Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell


After welcoming the student(s), explain why they are in training. Is it a new standard? Remember, adults learn best when they understand what is in it for them. Open by explaining the importance of the training and then segue directly into the benefits for them: “Today we will drill fire emergency procedures. This is very important for the safety of our youngest family members. Successful completion of this training will make you a very useful team member in the event of an emergency.”

Next, check whether any participants already know how to perform the skill being taught to the required standard and would like to proceed directly to testing to save time.

You may encounter objections; “When I was at Mrs. X’s house, we did it differently.” Counter with something along the lines of “That standard is also perfectly acceptable, but today we will learn to follow the standard expected in this house.”

Finally, set them at ease by explaining how the training will proceed. Succinct is best. “I will show you how to make the bed, then I will give you enough time to practice, and then I will test you.” Stating that there will be a test later tends to focus their attention.

Next month we proceed to the second ‘P’ in POPPER which stands for ‘Present’.

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, resort, and palace staff in general. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years and can be contacted via the Institute. 

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.