In the Trenches: Picking Up the Pace
As you know, I hired my first employee a couple of months ago. He’s been a quick study in how to handle certain tasks, and now it’s time to move training into the next phase — and speed things up.
I’m not sure why, but I thought that I would be able to train him and then he’d be incredibly productive almost immediately. What was I thinking? Everyone takes more time to do things when what they’re doing is new, and that’s exactly where we are at the moment. My employee has rapidly learned what he needs to do, but now I need to teach him how to do those things faster. I hadn’t really considered that aspect of training before.
The best way to speed things up is, of course, to practice. The more comfortable he gets with performing basic tasks, the faster he’ll be able to get them done next time. This has prompted me to look for ways to give him more work. The ideal tasks to pass along right now involve client intake and simple flight planning. I don’t want to give him anything too complex that may bog him down. I want to delegate work that he can complete without having to ask too many questions. However, as he masters simple tasks (and he’s well on his way), I need to start offering him more complex assignments that will encourage continued learning. That may be a little tricky.
In the travel concierge business, customers want fairly rapid responses. My employee generally works mornings, and sometimes it’s hard to hold onto the requests that I receive in the afternoon for him to do the next day. When I can, I do. Sometimes I pass along a task I’ve already completed for him to redo, just so he can learn from the experience and I can monitor his progress.
To be clear, I’m very happy with my employee’s performance. I just need to make sure I’m doing enough to help him become as efficient as possible. Throughput is really important in this business, because we have a lot of work and not a lot of people to do it.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.