Interview with Michelle Garcia, Learning and Development Manager, Learning Tribes

Interview with Michelle Garcia, Learning and Development Manager, Learning Tribes

Tell us a little about your professional journey and your current responsibilities at Learning Tribes?

I’m in charge of Learning & Development for the U.S. I began my career at Mandarin Oriental in Miami before – what I call a lucky break – gave my career a different direction and I became a professional training consultant, specializing in the hotel and luxury retail sectors. So, I’ve always had a feel for the whole notion of service and “excellence.”

 

And now more than ever with the “millennial mindset,” the start-ups and the digital disruption, we have the opportunity to build something out of practically nothing more than that nagging curiosity. I’m absolutely loving it! With Learning Tribes, we are innovating and setting up training programs that target the representatives of this uber-entrepreneurial generation that has such a bewildering array of opportunities. They don’t feel like they have to stay at a company if they don’t want to. In addition to providing them with Learning & Development, we must be forging strong links that make them want to stay.

 

Basic training is increasingly important. What do you consider the keys of its success?

Well, you must create a good impression immediately. You only have a very small window in which you can “onboard” a new employee and forge a lasting link. This is why the first two or three days are crucial for determining whether associates will be able to forge a positive emotional relationship with their work or not. Providing a warm welcome is absolutely critical so people feel they are being treated as individuals and not just as a group undergoing an induction course.

 

We have to see our learners as customers to whom we are selling our values and ideas. They have to “buy in” to our company. If they do this, they’ll want to promote it themselves. It’s a reciprocal investment and it should be a win-win partnership for everybody. We are constantly trying to make the customer journey a smoother one, so we need to do the same for our learners by harnessing our IT applications and platforms. We talk about user experience for a technology and customer experience for a service, so we need to start talking in terms of learner experience.

 

What are the specific aims of basic training and how do you achieve them?

There are few things more unsettling than starting a new job. We move from having complete control over our previous position to being a “newbie” in a company. Training should provide us with a step-by-step, easily understandable guide to being operational and putting us in a situation where we get quick “wins.” That first victory is absolutely key for giving people the confidence and desire to stay in a job.

 

Basic training targets performance. Knowledge is not an end in itself but a means for our learners to enhance their work performance. By tying each piece of knowledge to a concrete action, you observe the impact and enhancements to the way people work.

 

Consequently, basic training means, first and foremost, looking after learners from day one and showing them how important they are. It should create a real learning experience that forges a lasting link between learner and company.

 

What would your ideal training be like? What training would YOU like to receive?

My ideal training would take place around the clock and not be for a limited session. Training involves new encounters and learning something different every time. This could involve simply looking something up and then just letting yourself be guided toward something else out of curiosity. Learning is going on everywhere, all the time. So, the ideal training for me would be training that never stops.

To finish with a nod towards the famous Actors Studio questions – what is your favorite word?

Hmmm…I’d say curiosity. To constantly hark after new experiences and feel wonder at the world in which we live. And, it is by being curious ourselves that we make others feel curious.

 

Learn more about Learning Tribes »

 

COMING UP:

October 24-26, 2017 – Follow Learning Tribes participation in DEVLEARN and DEMOFEST, a learning & development conference and trade show presented by the eLearning Guild in Las Vegas.

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