Training new employees


I called a cab yesterday to take me from my home to the Australian Open tennis – where I saw Gonzalez annihilate Haas. When I told the driver where we were headed he said he didn’t know of the Tennis Centre (Rod Laver Arena) as he had only just started in the job. The card on the dash showed that he had been driving taxis in Melbourne nine days.

The Tennis Centre is a Melbourne icon. It’s week two of the Australian Open and everyone is talking about the tournament. I was surprised that the driver had never heard of the place. Surely this would be covered in basic training?

Training new employees is one of the most important roles in any service organisation. It determines their day to day value to the business and how far they can progress. The taxi experience made me think about the training we provide internally for new employees. With three new support / help desk roles in the business these past two weeks now it was a timely reminder to focus on training and ensure that customers are not disadvantaged.

I would not have minded if the driver asked the best way there but to not even know of the place really turned me off.

This is what we have to train for – knowledge to demonstrate an understanding at the very least. Throwing people into live situations too soon only upsets customers – and rightly so.

Our training regime includes time behind the counter in our retail newsagency using our Point of Sale software; formal training; listening to other support calls; and, taking calls with a senior team member listening in. There is assessment along the way to determine when the new hire is ready to go solo. This is best for us and for them. It helps develop longer term employees and maintain good customer service.

Now if only the taxi company trained their drivers better.

About the author


I own a software company and a newsagency in Victoria, Australia. You can reach me on +61 418 321 338 or mark[at]

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By Mark