Butler training Frank Mitchell Newsletter Training

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2018, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell

When is Training Not the Answer?

Training cannot be expected to be the solution to all ills. It will not compensate for under-staffing, poor management, nor unacceptable working conditions. A lack of structure or a negative organizational culture will not be remedied through training, nor will faulty, aging equipment, or inadequate resources. Nor can training offset poor hiring-choices.

Training is sometimes incorrectly used to improve low morale. In Herzberg’s dual-factor theory, hygiene factors do not motivate, but their absence will demotivate. If millennials expect training, the absence of training will demotivate, but it is not a motivational factor. Training for morale, instead of improving working conditions therefore, only results in a temporary improvement. When low morale inevitably returns, the trainer is blamed.

Inexperienced managers often retrain under-performing staff instead of disciplining them; yet if the staff member already knows how to do something but does not do it, how will it help to train them again? Where training is given as a possible solution to poor performance, clear performance expectations must be set before the training. The trainee must agree to these expectations and commit to improving their performance before time is spent on further training.

Training should never be used to punish a staff member, as any future training will also be seen as punishment, thereby hindering the career development of that staff member.

In next month’s newsletter, we will discuss why we need to set standards.

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.