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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2018, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell

Training Needs Analysis

TNA determines what to train and helps justify training, especially if there is an associated cost. It directs time, money and effort where it is needed most, avoiding non-productive training sessions that frustrate competent employees.

At its most basic, TNA is a comparison of observed behavior to desired behavior. A performance gap may be remedied by training a skill or imparting knowledge. Start by knowing what the expected behavior is. Research minimum safety standards and legal requirements. Discuss service standards with your employer. Set standards in writing, communicate them clearly and then train your staff properly.

A good place to start is anytime you see the word ‘new’. (New staff member, new machine or appliance, new menu, standard, service, etc.). In other words, TNA not only determines what to train, but also whom. When a new member of staff joins the team, it is not necessary to train everyone again. Similarly, only those likely to use a new appliance will require training on it.

Do not be overly concerned with methodologies and formats – just doing the exercise will get you thinking clearly about what training is needed and will result in measurable improvement. You will develop your own methods over time, in your quest for continuous improvement.

In next month’s newsletter, we will see how training is not the solution to all ills.

Frank Mitchell’s background is as a private-service butler who then became a head butler at a hotel, and then a butler trainer with the Institute. While he continues to train butlers for the Institute occasionally, his focus for the last decade has been on training hotel and resort staff. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years. 


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.