Mentorship provides one of the most effective forms of leadership training and learning to those that move into the organizational leadership role.  The role of the leadership mentor is explored in a recent article in the Financial Post.

Click here to read the article.

The mentorship relationship can have a powerful effect, not only on the CEO, but on the organization as a whole.  When the leader is healthy, the organization is also healthy, as noted in the article.  A leader who has a mentor is able to shape and share ideas to problem solve in a safe environment that respects the leadership function and understands the challenges that come with the mantle of the organizational leader.  The mentor may be one of the few people who can hold the mirror up to the leader for healthy self-critique and continuation of personal and professional development.

We all need someone to talk to who understands and can support us, especially when we must face difficult or challenging decisions.  As with any type of relationship, the key to successful mentoring is to ensure that both the mentor and mentee understand their roles and respect each other’s boundaries.

The leader who keeps learning is a positive role model for the rest of us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As a Training and Development specialist, how would you develop a mentorship program for the CEO of your organization?
  2. Why would a CEO resist having a formal mentor as part of their personal leadership development plan?
  3. Identify three key characteristics of someone who has been a mentor for you. What made the mentoring relationship work for you?

How To Keep On Learning – Read on, read on , read on!

How does the HR professional keep on top of their industry?   Like any other seasoned professional, continuous off-the-job (OTJ) training and development is required. There are many ways to stay current; conferences, TED talks, or reading current management journals.

One of the most effective methods of OTJ training is reading – but what should the HR professional read? Material vetted by a reliable source is essential! Harvey Schachter, a regular contributor to the business pages of the Globe and Mail recently created a list of his choices.  Schacter’s list has a few different categories and titles that should capture the interests of an HR Professional; including, Work Rules, Power Score, and Hiring For Keeps.  

Here is the list from Harvey Schachter:

  1. Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock
  2. Power Score by Geoff Smart
  3. Hiring For Keeps by Janet Webb
  4. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
  5. Transitions at the Top by Dan Ciampa and David Dotlich
  6. The 27 Challenges Managers Face by Bruce Tulgan
  7. The Wallet Allocation Rule by Timothy Keiningham, Lerzan Aksoy and Luke Williams
  8. Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer
  9. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha
  10. I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderk

Click here to read the article.

After reviewing the list, which books look interesting to you?  Perhaps that is a topic you should explore as part of your OTJ training development!

Discussion Questions:

  1. If an organization wants to become a true learning organization, what are some strategies that the organization can implement to encourage OTJ professional reading and development?
  2. What strategies could a HR Department implement to encourage employee to employee transfer of knowledge?