Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, February 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell



Introduction to Training Methodology

In the next several installments of this series, we finally confront the nuts and bolts of how to train. As with Instructional Design, there are many theories and training methods. If you are a professional, you will no doubt have your own preferences. If not, I would like to share with you a popular method I have found most effective.

I was drilled in the correct use of POPPER by a highly experienced trainer and I, in turn, have taught many others who have used it with great success. You can read more about it in the book; Hands-On Training, A simple and effective method for On-the-Job Training. © 2001 Gary R. Sisson, Berret-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

In this book, Mr. Sisson talks of ‘HOT POPPER’, the HOT being an abbreviation for hands-on training. POPPER has several advantages that makes it ideally suited to training in the private home. It teaches practical skills without the need for handouts or slide presentations. Since both the instruction and review is practical, it works really well where language barriers or literacy issues exist. This is helpful for household managers working abroad, or who may be working with staff members from abroad.

Next month we will start with the first letter in the acronym POPPER, the letter ‘P’ which stands for ‘Preparation’.

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 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.