Personal and Professional Development
Both the ideas of self-managed lifelong learning and personal development can be considered complimenting each other as long as personal and professional development of any individual is concerned, in terms of both skill enhancement and accumulation of more knowledge (Mackay, 2017). The current study tries to understand both the concepts with reference to the personal and professional development of a Hospitality Business Management student who seeks to understand the effective learning practices with the help of the aims and objectives set by the development plan. Further, organizational problem solving, communication of variant styles along with associated manners of each levels and time management practices are important subjects of the study which have been discussed in the study.
Task 2 Understanding How Self-managed Learning can Enhance Lifelong Learning:
1.1 Approaches to Self-managed Learning:
The idea of self-managed learning can be perceived as a process through which individuals seek different ways to learn new skills and gather new information. Self-managed learning can be understood with reference to individual development both in context of their entire career and immediate and present professional needs and requirements (Cowan and Peacock, 2017). This process involves individual assessment of own specific learning needs and setting out aims and objectives, recognition of material and human resources of learning at disposal, selecting and employing such learning strategies that would bring about desired results and finally this is followed by the self-evaluation of outcomes of the process of learning. In case of different learning requirement of Hospitality Business Management, the most common approach towards self-managed learning relates itself with undertaking of personal research as related with their professional sectors or as related to the assignments issued by their institutions. However, apart from this basic approach, for individuals interested in channelized personal development in different areas of the subject, often a varied range of mediums can provide them with required information and these are as followed-
The Internet: Growing accessibility of the internet ensures the ready availability of a wide information base that encompasses almost any and every subject an individual can seek to learn. While general search options provide basic information regarding issues such as different trends in the hospitality market and a varied range of business management aspects; specialized websites such Google Scholar, JSTOR, Online Libraries and others ensure access to academic journals and research papers authored by scholars and experts of the subjects (Curran et al, 2019).
Seminars and Conferences: In order to carry out profound yet less time-consuming research about different aspects of management the role of conferences and seminars can be considered significant. These initiatives do not only provide excellent learning opportunities to a large number of learners; they can provide insight into skills related to public speaking, communication, and patterns of event management and organizing (Bennett, 2017).
Social Media: Social Networking Sites that include Facebook, Twitter, My Space etc. can provide individuals with opportunities to learn via bulletins and forums and also subscribing to such accounts which deliver reliable issues regarding business, economy and politics of the present times (Cowan and Peacock, 2017).
1.2 Ways to Encourage Lifelong Learning and Personal and Professional Contexts:
Consistent endeavours towards following effective practices of self-managed learning contribute significantly to enhance and efficient carry on with lifelong learning. The idea of lifelong learning may be defined as a continuous process of learning that is fuelled by individual capacity and the outcomes of this process reflects in the professional careers of the undertakers (Stewart, 2016). There are a number of ways by which the process of lifelong learning can be nurtured and explored by the learners and some of them are as followed.
- CPD or Continuous Personal Development: CPD refers to the elaborate process of documentation and tracking of owns skills, knowledge and experience that they come across or gather both formally and informally in the professional set-up and the idea of CPD can be perceived as development above preliminary professional trainings (Poell and Van Der Krogt, 2016). The fundamental objective of this process is letting an individual be in complete control of their personal development as they gain much needed scope of reviewing, assessing and reflecting upon it. In addition, with the help of the process, setting up aims and goals for future development while correctly finding out gaps and drawbacks in personal development to work on becomes easier and accurate. Moreover, CPD provides individual learners with a systematic approach to manage and realize their development.
- Connecting Higher Education with Professional Sector: This idea is all about encouraging the workforce to rise up to their whole potential by providing the opportunities to continuously adapt and accumulate new knowledge as per the requirements of local, national and international knowledge based economy (Dopson et al, 2019). The broad aims of this link relate themselves with the personal growth and fulfilment of each associated individual.
- Apprenticeships: This initiative involves a short-term process, which is comprised of on-the-job trainings and technical information and instructions delivered by an expert trainer under whose supervision the program takes place. Apprenticeships are effective in making professional training interesting and attractive; and adding expertise to skills and knowledge maintaining innovation and quality (Loveland, 2017).
- Provision of Learning Resources: The process of self-managed learning has recognition of one material and human learning resource as one of its major components. Provision of learning modules that are time, resource and money saving may help the learners with their flexibility and accessibility (Cowan and Peacock, 2017). With reference to the resources, to the role of employer in encouraging the learners with lifelong learning practices is important. For instance, relaxing and pleasant workplace set up and added opportunities to learn more about their job roles and profession can be effective in this regard.
1.3 Benefits of Self-managed Learning to Individuals and Organizations:
The process of self-managed learning adds several benefits as far as their requirements related to skills and knowledge are concerned; both in case of the individual undertaking the learning process and their professional and organizational context.
• Personal and Professional Development of the Employees: With regards to the positive effect of self-managed learning to individuals it can be readily said that such practices often directly target the productivity of each employee and optimizes their full strength by increasing their problem solving skills and versatility (Cunningham, 2017). In addition, it often increases self-confidence and desired expertise in individuals. Ultimately, fulfilment of job roles and professional credibility adds up to the personal development of the employees (Cunningham, 2017).
• Employee Self-managed Learning and surviving the Market Competition: Self-managed learning of the employees can effectively enable different organizations to become competent to succeed in the vivaciously competitive professional sectors and current markets. Employees who are constantly working in training and learning environment invariably become capable of assessing their business moves and incorporate different methods to handle the market pressure and come up with innovative ideas (Loveland, 2017).
• Greater Participation and Road to Progress: On-going and regular opportunities of training enables maximum number of employees to be get motivated into following the path of self-managed learning. While its benefits of the benefits include larger participation of employees on the one hand, elimination of hindrances in the path of collective progress can be seen as another benefit as self-managed learning enables learners to only learn new skills but polish the already learnt skills as well, which leads to the formation of a trained workforce. In addition to the reduction in training cost and provision to learn from the role models such as organizational leaders and trainers and supervisors, they also incorporate the increase of employee creativity and collective progress with the ready availability of technical and administrative information and instruction (Cunningham, 2017).
• Incorporation of Learning and Development with Work Activities: At an individual level, self-managed learning is about combining personal growth and learning with professional and organizational interests and requirements. In context of organization, the incorporation of Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory, put forth in 1984, is relevant. This theory is comprised of a four-staged cycle that is related with gaining concrete knowledge, reflecting on observations, conceptualizing abstractly and experimenting actively, which can help the learners to grasp new information and skills. Setting in motion this cycle of learning in the organization sphere can enable the employees to get accustomed with the process of learning (Smith, 2016).
Task 3 Implementing and Continually Reviewing Own Personal and Professional Development Plan:
3.1 Process and Activities Required Implementing the Personal Development Plan:
Personal and Professional Development Plans, in general, can be seen as roadmaps to each individual who resorts to this way for gaining insight about their skills and knowledge with reference to their entire careers. Implementation of the Personal Development Plan for gaining skilfulness in different aspects of Hospitality Business Management can be perceived as comprised of five stages; keeping in mind both the requirement of personal skill enhancement and knowledge accumulation along with the professional and organizational context. These stages are as followed-
• Identification of the Tasks to Achieve: Alignment of Learning and Development with Professional needs is the first stage towards gaining effective knowledge regarding several of the issues that are related to the daily operations of hotel business; along with the norms and strategies of successfully operating in the sales and marketing department of the hospitality industry. Communicative skills and market research skills are relevant for this department. In this context, recognizing and highlighting the gaps that remain in the already learned set of skills and requirement of learning new skills to adapt with the evolving and advancing nature of the field remain important (Bennett, 2017).
• Actions that can help to Achieve the Tasks: Upon assessing the requirement of new skills and recognising of the skill gap, it is important to select the appropriate methods of learning. In this case, is composed of classroom learning under a teacher and supervisor to gain academic insight into the management aspects and market trends, undertaking of research work to complete the assignments and for personal knowledge, coaching and an internet learning approach to learn more about the daily operations of hotel businesses and required communication skills via different role-playing exercises. Moreover, Engaging effectively and continually with the methods of learning is perhaps the most important stage in order to gain substantial overall knowledge regarding Hospitality Business Management (Stewart, 2016). Finally, stage the reflective evaluation of the development that can be measured by conducting a comparative study between desired skills as put down in the PPD and the learnt skills that are outcomes of the perseverance of the Development Plan.
• Priorities: Gaining knowledge regarding the daily operations of hotel business, gaining communicative skills and capabilities to conduct analytical market research
• Timeline: March 2017- July 2020
3.2 Undertaking and Documenting Development Activities as Planned:
Undertaking several activities to proceed to gain personal competence has to be documented for the sole purpose of assessing the development in light of existing skills and developing skills. Thus, the idea of keeping records of the development is directly related to monitoring the development process.
o Learning through Research: The current researcher learns through research by primarily starting with a Google search regarding the subject and then visits Google Books and Google Scholar and notes down some the relevant books and academic articles. After thoroughly going through the most relevant ones and taking into account relevant information from the other ones, the researches follows up the facts in accordance with the present practical scenario with the help of the internet and takes note of the important points found through research (Kim and Lee, 2017).
o E-learning: The role of internet or learning via the medium of the web very significant in the present context of rapid technical growth and increased accessibility to the internet. This is not only important for carrying out personal research work; but e-learning methods play a great role as an academic tool with regards to different academic assignments and project works (Loveland, 2017).
o On-the-job Training: With reference to one of the priorities of the researcher, it is important to learn about daily operations of a hotel business and in order to accomplish that the most significant and authentic knowledge can come only from practical and first-hand experience (Loveland, 2017). This is why on-the-job training practices for hotel interns may be seem effective.
o Seminars and Conferences: Seminars and Conferences arranged by the current institution of the researcher can enable the achievement of specialized and expert knowledge by renowned scholars and other experts (Kim and Lee, 2017).
3.3 Reflecting Critically on Own Learning against the Aims and Objectives set by the Development Plan:
For me, the idea of fulfilment of the Personal and Professional Development Plan lies in the following of a routine, which, is although flexible but needs to be taken into account on a regular basis to attain the perceived objectives and goals. From the previous year, I have put myself through regular coaching sessions to achieve communication skills, although with regards to problem solving and providing the hotel guests or other customers in times of service failure remain to be areas where I need to work upon. I believe, I need opinions of experts to know more about the actual situations the people resolving the customer complaints deal with. Apart from this, as far as my other priorities like learning about the daily functionalities of the hotel businesses was concerned, internet research has helped me, yet provision of on-the-job training remains important for me to get rid of a few confusions. However, I have successfully engaged into hospitality market research and learning global trends that affect the business and I ensure to follow up on the current trends in connection with the global and national tourism industry and economic factors that profoundly influence the hospitality market.
3.4 Updating the Development Plan based on Feedback and Evaluation:
It is true that a change in the planning activity regarding my Personal and Professional development can confront certain changes in the near future. These changes will be apparent as I learn more profoundly regarding my field of interest and understand the intricacies that accompany regular business operations in the hospitality industry. As I will gain more experience about my areas of confusion related to regular operations of a hotel business, I believe, I can focus on specialized learning practices that will gain me grounding in my particular area of interest, i.e. sales and marketing.
Areas of Concern and Future Goals I need to update my Personal and Professional Development Plan in accordance with majorly two priorities. These are gaining sound knowledge regarding the current market trends and the ability to assess the future circumstances of the hospitality market; along with gaining considerable leadership skills to only emerge as a responsible professional but also to inspire others so that collective goals can be reached.
Reaching the Perceived Goals By Prioritizing the idea of gaining insight about the current condition of the vast market will not only further enhance my competence as a team member but will also help me to work on my leadership skill. In this context, I need t mention gaining leadership skills remain to be one of my major future goals which I need to constantly focus as this aspect of my professional career needs special attention considering the difficulty I face to act as a leader and display such qualities as directing individuals or motivating others to fulfil their job roles.
Difficulty Level High
Need for Change The Change in my PPD has to reflect in chosen areas of concern. For that, improving on customer handling skills remain important, which, according to me I can learn from my team leaders and trainers. This will be particularly helpful in dealing with the daily facilitation of marketing activities. For me, it will be relevant to incorporate e-learning so that better and diverse scope of market research can be attained by me.
Implementation of Change In order to work on these areas of concern, first, I need to allot at least 3-4 hours a days for researching both with the use of e-learning methods and academic literature. It will help me to stay updated regarding various arenas of academic and theoretical inclinations. Secondly, in a professional context, I need to learn to communicate with others having a clear idea about their individual strengths and weaknesses, which will help me to peruse them towards accomplishing the perceived goals.
Task 4 Demonstrating Acquired Interpersonal and Transferable Skills:
4.1 Resolving a Work- based Problem:
Identification of the Issues: In the current context, the hotel I work for is facing two of the major problems relating communication gap among the employees and excessive workload that is caused by the added pressure from an event that hotel is hosting. The communication gap is especially in place as the pressure of new guests has disabled handful of front-desk employees to create effective communication and instruct the other departments regarding their needs and expectations of the guests accurately (Mackay, 2017).
Selecting a Solution: In order to reach a solution to deal with communication gap and provide the guests with excellent service, in lieu of required amount of employees, it is important for the staff belonging to all the departments of the business to gather for a daily brief staff meeting while the event is taking place. With this process, the collective performance of the hotel staff can be assessed and problems can be identified in regular operations.
Agreeing on Contingencies, Monitoring and Evaluation: This daily staff meeting for the time being needs to take place under the supervision of the General Manager and the identified problems needs to be solved by the employees themselves with the General Manager providing them with added guidance regarding certain matters of management and customs of the hotel business.
4.2 Communicating in a Variety of Ways and Appropriate Methods at each Level:
In context of the hotel business, the need of communication is especially felt in creating the link between different departments to come together and serve the guests most effectively, the nodal point of this communication being the front desk department who are responsible for the direct conversations with the guests. Some of the effective communication styles for this purpose are as followed.
• Effective Listening: Creation of effective communication in the hotel business is not only about the front desk delivering information accurately to the other departments, but also about the employee who is receiving the message on behalf of the whole crew. Correct assessment of gathered information remains necessary to follow instructions readily (Kenesei, and Stier, 2017).
• Establishment of a Digital Employee Portal: In order to effectively confront the information barrier that often becomes a relevant challenge for hotel employees to gain all the data they want to perform daily chores, the hotel can invest in a digital employee portal. This portal can be a reliable hub for required information regarding best practices, incoming of VIP guests, health and safety instructions, on boarding initiatives, maintenance announcements and so on. On the other hand, it will also enable the management to establish better communication with the hotel employees in general and the front desk employees in particular.
• Negotiation: Justifying one's ideas having logical basis for their claims needs to be compactly communicated with their co-workers not only to gain approval via negotiation but also to improve the idea with the following suggestions (Kim and Lee, 2017).
4.3 Evaluating and Using Different Time Management Strategies:
Time management can be considered one of the most important facet of personal development that ensures total compliance of the undertaker with their development plan. In a professional set-up the value of timely presentations and quick task completion is irreplaceable to deal with the pressure.
• Prioritizing Workload: The key to successful time-management can be perceived as the prioritization of one's daily workload. It is quite natural that once the daily work has been figured out the individual can have other engagements that they can attend to (Kearney, 2018).
• Setting Work Objectives: Planning on when and what to work upon can effectively save time with the consistent approach. Once the completion of specific area of work within perceived time has been accomplished, it becomes easier to follow the pattern and plan for everyday work (Kearney, 2018).
• Using Time Effectively: In order to make effective use of time it is important to multi-task and seek better and quicker ways to solve different problems at the workplace (Kenesei and Stier, 2017).
This study has tried to understand the role of self-managed learning and Personal Development Plan in order to enable an interested individual to systematically proceed to gain required skills and knowledge for both their personal growth and professional competence in the field of Hospitality Business Management. Further, the contribution of self-managed learning practices in encouragement of lifelong learning and a reflective account of the perceived development have been discussed. Finally, work-based problem solving, communication styles and practices related to time management have been elaborated upon. All of these concepts have been supported by academic research and justified by personal experience in the professional sector.