Certifications Can Benefit Employers and Staff

“Since I’m just going to lose them to someone else, why should I spend any money on recognition or certification for my staff?”

In the highly competitive tourism industry, this kind of philosophy is not uncommon when the dual pressure of staff shortages and guest expectations begin to merge. Offering certification opportunities to your staff will help you retain your valuable employees as well as increase your bottom line.

Studies have proven that people don’t stay in jobs for the money — they stay because their needs are being met. They stay because they feel recognized and valued for the work they perform or because of the positive environment, which provides them with the challenges and prospects they need to grow professionally. As a tourism employer, certification provides you with many opportunities to meet these staff needs and retain your most valuable asset.

CERTIFICATES AND CERTIFICATIONS

So, how do certifications compare with certificates? Though some view the terms as interchangeable, there are some key differences between the two.

For example, a certificate recognizes the completion of a course or educational process and is usually followed by a formal test. In general, certificates encompass everything from self-study and short-term workshops — such as FOODSAFE, SuperHost®, Serving It Right, — to post-secondary programs and courses focused on specific skills. Enrolling staff in training programs that reward them with certificates is a great way to increase their knowledge, improve morale and acquire new skills that are transferable to your day-to-day operations.

A Certification is earned upon completing one or more study courses, and is followed by a formal assessment of knowledge against a set of industry-defined standards. Certification requires proven experience working in the occupation, and gives staff a designation or credential that is recognized locally or abroad. At the highest certification levels, you must apply and be approved for certification – as well as participate in ongoing learning and professional development to keep the certification valid.

Certification recognizes an employee’s accumulated training and experience, and supports the range of industry skills and knowledge they have acquired during their time on the job. For those in tourism who haven’t taken a formal educational program, certification is the industry’s stamp recognizing their expertise, knowledge and professional status.

CERTIFICATION: A WORTHY INVESTMENT

Incorporating certification into your workplace means introducing consistent, measurable and industry-recognized standards. Employees should know what to expect and how they measure up against their peers. Certification offers staff a sense of pride in their performance, gives them confidence in handling challenging situations, and builds a commitment to their profession. For the employer, this pride and confidence results in superior customer service that converts into increased sales and repeat business.

Many employers who support certification agree that it not only inspires high standards among their employees, but also distinguishes the greatly dedicated staff members within the company. In looking around your own circles, you’ll likely see that your certified colleagues and peers are dedicated to their jobs, serious about their careers, and have plans to continue developing and growing in this profession.

In this tight labour market, employers are continually scrambling to find and keep top staff members. By offering opportunities for certification, you’re sending a message that you value your staff and view them as skilled professionals with long-term career goals. And that is key to attracting and keeping your best players. In return, your staff — as well as potential employees — will view you as a progressive and long-term career employer.

In short, offering certification can help make you an employer of choice.

CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

For more information, check out the following industry associations and organizations that offer professional certification for members in their respective sector: