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Training - Creating Personal Change

We're not just our thoughts, we are our habits. And creating effective staff habits is a baseline goal of all well-run hospitality businesses. This post covers the basics that any trainer should be skilled enough to execute. The two key take-aways are that every training must be a closed-loop process, because without providing feedback, learning may not happen; and that the trainer must be able to observe both attitudes and behaviors in the trainee. The person you're training is a whole person.

Training is a process in order to change a person’s attitude, knowledge, skills and behavior. The term training also refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.

There are general guidelines to follow when training. In most situations, trainers should follow the following five steps on how to train a restaurant employee.

1. Explain the procedure/what is going to happen: - This should happen before the shift to provide the trainee with an idea of what he/she will see. If possible, the explanation should occur directly before the event.

2. Show the procedure: - When you show the trainee the procedure, the trainer should continue to explain each step (if possible). This step may require several repetitions before moving on to step # 3. Be sure to make time for questions.

3. Have the trainee practice: - At this point, the trainer should remain close by to observe the employee, initially the trainer should be looking for accuracy, not speed. This step should involve several repetitions. Even if the trainee appears to have executed the task on the first try, he/she needs to practice to develop a habitual pattern.

4. Provide feedback: - Providing feedback is not always easy, but is an extremely important part of the learning process. The trainer must be honest, pointing out any areas of opportunity in a constructive manner. Be sure that your feedback is:

  • Honest
  • Fair
  • Clear
  • Based on direct observation
  • Descriptive, not judgemental
  • Respectful
  • Private

5. Repeat Step # 3: - Once feedback has been provided, the trainee should practice again. Continue with step #3 and #4, until you feel the trainee has mastered the task. While the trainee performs the task, the trainer should periodically ask questions to ensure comprehension.

Being a trainer is not easy, especially since all trainees are different. Each one has a different learning style. Some will learn best by reading, some by listening, and some only through hands-on exercises. Most people will not know how they learn best. As a trainer, it is important that you are able to recognize this and adjust your training accordingly. You may have to try many different avenues before you find the one that works. Just remember to be patient and trust your instincts.

  • Introduce one thing at a time
  • Break the information down into small, understandable chunks
  • Start at the beginning and build from there
  • Put it in context
  • Go slowly
  • Explain it, show it, document it
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
  • Allow time for questions
  • Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal behavior
  • Discuss resources and support for newly learned information
  • Make yourself available after “learning” has taken place
  • Follow up to determine how learning is going

A trainer should pride him/herself for the greatness of all the employees he/she trained.

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