Q&A with Senior Manager of Training John Krahn

A Better Brand Starts with Better Employee Training

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Kristen Tracy | PR Manager | 262-250-2802



When it comes to training, it’s important to develop a system that provides a skillful delivery of knowledge to increase team efficiency. When done right, workplace training increases productivity, lowers costs and fosters a more engaged and joyful workforce. As you map out your training program for next year or adjust your current training due to the pandemic, here some trends and best practices to keep in mind.

Q: What trends you are seeing in training?

A; When it comes to training, Cousins Subs has always been ahead of the curve and emphasizes making training accessible and entertaining to our staff. Recently, we’ve seen the interest in quick, e-learning opportunities grow exponentially as more and more Millennials enter our workforce.

With advancements in technology and the appetite for receiving information quickly, we introduced microlearning courses to keep staff engaged. Microlearning courses are two- to seven-minute-long courses that teach staff concepts. Upon completion, employees practice what they learned. The mix of learning and implementing is the best way to master a concept.

Blended learning is becoming an industry buzzword. At Cousins Subs we’ve found a lot of success in implementing blended learning into our training curriculum. We do so by incorporating electronic and physical learning opportunities because it is the ticket to job growth. For example, we have online courses to teach crew members how to properly make our subs and in-person baking courses to learn first-hand how to make our bread and cookies. Why? Because we recognize some skills are better suited for each medium of learning.

In times of change, like COVID-19, online learning is crucial. It enables a brand to quickly and easily change training curriculum and deliver the new material to crew members for their timely consumption.

Q: How much value is there in training teams digitally?

A; Digital training is immeasurable and priceless. If you want to succeed in the restaurant industry, you have to utilize online training. Digital platforms allow for consistent messages, efficient and quick communication and the ability to update materials quickly. They also enable training managers to track training progress, hold teams accountable for what they need to be trained on and enable trainers to see which employees are most successful so they can be rewarded. In CousinsU, our proprietary online learning program, our training staff can quickly look at a dashboard and then run reports on courses or larger learning programs in just a few clicks to measure employee success.

Q: What are some best practices for continuing education?

A; It’s important to recognize that some, not all, will choose to enjoy a career at your company. However, you should be prepared to keep those that do engaged. A key way to do so is to provide the best ongoing learning experience. Create a People Development Plan for each employee. When developing the plan, the employee and a member of your HR team should work together to identify a career goal and measurable steps to achieve it. As you can imagine, training plays a big roll in doing so.

At Cousins Subs, we host a variety of workshops like ‘Day in the Life of a Manager’ and ‘Learning to Lead’ to help employees develop the skills they need to assume management positions. We also constantly solicit input from our employees to improve our training practices.

About Cousins Subs

Wisconsin-based Cousins Subs®, a family-owned, fast casual sub shop established in 1972 by Bill Specht and his cousin, is driven by the mission to Believe in Better – both in the quality of food it serves and in the communities it supports. Cousins Subs and its franchisees operate nearly 100 sub sandwich shops throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, providing guests with quality deli fresh and made to order grilled subs using only the freshest ingredients on its signature bread baked daily. For more information, visit cousinssubs.com. You can also find Cousins Subs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.