In the Trenches: The Training Bottleneck
After the long, difficult process of actually hiring someone culminated in, well, hiring someone, you might think that things got easier. Not so fast.
The whole reason I hired someone was because business has been growing. In particular, our business doing small business travel management has been exploding. That meant I needed someone who could help me book flights for clients, and there were two different types of people I considered. Some people knew how to use the system to make bookings, but weren’t very creative. The others were good at getting creative about getting people where they needed to go, but they didn’t know the system. I didn’t see much overlap between the two, probably because those people were gainfully employed elsewhere!
In the end, I figured that if someone had the travel booking gene built-in — had the ability to get creative about finding the right options for clients — then it would be easier to teach them mechanics of the booking system than the other way around. So that’s who I hired: someone with great travel planning skills but no reservation system knowledge to speak of.
So far, I’m feeling good about my decision, but there is most definitely a bottleneck as “the new guy” gets trained up. Fortunately, the system we use, Sabre, provides a number of self-training modules and he’s catching on quickly. But there are a lot of internal processes that I need to teach as well. For that, we need one-on-one time.
Thanks to Skype, it’s easy for us to do training even though we’re a few states apart. But training takes me away from doing all the booking that’s piling up. On one hand, it makes for good training material. As booking requests roll in, we can just take them and work on them together. But that naturally takes a lot more time than it would if I just did it on my own. Things are slowing down today so that they can speed up down the line.
Fortunately, I know this is all temporary and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He’s progressing in training very well and soon enough, he’ll be off booking on his own. It’s just getting to that point that puts stress on the system.
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.