In this week’s Ask A Pro, we talk to Elke Bosworth from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. We work with some extraordinary L&D professionals and love to highlight the work they do. The Ask A Pro column does just that by selecting L&D pros from among our clients and asking them a few short questions about Learning and Development.
What inspires you?
Our managers and team members! In my current job role, whenever I need to create or update any training materials, I’m always thinking about the people who will be using it and how it can help them. I’ll never forget when I first started training as a server trainer; I had a trainee who was struggling with learning our menu items and so I spent some extra time with him reviewing and finding ways to remember the ingredients. When he finally had a breakthrough, the expression of joy and relief on his face was priceless. For me, it’s moments like those that continually inspire me to train and help others. It’s also one of the big reasons I decided to pursue a career in training.
What do you know about Learning & Development now that you wish you knew earlier?
You are more qualified than you think you are! Like many training professionals in the hospitality field, I began my L&D career by working up through the ranks. I never thought I’d be in restaurant training at all, I went to school for graphic design. So I was a little nervous being around other L&D professionals and thinking they knew way more than me. While there is great benefit in having a college degree in learning and development, over the years I have found that a good majority of the people in my field are just like me and have learned through experience. Not to mention, there is great advantage to having worked your way up through different positions as you know first-hand what you’ll need to be successful. Lastly, people who are Trainers always want to help each other, so learning about traditional practices is easy to pick up from our peers. Luckily for us, we have companies and organizations like Wisetail and CHART to help us collaborate and learn from each other.
What’s working well in BJ’s Restaurants’ training program?
We use short videos called Quickbytes at BJ’s to train our team members on anything from how to answer the phone to how to make an appetizer. Consistency is important at a restaurant chain like BJ’s so the Quickbytes provide the same message across the company. We don’t have a Quickbyte for everything, although we are always adding to and updating our Quickbyte library. Our team members feel it’s an effective way to absorb information quickly, not to mention it’s easy to go back and repeat information if needed. They also use the Quickbytes as a point of reference if they can’t remember a standard or procedure.
“You are more qualified than you think you are! Like many training professionals in the hospitality field, I began my L&D career by working up through the ranks.”
– Elke Bosworth