Four Effective Ways to Train Your Catering Staff

In some of my previous blogs, I touched upon the growing need for training in the catering industry. We also looked at certain skillsets and processes that catering managers need to be groomed and trained on. With millennials and Gen Z forming a huge chunk of the catering industry’s employee-base and the high turnover rate that is generally prevalent here, training has never been more relevant. This makes a good case to look at some of the most efficient ways to train your catering staff and enable them to provide outstanding guest experience.

  1. Micro-Learning

Micro-learning is now a pervasive trend, in almost all walks of our digital life. It goes without saying that it is an effective method to train your catering staff as well. Micro-learning is on-demand, delivered at the point-of-need, and highly relevant because the employee is concentering on one skill/learning objective at a time rather than worrying about the entire curriculum.  For example – Instead of a long course on how to serve food to the customer, your staff will enjoy consuming small micro-learning nuggets on how to set up the table or how to serve wine when they need to learn about them.

  1. Scenario-Based Learning

Use of scenarios based on real-life situations is a very useful training mechanism. Scenarios can help learners to understand the best way to handle a situation. Training can be made more interactive by the use of branching scenarios where there could be different results to a situation based on the learner’s response.  Scenario-based training is the ideal mechanism to train staff on soft skills. For example, a scenario on how to handle an irate customer or how to greet a customer can enable employees to be prepared with the relevant skills when the real-life instance occurs.

  1. Game-Based Learning

Use of game elements in learning enhances the learning experience, makes it fun, and also gives the learner a sense of challenge and achievement.  Leaderboards, time-based quizzes, time-driven missions are some of the common mechanisms used in game-based learning.  For example, a time-bound, game-based module that requires the learners to finish setting up 10 tables flawlessly, and get on the leaderboard, can be a great way to train your employees on relevant skills.

  1. Learning Reinforcement

Catering staff deals with customers on a regular basis and it is important to find ways to reinforce the training. Tools like learning enforcement apps, flash-cards, interim knowledge checks, and standup meetings are an effective method to reinforce training.

These different training modalities are an effective way to train your staff members and keep them motivated.  I would be keen to know of any other approaches that you use to ensure your staff is trained well. Share your comments below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com

Medical Device Sales Training – Time for a face-lift

Medical device sales reps are considered to be amongst the most sophisticated reps globally, as they require strong intellect, skills, and qualification to stay competitive in this industry. With the advent of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and disruptive technologies, there is tremendous focus on the way medical device sales training is delivered. Traditional digital learning methods are unable to match pace and requirements of the modern day sales reps and hence it’s time to relook at this training.

Let’s look at some interesting ways to give a face-lift to medical device sales training.

  1. Modernizing legacy courses

The modern day medical sales reps work in an extremely competitive and dynamic market which demands them to have requisite product knowledge at their fingertips. Online training modules developed in legacy tools kills the overall purpose of effective, on-demand sales training. The need is to convert these legacy courses into new, mobile-friendly formats, which the sales reps can access anywhere and anytime.

  1. Creating relevant micro-learning chunks

Medical device sales trainers are increasingly looking at converting lengthy eLearning modules into meaningful micro-learning chunks which can capture key learning objectives. These chunks can be easily pushed via mobile apps to keep the sales reps updated. For e.g. If there are any changes in FDA 21 CFR, specific updates can be easily pushed via mobile app to sales reps.  Another example of this could be delivering key product information chunks to sales reps. These micro-nuggets can come in handy while pitching to their prospects.

  1. Converting ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts to self-paced digital learning products

Medical device sales training can be in multiple forms including ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts. These formats are effective but it’s really difficult to assess the sales reps’ knowledge once they complete them. It’s also challenging for the reps to recall everything they watched or listened to, after a certain span of time. The solution is to convert such ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts into self-paced digital learning products which have assessments. These products can then be delivered to the sales reps as refresher courses at frequent intervals, which could help in content reinforcement.

  1. Converting the courses to meet modern compliance needs

Traditional digital training may deem ineffective if it doesn’t comply with the latest industry regulations. Modern-day medical device sales training is expected to meet different compliance needs like 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, LTI, and xAPI. So, ensure that the training you develop for your sales reps complies with the industry regulations, and is also flexible enough to accommodate any future updates.

Since knowledge is the foundation of medical device sales and practitioners around the world rely on it, it is critical to present it in the most convenient and effective form. I hope the above approaches come in handy when you strategize your medical device sales training.

Taking Life Sciences Training to the Next Level with AI-Powered Chatbots

Digital learning in the life sciences space is often found to be most advanced, thanks to the level of dynamism involved in this industry. Since pharmaceutical and medical device companies, biotechnology giants, hospitals, and medical associations are all early adopters of cutting-edge technologies, chatbot solutions are already being sought in the life sciences space.

Many of us might have experienced chatbots on different websites, mobile apps, messenger platforms, etc. With the evolving focus on learner-driven experiences, chatbots are an ideal solution to empower employees.

Here are some ways in which AI-powered chatbots can enhance training in life sciences.

  1. Content Discovery and Actionable Insights

Consider a pharmaceutical or medical device company which has a huge repository of compliance courses. A learner may need to specifically know only about ‘Sunshine Act’ or ‘FDA 21 CFR’ and might want to have related information on their finger-tips when needed. An AI-powered chatbot, trained using a pool of keywords, deployed or the company’s messenger platform, can not only help make this specific course discoverable but can also quiz the learner to understand their knowledge on specific topics related to this course. At the back-end, this entire interaction can be analyzed for intelligent actionable insights for the business. The bot can identify the gaps in learning and map it to employee performance. It can quantify the impact of training.

  1. Performance-Support

Performance-support at the point of need is a key requirement for the life sciences domain. Many answers to these performance-support queries by employees are embedded deep into organizational content repositories. This content repository can be leveraged to create various performance-support questions. And then, using technologies like AI, natural language processing, and machine learning, these questions can be mapped to appropriate answers in the content. Once the library of questions and answers is ready, a performance-support bot can be trained to deliver them as needed. An example scenario would be of a physician who is quizzed by the bot on the category of his/her preference. The bot will redirect the physician to specific training module/video when they get some incorrect response in a quiz.

  1. Micro-Learning Support

Let’s take a scenario of a nurse logging into a LMS where a bot pops up to check if the nurse needs any help. The nurse asks a specific question about Electronic Health Record (EHR) based on which the bot will scan through the EHR training module and pull-up a micro-learning nugget to share with the nurse. Since these are intelligent bots trained using a pool of keywords, they can discover exact content and repurpose it in relevant micro-learning formats. The employee won’t need to skim through the entire learning module to fetch the required information.

  1. Refresher Training and Reinforcement

Employees who have previously undergone training on specific topics can use chatbots to refresh their knowledge or to test their knowledge regularly. For instance, chatbots can regularly quiz employees on compliance standards or other important regulatory updates to make sure they are up to date. If the employee doesn’t fare well on the quiz, the bot can reinforce the forgotten learning content as micro-nuggets or redirect the learner to specific content.

The above scenarios make it evident why the life sciences domain is turning to intelligent bots to engage learners better. With chatbots, training can turn more integrated, relevant, accessible, and in-turn more effective.

I would be curious to know your thoughts on deploying intelligent chatbots for training in your organization. Comment below!

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid in Online Pharmaceuticals Sales Training

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”- Henry Ford

And imagine how costly would that be in pharmaceutical sales training where millions of dollars are at stake.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about empowering sales effectiveness for pharmaceutical reps through digital learning. In continuation to that, today I will share my thoughts on the top mistakes to avoid in the pharmaceutical digital learning journey.

As Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) gain more prominence, potential pharmaceutical decision makers are no longer restricted to physicians, surgeons, medical specialists, or other clinicians. IDNs are huge networks that manage or own end to end patient care.

What change does that imply for pharmaceutical sales reps? Well, they now need to possess necessary skills to persuade and influence decisions that administrators across IDNs make about the usage of drugs and devices. They also need to learn to negotiate large-sized deals with these IDNs. All this can be catalyzed through online sales training. Hence, it is only natural for pharmaceutical giants to have the largest chunk of their training dedicated towards empowering sales, since it has a direct impact on the bottom-line.

While we talk about what needs to be done, let us also look at what should be avoided. Here are 5 common mistakes that you should possibly avoid in online pharmaceutical sales training:

  1. Designing standard training programs for one and all

When your sales reps have distinct goals, knowledge base, aspirations, and preferences, it is a big mistake not to offer them personalized training programs. Many pharmaceutical companies are moving towards Learning Experience Design (LXD) as a base for a more bespoke and human-centered approach to learning. An appropriate example of this would be spaced learning using assessments. Assume that a sales rep took a course 3 months back on a new product that was launched. Today, when the sales rep logs in to the learning app, a bunch of questions pop-up, based on the same course. If the answer to any of the questions is incorrect, relevant videos or section of the course are shortlisted for reinforcement. These become available in the sales rep’s learning dashboard for them to view and be fully prepared when they pitch the product to prospective clients.

  1. Continuing with legacy content

The new age pharmaceutical reps are in constant need of just-in-time training. They generally undertake this while they are on the field or in some cases, even before a client meeting. This training should ideally be in the form of responsive micro- learning chunks accessible through mobiles or tablets. Legacy content developed using older versions of authoring tools or in outdated formats often acts as a barrier to delivering such modes of training. It is probably a good idea to consider modernization of legacy content for effective online sales training.

  1. Reinforcement is often ignored

Some pharmaceutical companies restrict sales training only to new joiners while for some it is just a one-time thing. Reinforcement of the training content is often ignored. However, companies need to understand that pharmaceutical sales reps are expected to recall and remember everything correctly when sitting through a client meeting. Reinforcement could make this process easier. There are many smart ways to reinforce important concepts and details from past training modules. You could do that as micro-learning nuggets or short videos covering fundamental aspects. Pushing these reinforcement modules at regular intervals ensures high retention of knowledge.

  1. Importance of the training outcome(s) is not outlined

Imagine a scenario where a sales rep is flooded with modules on a new Oncology drug launch. It would be difficult to keep them motivated unless they are told on how the information would benefit them in closing a sale. Highlighting key benefits of new sales training should help sales reps stay curious and ahead of the game during their sales pitch. So companies should make it a point to outline the importance of each and every training outcome of a module.

  1. Ignoring the ‘skills-training’ factor

Successful sales reps need to know their product(s) in-and-out in this highly regulated industry. However, too much focus on product knowledge and less on the skills to sell the same is just a job half-done. It is important to have a dedicated focus on skills like customer probing, persuasion, and negotiation, for the sales training to have the optimum impact.

If you could avoid the above mistakes, there is a high chance that your sales reps will stay motivated and well-equipped for their next big deal. Stay tuned for my next blog in this series on empowering pharmaceutical sales reps trough digital learning. If you have some experiences to share from your pharmaceutical training journey or would like to share your thoughts, comment below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com.

Role of Training in Catering Leadership Development

In a previous blog, we explored the exponential growth in the catering industry and the reasons supporting this growth.  A growing industry needs to support their leaders with targeted training to help them in meeting customer expectations and deliver outstanding service. In the catering industry, catering managers are the flag-bearers of the restaurant brand and it is critical to align them with the brand culture and values. This would help in establishing the brand with their crew and eventually with the customers. To achieve this, it is important to groom and train catering managers in certain skillsets and processes. Let’s look at them below:

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are a key attribute of successful catering managers. Catering industry has a high level of employee turnover and catering managers have to deal with new employees all the time.  It is essential that managers break the ice with employees and get them onboard and ready to perform quickly. Catering managers should be trained in skills like verbal and non-verbal communication, influencing and negotiation skills, and more.

Customer Centricity

Catering managers face customers on an everyday basis and customer centricity becomes a critical skill for restaurant survival and performance.  A manager trained on skills like understanding customer needs, customer behavior, effective communication, and empathy, would work towards building a customer-centric culture. Such a manager and their crew would be able to handle catering events better and deliver exceptional customer delight.

Catering Specific Processes

A catering event is a high-pressure situation with a lot of moving parts. Lack of processes can lead to chaos and bad customer experience.   Catering managers should be able to estimate the right number of crew members to an event.  They also need to keep a close watch on the budget and perform a detailed risk management analysis to make an event successful.

Considering all the above requirements, it is ideal that catering managers are trained to plan activities smartly, follow specific processes, and most importantly, they should be able to take quick decisions. Considering the nature of this industry, a blended learning approach would suit the best. Use of classroom training to deliver key topics, supported by online learning modules supporting micro-learning, gamification, and scenario-based learning can deliver the desired results.

Are you a part of the catering industry? What type of training do you prefer? Feel free to share your thoughts through comments below. If you would like to discuss any training needs or use cases with our experts, drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com.