High-end restaurant group D&D London have recently been awarded the best COVID-19 training award at the Springboard hospitality awards 2020. D&D London consists of 43 diverse restaurants, bars and a hotel, based predominantly in London, but also with locations in Leeds, Bristol Manchester, Paris and New York.
With the global pandemic having a huge impact on the 1,200 employees that are employed by D&D London, providing relevant support and information at the point-of-need was extremely important to the organisation. To respond to this need, D&D London launched D&D Connect, which is built using Looop. They were able to use Looop's’ resources and campaigns features to keep employees updated and informed in real-time at every stage of the lockdown.
With the hospitality sector greatly affected by the pandemic, D&D’s Head of L&D, Adam Harwood, knew they had to act fast. He says,
“The chosen post-lockdown training approach for our teams was a series of webinars and a collection of digital resources. As soon as the Government released official guidance for hospitality, we, like many, had a short window to translate and disseminate the information to our furloughed employees. The decision to train our employees virtually was all about speed and scale. These methods helped us ensure that every team member, regardless of their role or location, had some form of COVID-19 training before reopening, which was a key measure for us.”
Ensuring employees would feel safe when returning to work was a huge priority for Adam. He continues,
“Another priority post-lockdown was that our employees would feel safe when returning to work. By asking our managers to host their own online webinars, it meant our teams would be given training specific to their venue. As for the digital resources, we built these ourselves internally, so the training was personalised and highlighted how different it would be for our employees when returning back to work. When it comes to mandatory training, some companies opt to roll out generic content, or just send managers the procedures as a ‘must-read’ to cascade. However, we recognised that if we genuinely wanted to make our people feel safe, this couldn’t just be an information dump, the training methods had to be contextually specific to them. We were able to do this quickly and effectively using Looop.”
Adam chose to use customisable digital resources as he knew the training needed to be flexible and adaptive to the ever-changing guidance during the pandemic. Since digital resources can be updated within minutes, Adam and the Head of Safety were able to easily add and remove information collaboratively, so the training for their existing employees and new hires always reflected the latest COVID-19 guidance.
Once all their training was developed, D&D made sure everyone in the organisation had a role to play in following COVID-19 measures. This started with managers, whose responsibilities were highlighted from the outset, along with access to the COVID-19 Secure Management System, which laid out what was expected of them. Adam explains,
“It was crucial that our managers demonstrated that they could translate the guidance to their own site and create a shared understanding amongst their teams. They were given the accountability to reinforce to their teams that these weren’t just new rules set by Head Office; this was a shift in ways of working and mindset that everyone had to follow.
The next phase of the training was the digital resources that every employee had to complete. These reinforced responsibility by outlining the specific steps each employee needed to take, covering everything from how they should travel to work to how they should greet customers. The resources were tailored to different roles, so back of house and front of house positions could clearly understand how the measures impacted them specifically. These were developed further for our employees based in our office and one hotel. We could then use Looop’s campaigns feature to target those groups and keep track of progress.”
Adam also created assessments to measure understanding and to ensure everyone was COVID compliant to start their first shift. He says,
"The resources also featured an assessment, in which employees had to score 85% to complete the training, otherwise they would not be allowed to start their first shift. This was reinforced managers, who were targeted with 100% completion before their sites reopened.
To support managers with this and instil new ways of working, we also created a role for each site known as the ‘COVID Champion’. Their role was to be the ‘go-to’ person, handling any queries about COVID in the workplace. All the nominated champions were provided with further dedicated training to take on this role.”
D&D had an objective to ensure all employees would receive a form of COVID-19 training before their first reopening. Despite a 2-week timescale, this was achieved with over 45 site-specific webinars hosted, and 1,200 employees both attending and completing the online resources. These strong numbers were also sustained for their refresher resources that were launched before the second reopening in November, with 92% of the workforce completing them.
They also rolled out a pulse survey to understand the impact of the training and guidance provided. The results from this survey were a positive indication that their approach was landing with their staff force:
They received encouraging feedback from managers across the organisation, who stated that they felt supported through the whole process. This unique approach and positive feedback at all levels at such a challenging time was also picked up by the Springboard Hospitality judges as they reviewed each submission as these comments showed:
"D&D London demonstrated a complete all rounded approach to safely training staff and re-opening sites. Beginning with an overview of all controls, they then followed a phased approach with managers delivering site-specific webinars, developing online training, and creating a Covid champion within each site. Judges were impressed with the incredible feedback of staff, who not only felt safe with the procedures in place but had a firm understanding in their own role to play in the overall process.” - Chris Gamm, CEO of Springboard.
“We were impressed with how quickly the virtual programme was created but not rushed so it did have the essential detail. It was executed with short- and long-term considerations. It's clear it was a flexible and adaptable approach taken by D&D. The judges particularly liked the training wasn't just 'off the shelf' and one size fits all, it was clear it was specific to D&D and its people." - Simon Lewis Springboard Judge
“Looop was fundamental to the success of this programme and a huge contributing factor to winning this award. It gave us the capability to scale the training across all our sites with ease. It allowed us to build resources that were company-specific and adapt the training, as and when the COVID-19 guidance changed. Using the built-in campaigns and analytics available, we were also able to automate reminders, send out updates, track completion and see employee feedback, so we were always on top of things” - Adam Harwood, Head of L&D, D&D London
D&D London managed to not only keep staff informed and supported during the pandemic, they also managed to create such an impact that even their customers recognised the work put in for COVID safety. By getting the entire workforce involved in the training programme, they managed to get everyone informed, COVID-safe and able to get back to work quickly and efficiently. We’re proud to have supported D&D London achieve this fantastic result.
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