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16 June 2022

Contagious energy: the key to effective workplace training

It’s a challenge not to run into supervisor Bart Westerburger at the transit warehouses of Versteijnen. Bart is head of a freight handling crew consisting of 15 workers, although he enjoys workplace training the most. ‘’Positive communication makes trainees stay’’  

As far as the energetic Bart is concerned, the approaching retirement is coming a tad too early. He has been working at Versteijnen for about 17 years, usually active at the transit warehouses as supervisor and workplace trainer. Bart think his position is a good fit for his personality. “I took a logistics and statistics course in school, though I quickly found out it wasn’t for me: I’m much more practically oriented.”

As head of a handling crew, Bart makes sure that in- and outgoing freight is loaded properly and safely into the truck beds. He does so by instructing his team, in consultation with other supervisors or by assisting wherever needed.

Within his function, Bart particularly enjoys the practice of workplace training. ‘’Unlike supervising, workplace training is usually done with done with just one trainee. That manner of communication fits me better, and I believe its beneficial for the trainee as well as he or she gets my undivided attention.’’ Bart came across all kinds of trainees, which makes for an enjoyable challenge. ‘’Some trainees fulfil their tasks without any hiccups, others need assistance throughout. And some not keen tow work at all. The latter usually doesn’t stick around for long, although I’ve been mistaken before: some of them make up for their initial lack of motivation and turn out to be great employees. That’s a lesson I’ve learned during my employment at Versteijnen.

An invariable in Bart’s job? His characteristic method of teaching. ‘’I usually begin with a simple question, something along the lines of: do you know the length of a truckbed? If they’re unable to answer, I’ll continue my explanation but eventually repeat the former question over and over again. Eventually they’ll know the exact length of a truck bed. I’ll apply the same method until they know everything they need to know.’’

Assisting and instructing trainees is Bart’s favourite practice at Versteijnen. ‘’I’d do it fulltime if I could. I enjoy interacting with people, which fits within your duties as a workplace training: positive communication makes trainees stay.’’ According to Bart, two factors are vital to get people excitedfor their job: straightforward communication and contagious positive energy. ‘’I want people to feel welcome, so they arrive with a smile and go home with one.’