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What training do hospitality and retail workers require?

A manager and new employee discussing training

Here at iHASCO, we’ve been delivering high-quality eLearning to the hospitality and retail sectors for well over a decade, and with over 10,000 UK clients, we know a thing or two about workplace training!

However, we appreciate that figuring out training requirements isn’t always simple. Organisations have to work out what training is mandatory, if all their staff need the same training, or if different departments require different training, and the list goes on...

With that said, we’ve put together this guide to help organisations in the hospitality and retail sectors to work out which training staff may require.

First steps

The first step towards working out training needs is completing a risk assessment for each job role so that you can identify any risks associated with them. A risk assessment is a legal requirement for all companies that employ five or more people.

Organisations should also have a documented Health & Safety policy if they have more than five employees. This policy will only be effective if it is regularly reviewed and shared with staff.

Learn more about the basics of Health & Safety in your business with the HSE’s Health & Safety made simple guide.

What training is mandatory?

When trying to determine which training courses staff need, it is often best to start with the courses that are mandatory for all employees.

Employers must remember that all staff are legally required to undertake a form of Health & Safety training, but there are a number of other more specific courses that staff will need to complete.

Fire Awareness & Warden training

Regardless of their role within the business, it is a legal requirement that all employees should receive adequate fire safety training and instruction from their employer.

Employers must also offer specialist Fire Warden training to appointed members of staff.

It’s also worth noting that alongside providing training to employees, employers must have an adequate and up-to-date fire risk assessment.

DSE (Display Screen Equipment) training

Anybody who regularly uses display screen equipment as part of their job legally must be given DSE Training.

If you’re unsure what is considered DSE or whether your staff are considered DSE users, see our blog.

Manual Handling training

Where staff are required to do any lifting, lowering, pulling, or pushing that carries any level of risk, staff should be provided with manual handling training to help alleviate the risk.

Organisations that are just looking to cover mandatory training can check out our mandatory training bundle.

​​Other training considerations for hospitality and retail staff

Working in licensed premises

The Licensing Act 2003 requires that alcohol sale and supply must be controlled.

Employees should be given relevant training and information they need to help them stay within the law when selling or serving alcohol.

Other core health & safety

COSHH - Although it’s not strictly a legal requirement, those who regularly work with dangerous substances should be provided with proper training, instruction and information to help mitigate the risks associated with them. An example of an employee who might frequently work with dangerous substances is a cleaner.

Slips, Trips, and Falls - hospitality and retail venues present many slip, trip, and fall hazards so providing staff with this training is a great way of reducing these risks.

First Aid - All organisations require ‘adequate and appropriate’ first aid provisions including equipment, facilities and personnel. First aiders should be adequately trained, with face-to-face training being carried out once every three years, with regular refresher training in between.

Risk Assessment - As previously mentioned, every organisation with five or more employees is required to document its risk assessments. Those carrying out risk assessments must be competent in assessing risks. 

Accident Reporting - It is a legal requirement for employers to report all incidents that occur in the workplace, regardless of how big or small they might be. The organisation’s appointed person must have a strong understanding of how to properly report an incident.

HR essentials

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion - Workplaces that are more diverse and inclusive see an increase in morale, better staff retention and improved company reputation. It’s a great idea to provide your staff with diversity and inclusion training, from both a moral and business point of view.

Disability Awareness - With over ​​4.1 million disabled people currently in work, many organisations are likely to employ those with disabilities. With that said, it’s important that all employees understand the importance of creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture.

Bullying & Harassment - According to a recent report carried out by YouGov, almost a third (29%) of people are bullied at work. It is important that all employees feel that their place of work is a safe space where they can feel comfortable at all times. Making employees aware of what is considered as bullying is a good starting point to prevent workplace bullying.

Sexual Harassment Awareness - ​​60% of adults in the UK think that better training on the topic of sexual harassment would be effective at reducing it in the workplace.

Drug & Alcohol Awareness - Every year thousands of lives are ruined by alcohol and drug abuse. This results in as many as 17 million lost working days every year. Online training can help to raise awareness about substance abuse and the effects it has on users and the workplace.

Food hygiene

According to the Food Standards Agency, over 2 million foodborne illnesses occur every year in the UK alone. 

If those working in hospitality or retail do not implement proper food hygiene practices, they are putting customers at risk of contracting a foodborne illness, should the worst happen. This could lead to legal action against you and may even result in closure.

Employees should be provided with the right training to understand the importance of food hygiene. Some important food safety and hygiene topics include:

Bribery and corruption

Working in the hospitality or retail sectors means that a number of your staff likely have to deal with external suppliers, clients, and other partners on a regular basis and could fall victim to bribery or corruption.

It is common in cases of bribery and corruption for the individual to unintentionally get caught up, therefore it is important that staff understand what to look out for.

Data security

There are likely to be a number of employees in each organisation working in the hospitality and retail sectors that have to regularly handle data and work on computers and smart devices as part of their daily duties. This includes taking bookings, signing consumers up for loyalty programs, and handling complaints.

With data protection laws putting more pressure on businesses and cyber criminal activity becoming much more prevalent in recent years, it makes sense for organisations to invest in the relevant training to help employees mitigate risks.

We would recommend that staff are given GDPR training (or the equivalent for your territory) and cyber security awareness training as a bare minimum.

Mental health & wellbeing

The HSE report that mental ill-health (specifically stress, depression or anxiety) is now accountable for over 50% of all working days lost and 51% of work-related ill health in 2019/20. Research from The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that ‘One in five hospitality workers suffer from work-related severe mental health issues’. 84% of those working in hospitality attributed feeling increased stress as a direct result of their job. 

Providing employees with the tools they need to understand and improve their mental health & wellbeing not only allows them to take care of themselves, but also helps them look out for their colleagues.

Soft skills

The term "soft skills" is more prevalent in workplaces now than ever before. This is due to the importance they have in the modern workplace. In fact, 93% of employers said that Soft Skills are either an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions.

Some key soft skills include: 

Looking for high-quality, cost-effective training?

Here at iHASCO, we support over 10,000 UK clients with our high-quality and affordable eLearning. With a course library that spans over 130 eLearning courses, an easy-to-use Learning Management System, and unrivalled support, sorting workplace training has never been easier.

But don’t just take our word for it, see how we’ve helped Prezzo improve their training efficiency

Why not get started today with instant access to our entire course library? Or if you’re ready to get started, request a quote today and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Online Training for the Hospitality and Retail Sectors
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