In the Trenches: Updating Our Training Materials

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on June 12, 2013
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We’ve hired a new concierge to help monitor flights here at Cranky Concierge! Training began last week. That’s when I realized our training materials needed some serious updating.

In the past, I’ve sent new hires our training manual and asked them to read it before we got on the phone for our formal training. This time, I told our new concierge that, although the information was probably out of date, it would still be useful.

A few days later, we got on the phone and started going through it. Oh, man, things have changed! Of course, we recently switched email systems, so the process for setting that up is different. But that’s not all: Roles have also changed. Concierges used to help with flight planning, and that’s no longer the case. Now they focus solely on monitoring flights and helping if problems arise.

Beyond that, not only were plenty of pages in the manual irrelevant, but other pieces were missing entirely. For example, there was nothing about how we actually handle client assignments and initial contact. The document was, quite simply, pretty embarrassing.

The fact that information gets outdated is why I always do the actual training verbally. I could just stop giving out the manual, but I’m thinking that’s not a great plan. Having our procedures in writing helps to reinforce the importance of the information I’m conveying. It also provides a helpful reference after the fact. But right now the manual is more dangerous than anything else, because it could lead our new concierge astray.

I think we all know what this means. I need to put “update training manual” on the constantly growing list of projects that need my attention. The question is, How far down do I put it?

BrettSnyder

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.

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