Two hotel chains-Sonesta Hotels & Resorts and ITT Sheraton-recently revamped their employee training programs.

Sonesta has developed The Personal Service Game II, a revision of a game first introduced ten years ago. The award-winning game aims to put hotel employees in the shoes of guests in problematic situations, offering options for helping these guests (or doing nothing). An employee's success in the game depends on choosing the course of action that represents the highest personal service to the guest.

Other elements of the game involve the working relationships between employees and factual information about Sonesta's 17 properties.

ITT Sheraton, meanwhile, has rolled out a 14-part, CD-ROM-based training program dubbed SGSS 2000. An updating of the Sheraton Guest Satisfaction System (SGSS), developed in 1987, the CD-ROM series uses animated characters, storytelling, and interactive games to make the training engaging and fun.

Employees go through the training with a partner, but the CD-ROM format allows them to do it at their own pace. It also takes into consideration the diversity of the hotel chain's staff, addressing differences in education and skill levels, culture, language, job requirements, and age.

Hook Those Qualifiers For the incentive winner who's had enough of sand and surf, how about a little grass and pond? And a new skill to boot?

When Robert Redford made fly-fishing cool in the movie "A River Runs Through It," interest in the sport increased dramatically, says Rick Rischell, director of the Manchester Fly-Fishing and Shooting Schools at the Orvis Company in Manchester, VT. "Lately, it's been leveling off," he adds.

Which means there's room for your group at the Orvis school-or at others across the country.

If you head to Vermont, you can choose the intensive two-and-a-half-day school or a half-day program designed to give qualifiers exposure to the sport and to some beautiful Vermont scenery. Rischell can take any experienced fishers in the group to a nearby river, while novices fish at Orvis's pond or-for groups staying there-the lake at The Equinox, a luxury property in Manchester.

Looking for new ways to keep employees happy? Getting Employees to Fall in Love With Your Company (AMACOM, New York), by Jim Harris, PhD, is one place to get ideas. Here are a few: 1. Hold every employee responsible for making at least ten suggestions for improvement each year and promise that every idea will receive management response within ten days.

2. Help employees learn and focus on your company's goals by getting them printed on T-shirts. After a few months go by, quiz them on the goals-they're bound to pass!

3. Let employees share what they know. Any employee who can find three other employees interested in a particular topic can teach a class on that topic-but only after attending a class that teaches people how to teach adults.

4. If you've got divisions across the country, institute a series of monthly seminars for employees that benefit them both personally and professionally. Schedule a new topic each month-from fitness to recycling to dealing with change-so that each division is learning about the same thing at the same time.

5. Give employees a reason to take risks. Hershey Foods gives annual Exalted Order of the Extended Neck awards to individuals who are willing to take heat for ideas they believe in-who have really stuck their necks out for the company.