Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell


Feedback is used in training to assist the learning process, guiding and correcting participants.

After each practice and after the final assessment, we tell the participant what they did well so that they will keep doing it. We also tell them what can be improved, how to improve it, and why our way is better. Corrective feedback that does not include an explanation and a suggested alternative, amounts to little more than criticism and will be perceived as such. “You must do better” is of no practical help whatsoever to the student.

The format for positive feedback is to tell them what they did that was good and why. “You aligned the edges well which will give you a neat fold.” Feedback for improvement starts with what they did wrong, followed by an alternative and an explanation of why the alternative is better. If this explanation is properly done, it is not necessary to include an explanation of why their original action was wrong. “You did not hide the seams of your napkin. If you ensure that all seams are facing inward, the end result will be much more presentable.”

Constructive feedback is concise, accurate, timely, objective and above all, respectful.

Next month we will look at how we follow up our POPPER training in the workplace.

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.

Por Amer A. Vargas

Amer A. Vargas graduated with a Tourism Degree specializing in hotel management from CETT (Center for Tourism Studies) in Barcelona and spent the following decade in the service industry. Beginning as a waiter and then supervisor in high-end restaurants, he was next made responsible for raising service standards through staff training programs. After receiving further training as a butler, he worked as a butler and valet in private service as well as hotels in England and Europe.

During this time period, he translated the best-selling industry texts Butlers & Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals and Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators into Spanish and is currently creating butler training materials in the Spanish language.

As the Director of Spanish-speaking Markets, Amer is responsible for making the technology of butling available in private residences and hotels in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. He provides consultation, placement, and training services in these countries.