Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell


Managers who say that training does not translate into a change of behavior in the workplace usually have a fundamental misunderstanding of roles. Since staff quickly revert to old habits, it is the supervisor who must ensure that the new standard is applied on the job. If they do not support and monitor the new standard, the learning will be lost.

During your POPPER opening, and when you set the scene, you painted a picture for the participant of how and when they would use the training in the workplace. After a successful assessment, tell the participant that you will come to their workplace to observe them. This encourages them to remember the training and apply it immediately. Ideally, the observation should be at least 1-4 weeks after training, with a follow up at 6 months. Retention of learning over time is the proper measure of competence.

The observation is informal and need not be recorded. Check that the task is completed to the required standard and give feedback on performance. If you are both trainer and supervisor, it is easily done. If you are not the supervisor, arrange to do the workplace observation together with their supervisor.

If staff are not performing to standard, you will have to coach them, which is our topic for next month.

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.