Tails on Trails works hard to maintain our premier status. With four people working in the office and twenty walkers and pet sitters working in teams throughout Anne Arundel County and parts of Howard and Prince George’s County, it’s important that we’re consistent about our training.
Training is always fun with Tails on Trails and Michelle works hard to incorporate creative ways to work together towards bettering the company each time. Earlier this year we had a taco bar and individual quiz format at our Annual Meeting to reiterate many of the company policies and test our knowledge about work.
For our summer training, we had a friendly competition between different geographic areas. Led by Michelle, the game format was that of a quiz show. Michelle asked us a series of questions about our jobs–from exactly what is found on a vacation visit sheet to what you should always have in your bag. Each team had paddles and had to race to raise their paddle and be called on to answer the question. If they missed anything or answered incorrectly, another team from a different geographic area could “steal” the point by answering correctly.
You’d be surprised how hard it is to remember each detail on a vacation sheet without one in front of you! Some of the questions revealed blind spots or discrepancies in some of our (the walker’s) knowledge. Some of them showed just how competent we are and how wide ranging our knowledge is.
Overall, the day worked on developing teamwork and individual responsibility for our visits. With such great office staff, sometimes us walkers start to depend heavily on the office’s knowledge base rather than trouble shooting on our own during visits or working with our fellow walkers from the area.
This summer training helped us really think about ourselves as teams and think about how to work together. To a certain extent, we already do this. Teams often have to discuss when a client on vacation might be running out of food or a mid-day walk has a certain route that’s preferred. This team work–asking and checking in with other walkers is a key part of the job that the training reinforced.
Overall it was a fun, inspired way to think about all the ways we might work together in the future. It also helped us feel empowered to work through things on our own rather than always checking with our wonderful office staff. As we continue to grow, walkers and pet sitters working through issues on their own will be fundamental to maintaining our level of service. As always, our office staff will continue to be a safety net and source of information for our walkers and sitters when needed.
But now, we’re ready to re-think our roles as teams, rather than individual walkers who sometimes depend on one another. And for each training session, one lucky team walked away with some wonderful prizes. You can’t beat that for a day’s work!