Ben Gertz [Learning & Development]

Ben Gertz – Director of Learning and Development at A.W. Companies

Ben talks about:
·       Learn & Development, and why it is important
·       The benefits of L&D
·       What happens after training
·       How companies can be intentional about L&D when we are working from home

Nick Glimsdahl 0:03
Welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Ben Gertz. Ben is the director of learning and development at A.W. Companies. And he also consults on learning and development specifically call centers that have up to 500 agents, then Welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast.

Ben Gertz 0:20
Hey, thanks for having me, Nick.

Nick Glimsdahl 0:21
Yeah. So I always ask everybody at the very beginning, what’s one thing people might not know about? My guest. And so Ben, what’s one thing people might not know about you?

Ben Gertz 0:33
I’m a bit of a guitar nut. I own about 16 guitars, and I also build them as well. So I spent a lot of time out in the garage, putting those together and building them by hand. That that is, for one, I have a guitar and it looks really good in the corner of my room. But it collects a lot of dust. And so being able to not only play but build is pretty, pretty amazing.

Ben Gertz 1:01
Yeah, they do look good in the room, though. There are great decorations as well.

Nick Glimsdahl 1:06
And nobody else will be able to see this. But we’re on video right now. And I can see all of these amazing guitars in this background. So very cool. But the one question I have for you is if you could play one last song, what would you play?

Ben Gertz 1:21
It would be fade to black by Metallica. It’s the song that got me into guitar in the first place.

Nick Glimsdahl 1:26
Okay. Okay, and why that song.

Ben Gertz 1:29
I love it. That’s what first really introduced me to a genre of music that I really enjoyed. And was the first time that I remember seeing Kirk Hammett play guitar. And I was like, that’s what I’m gonna do. Yeah. So I think it would be it would be fitting, you’d also be kind of poetic, right? Because it’s Fade to black. That was the last time but also the first one, I

Nick Glimsdahl 1:52
got me interested. Nice, nice. I’ll have to have to go back and listen to that after the recording. But the one thing that really intrigued me was what you do with learning and development. You know, there’s a lot of people that talk about learning, development and talk, hey, we should really train our people, right? Like, let’s let’s find a way to put that in budget, or let’s focus on our employee experience. And we’ll keep digging into that. But somebody who’s an expert, I wanted to have you come on because of the things that you’re doing not just in learning development, but throughout the entire process of it, including remote work. So which is definitely important today. But, you know, before we get started, what is learning and development? And why is it important to you?

Ben Gertz 2:44
So I think learning and development are it’s really the efforts from an organization towards a person’s ability to perform to understand and synthesize knowledge and the infrastructure that’s specifically built around that is how I would really look at learning and development and why I think it’s important. And I think we’ll break this down throughout this conversation as well. But the the core reason is I think it’s it’s missed a lot. And it’s its significance is, is really in its investment into the employees, it’s going to return in productivity, it’s about the it has effects in retention, and attrition. It really has its hands in everything that an organization does. And I think that not only is that beneficial from a practical perspective from a business, but I think it becomes even more important when we look at kind of the data and what’s happening in the industry, then begin to see that this this may be an area that a lot of organizations Miss.

Nick Glimsdahl 3:39

Yeah, obviously you are a you love l&d and you think it’s a it deserves the C suite recognition? But why is that?

Ben Gertz 3:51
Yeah, absolutely. I I’m a big I get kind of excited talking about that one. Because I, I believe Yes, that a clo is needed a chief learning officer for, for most companies. The reason that that I think that is because learning and development does not end in the classroom. It’s something that we’ve looked so much at traditional learning by traditional learning, I mean, go into a classroom be taught, go into whatever the job is and perform. And I think that when you isolate that it’s really fragmenting your learning across the organization. Whereas I believe that you should really look for learning and development opportunities outside of the classroom. It takes place in all different facets across the organization. And it’s a beast, it’s something that a training manager isn’t going to manage necessarily. It’s really requires some pretty strategic thinking and operations to be effective.

Nick Glimsdahl 4:46
Yeah, and I agree with that. But why let’s say that there are there obviously are C suite people who do not value that why do you think that’s the case?

Ben Gertz 4:57
I think there’s I can speak anecdotally. From Some of the conversations I’ve had with C suite executives and I know that if you kind of get the typical, it doesn’t generate revenue. I think that’s a big, big one that I come across as a as a barrier. With that, though, I think there’s, I think when you look into that, though the value may not be in indirect increase in revenue, but it’s certainly in attrition cost, it’s certainly in retention, increased efficiency and increased productivity, decrease in errors and cost on those fronts. So there certainly is $1 value that you can associate to l&d. That’s one of the most common challenges that I that I hear is, typically it’s not revenue based. You don’t

Nick Glimsdahl 5:40
get often in the C suite. Yeah. So you’re you’re basically saying that the C suites, always saying Show me the money. Show me the money, the money, right? If you can get put me in the classroom, and it’ll provide this return will invest in it?

Ben Gertz 5:54
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s that’s the most common objection, typically.

Nick Glimsdahl 5:58
Yeah. And so let’s pretend that that the there is no clo there, it doesn’t get the buy in from the C suite.


if that’s not the case, then who is in charge of learning and development?

Ben Gertz 6:14
I think the what was there is something that you said that really stuck with me. In a conversation we had previously about was it pixie dust or fairy dust?

Nick Glimsdahl 6:23
Yeah, yeah. Yes, yes. in fairy tales. Yeah,

Ben Gertz 6:25
pixie dust and fairy tales. I think the pixie dust and fairy tale answer to that is everyone. But that’s not in business, though it’s is typically the case that you need will almost always the case that you need accountability. And because of that, I would definitely I would put this under either HR, or I’d put it under operations. If you’re in like a contact center or something with like, a high degree of performance. If you can’t have like a director level or a C suite level, or someone that’s really taking l&d I think that’s a step. I would rather see that than nothing at all. So if, if there’s anyone listening who’s wondering like, Where, where would I put this responsibility, I would look towards what makes sense for your organization. And typically, it falls into really like operation directors or into HR. And I think that’s a great start. Yeah, so

Nick Glimsdahl 7:12
so don’t just put a blindfold on and throw a dart against the wall and don’t put

Ben Gertz 7:16
a blindfold and don’t have the conversation that like we’re all responsible for, because we all are responsible for the end of the day. Who has the accountability?

Nick Glimsdahl 7:23
Yeah. Who’s got the budget? And who’s being measured on it? For sure. So let’s pretend if if you were the head of operations, would you have a metric in each department for learning and development?

Ben Gertz 7:35
I would, yes, I think that is a very important thing. In fact, there was there was a really interesting study that jack Phillips did. And he was looking at you can you can google this, I believe the study is called the executive view of metrics, if someone who’s listening is interested. And it’s a meta analysis across different C, different CEOs, and C suites costs across the board, and they were able to determine eight specific metrics that are important for learning. And so I’m going to kind of take this from two parts one, to answer your direct question of what are the metrics that I would establish? And two, I hope to kind of also paint a picture as to why I’m so passionate about this and maybe what’s being missed also from this study, so I’m gonna try to attack both of those but the the eight metrics, and I’ll try to be quick here, but you can, you know, anyone’s listening, you can certainly Google these, but these are important, I think for for that, but the first one is inputs, which inputs is really defined as just how many people have been trained. So we’re just looking at kind of the raw data, just like who’s coming in? What are those efforts on that front? efficiency is just a, I think a word that the author didn’t want to use the real word here, it’s cost that you know, like, how, how expensive is it What’s our cost per hour or cost per person through training, so you want to measure that business impact, because you’re going to compare that against an ROI reaction. So these are these are pretty commonly measured, this is like satisfaction surveys, employee feedback for how the how the training was learning, which is looking at the actual knowledge and skills so if you if you’re in a call center, just as an example, you’re looking at things like quality metrics, their cset surveys, just the general metrics of of the person application so this is looking at whether or not the skills are being used on the job. Can you using the same analysis impact which are these are looking at the this one I’m actually gonna spend just a hair extra on setting this is really important. I’m gonna come back to it. This is are the programs that we’re training are they tied to our business objectives, our core top five drives this quarter or this however your your company set up trimester, those top things that you’re trying to accomplish are your training efforts in line with those that’s impact ROI which is pretty well known I think across the board but a treat a sticky one. In training, and that’s specifically what what are you yielding? In terms of like a percentage gain. So these are looking at things like costs and savings down the road and error reduction. There’s some great things like that if if anyone’s listening and not sure like Kirkpatrick model, take a look at that, that’ll help you understand how to how to begin this. And then finally, awards. So these are looking at, like, Are we being recognized? Are we being by either peers in the industry, by by people internally, other departments, things like that. So those are the core metrics that I would look at. But what I think is really fascinating about this, this study that really took me off guard was that the they also ranked these eight is what is the most important, and the number one was impact. So are we measuring towards the objectives of the organization or retraining and being intentional about that, and ROI. And the funny thing there is, only 4% of organizations are measuring both of those. So it’s it’s really interesting to me when we talk about metrics in this way, is why I say this is important, why I say that we should have these kind of metrics in place, is because some of the biggest values that a company is looking for in training aren’t even being measured, looked at or having any kind of intentional focus on. So yeah, that’s my long winded answer for what metrics would I put in place?

Nick Glimsdahl 11:24
And I love it. But you said, between those two, there’s only 4% of companies that actually do that. Why do you think that’s the case?

Ben Gertz 11:34
For ROI? I believe I have a very solid answer for that one. And that’s because it’s complicated. ROI is not easy to measure for training, that has been a point of contention. There’s still people who are doing thesis on better ways to get ROI or to training or to measure rather not get, but to see it. It can be tricky. So that one is tough. But there are ways to do it. Kirkpatrick model is probably the most tried and true. It does have its challenges with it. But that is that is a good way to begin that for impact. That’s a question that I that I wrap my brain around too, because the answer and biting my tongue here because I think the answer is a little heavy handed. I think that as an organization, if your training efforts are not in line with the business measures and the goals, I think that is a is a leadership issue. I think that if that’s to me, that’s where if you’re if you need to, it would almost be like if you had someone in the C suite, helping direct training, you wouldn’t have this problem. Here we are. And it’s but I do think that’s where the issue is, is that that’s not often seen as something that’s critical towards the success or the mission of the company, but aligning training strategy with your mission, your values and where you’re going to is. I thought that was out of everything in the study. I think that was the one that I was the most surprised about, that we wouldn’t be intentional about that. So I think, to summarize, I think ROI is is complicated. But there’s research out there. There’s there’s things you can do to learn more about that. But it is even with that the the academics in learning and development will tell you, that’s a tough one. ROI is just it’s confusing. And there’s a lot of unknowns with how to how to get to tangible data for those kinds of things. And then impact i think is a result of leadership alignment. Yeah, yeah.

Nick Glimsdahl 13:25
So it’s tough to do the ROI. The one thing I want to kind of talk about too is, let’s say that, you know, a two questions is, would you incentivize l&d across departments? And then how would you incentivize across departments? If the answer’s yes.

Ben Gertz 13:43
Yeah, I would definitely incentivize across departments, I think that’s a good way to make sure that behavioral change is taking place. And so yes, that’s the first piece of that question. So how I would incentivize would be around these metrics. So these would be the eight that I would recommend that any company if you’re sitting there listening and saying, I got nothing ready for any of this, these eight would be the way to start is looking at the the input sufficiency, reaction learning, application impact, ROI, and awards, looking at those, which is a lot, but I would I would incentivize around that. So all of these are objective, all of these are things that we can actually put some kind of metric or standard around in place. And to help someone begin, I think the best ways to look at where are you currently? So begin looking at, like, Where are your survey scores? Where are your efficiency costs, and begin working for reasonable targeted goals to bring those down? It can be different for each company, but I think trying to reduce costs, pick somewhere around like eight to 10% and try to bring something reasonable to the table like that and put incentives around those metrics.

Nick Glimsdahl 14:52
Yeah, and I think you kind of mentioned like, understand what the survey what your retention, what your other metrics are, and then kind of return engineering to work on that training for the company, but what about per department? Is that the same thing?

Ben Gertz 15:09
Yeah, each department will have each of these, these same metrics, the one that can maybe be alternative would be awards, you may not have an internal department that’s doing call center training that gets recognized outside of the company. So that one’s something that you could, you could remove from here, but everyone’s gonna have inputs are like measuring the amount of formal training that’s taking place, everyone’s gonna have efficiency and how people respond to that learning. These are, these are really, you can kind of think of these metrics, at least the way I kind of conceptualize them is like the core value of your training, you’re trying to say we care about who gets it, How frequently do people care? And does it work? That’s and then are we getting a benefit from it? That’s really like what we’re trying to measure. And I think anywhere that learning is taking place, those facets are found. So I would answer your question, yeah, I would hold these metrics across each department. And I would incentivize on those as well.

Nick Glimsdahl 16:02
Yeah. Oh, you said, and maybe you didn’t mention this specific stat. But I think it’s 70% of learning takes place outside of the classroom. And so what happens after training? Should there be support?

Ben Gertz 16:16
Absolutely. a resounding yes. Yeah. that study was from a group called towards maturity, they worked on discovering they had some issues with that. And they discovered, like, what is the actual framework of learning look like? No 70% of training takes place, outside of the outside of the classroom. And then 20% is actually from feedback. And then 10% is actually formal training. So I think that’s pretty. I don’t see how you could hear that statistic and not try to rethink your training strategy. Because you can have the most incredible formal training plan in the world. And you might maybe increase that 10% number a little bit. But that is not going to outweigh science. There’s, there’s a certain reality that when I look at that, I think that you need to look at your organization from a perspective outside of the classroom and say, what are we doing? What kind of resources do we have in place? What are we using any kind of models where other people are? are integrated into like, so like, are we using social learning or mentorship models? Or how are we facilitating this absorption of knowledge and this replication of behavior outside of the classroom, because that’s pretty significant. And I think that any l&d person should be looking. I want to just pause for one second, I’m not saying that formal training is not important, having that program is critical. But also, I think a lot of attention is missed outside of the classroom. And I would like to direct a lot of l&d leaders to still focus on the classroom, but really direct your attention outside as well, and see what’s happening in those areas.

Nick Glimsdahl 17:47
Yeah, and my analogy to that is, you know, you go to, let’s say, a big annual conference, and everybody gets the rah rah the pom poms out, and everybody comes back out with a stack full of notes, and they come back to their desk or their computer, and they got 3000 on open emails, and they put their head down their goggles on, and they say, I gotta finish this, and then it just gets keeps getting overwhelmed, overwhelmed. And if you don’t have an action plan, outside of that, and saying, based off of what I heard, here’s what I’m going to do in the future. And here’s how I’m going to plan it. And here’s what I learned in my takeaways. And I think the same is true with l&d, if if 30% of the training takes place in the classroom, there needs to be another 70% of continuing learning throughout the process. And if it’s learning about customer experience, if it’s learning about empathy, if it’s learning about any other thing I you know, I just there’s so much things that happen outside of the initial bang.

Ben Gertz 18:48
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s also just consistent with adult learning, too, because we, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve had conversations with some leaders before that, you know, you hear the constant like, well, weren’t they trained on this. And I often come back with, if you could discover the way to be able to tell someone anything, and then they replicate that behavior perfectly. You belong, you’re going to be making billions of dollars, that just isn’t how humans are. That’s not how people react in any situation. And it’s something that you need to consider and learning as well, because in the formal classroom, they just will not retain that information, it will not have the impact, that having a plan that looks outside of the classroom will have it just never will. That’s just not how people work. But yeah, I think that study does a really good job of kind of directing you towards that thought process. Yeah, it’s

Nick Glimsdahl 19:37
almost going back to the C suite and saying, Hey, what did you learn in chapter two of your ninth grade algebra class? Right? Yeah. Like how is that relevant? Well, because you were taught at once but you might not know know about it. That’s


much nicer way to say it, then I’m just like,

yeah, it’s probably not super nice either.

Ben Gertz 19:59
That’s a great point. Though I think that’s that’s really what it is. That’s what we’re asking them to do. Like you were taught this on Training Day to you at our for on page 16. It’s like that’s, you know, like there’s, that does no good, how about instead we prepare for that gap. And we build tools and resources and channels where we can, or they can go to you after class through, like knowledge bases resources with people to make sure that they can get that information then.

Nick Glimsdahl 20:25
Yep, yeah, great. And so what is social learning?

Ben Gertz 20:31
So social learning, this is something that I’m really excited about as well, because this really ties into what we’ve been talking about this whole time. The simplest explanation I can give this is it’s what’s happening outside of the classroom. That’s social learning. And it’s, it’s more technical definition is his observation of other people’s behaviors, and how they’re problem solving their thinking, and being able to replicate that yourself through observation, in an informal context, so not in necessarily a formal classroom. Although you might be able to facilitate some activities that use social learning, generally speaking, when we talk about it, we’re referring to outside of the formal training environment, and on the floor, so to speak.

Nick Glimsdahl 21:15
Yep. And so what are some examples that you have? Either that you’ve been part of, or that you’ve experienced? as a as a student?

Ben Gertz 21:26
Yeah, we see it all the time in the contact center. People may overhear how someone’s handling a customer call, and maybe someone’s really frustrated on the phone. And they’re learning how they de escalate that situation. And they thought like, Oh, you know, I never thought to look in the mirror and, and try to monitor my facial reaction, as I’m speaking to not get upset. You know, there’s things like that, that, that you learn, a simple thought exercise that anyone listening could even do is this, think of a time that you’ve had to think, how would this person think about this? Or how would this person solve that problem? And you altered your behavior or altered your course your decision because of that? That’s a small example of social learning. Yeah, and

Nick Glimsdahl 22:02
I want to go back to what you said in a minute about kind of working from home that because typically, right now on learning and development and social learning, you overhear something where you can’t do that. But I want to jump to another couple of questions. And then and then go back to that real quick. But do you believe in mentorship model?

Ben Gertz 22:25
I do? Absolutely. I think that that is one of the one of the easier ways to actually facilitate social learning is to have a mentorship model. So if anyone maybe is not familiar with that, we’re just talking, this is a pretty simple concept of some people call it like a buddy system, or whatever you want to call it, where you have someone that you’re working with who’s effective in their job, and they’re able to partner with them, learn how they’re doing something. And anytime that you’re able to do that, I think that’s an extremely effective way to train. In fact, I’ve done some consulting work where I’ve had people tell me, like, our training program is so bad, because we don’t have any documentation. But then I look into it. And I’m realizing that there’s maybe not some documentation, but their results are really good. And why is that I’m finding out that they’re just using social learning. They’re using mentorship models, and it’s like, you can make it slightly more effective. But that is not bad training. That’s how using social learning and using mentorship is a really effective way. I would encourage people to formalize it and be intentional about how you’re using it as in your arsenal of tools for training. But it is definitely a good model.

Nick Glimsdahl 23:31
Yeah. And I had Ariel on the podcast earlier. And he was a huge proponent of the the buddy system. And it didn’t matter if it was in the same contact center or not. It could have been somebody from a different state. But he saw not just that an improved learning and development, but it improved retention. So there’s all sorts of other benefits outside of just like, Hey, we’re going to do a mentorship model, because we’re going to increase our I have a better experience when it comes to l&d, but there’s other benefits behind it.

That’s awesome.

Yep, yep. And so what are the risks of learning and development if you did not have it?

If you do not have l&d?

Ben Gertz 24:18
Yeah. And oh, my God, Nick.

Nick Glimsdahl 24:23
Kind of wing it.

10 part series, but Yeah,

Ben Gertz 24:28
so the question is, are there risks to l&d or for not having being rational about it? Yeah, absolutely. There’s risks to that. I mean, financial risks, there’s risk to attrition and people being frustrated cuz they don’t know how to do the job, and you can just be paying tons of money to fix those issues. It can create burnouts, especially if you don’t have your resources developed correctly for agents to find the help that they need. Aside from that, too. I think that you’re just risking your and that’s, that’s all stuff. But imagine calling the contact center that wasn’t properly trained and being a customer. you risk your clientele you and you risk your reputation in the industry. I think there’s massive risks to not only the business but the brand with missing l&d.

Nick Glimsdahl 25:15
Yeah. And what’s the old saying, like, what if we train them and they leave? And in? their other person says, Well, what if you train them? You don’t train them? And they stay? Yeah.

Ben Gertz 25:25
I love that.

That’s so true.

Nick Glimsdahl 25:29
Yeah, it should be in every one of your slides. Every every one of your slide decks is just throw that up there at a random time when when C suite tries to call you out.

Ben Gertz 25:37
I like that.

Nick Glimsdahl 25:38
So kind of going back to the work from home. with everybody. We’re staying in and working room from home at least a lot of them right now. How have you adjusted your learning and development?

Ben Gertz 25:49
The biggest one, there’s, this is another one, we could do a whole series on for work from home l&d. But I think if I want to hit the biggest bang for the buck, here, it’s this is gonna tie back to that social learning. Because that’s, that’s the critical missing factor in a work from home model is, suddenly we’re not next to everyone anymore. And it’s not maybe as easy to observe how someone else is handling a call or to just walk into a meeting and watch my, you know, watch my boss, maybe interact and problem solve in a way that I think is so impressive, and maybe I learned some interpersonal skills from that, that those sorts of things are not in the current context of our work environment. And I think when it comes to learning, and knowing that 70% of the of the content is taking place, outside of training, but it takes place because of social learning, I think that’s a problem for our current state. And how we’ve been adjusting that is not it’s there’s not really it’s not like they’re crazy, difficult concepts that we’re that we’re altering, but we’re just being really specific or intentional about it. And that’s doing things like that mentorship model, making sure that there are people who are paired, to be able to talk that is so critical, and it’s missed a lot. There’s things like making sure that chat rooms where there’s opportunities for people to, to communicate with one another in a really specific way, though, so we have one that’s like the, like the Reddit forum tip like today, I learned we do that too, internally. And we do that with our new hires. And that’s another just small way for social learning to take place. One of the other things that that a colleague of mine that you were talking to me about that I really liked that I’ll bring up here, too, is when some people will even take opportunities in the contact center to listen to a high performers call or like a supervisor or leader, whoever it is. And that way, it’s kind of like if you were inside the building, and you can hear how someone’s dealing with something you’re you’re being. But the point here is that, like you’re being specific about that they’re not going to hear that otherwise. So you need to make sure that there’s time allocated for them to be able to listen to calls or to practice some of the social learning pieces. Those are some of the ways that we’re adjusting. And we’ve been finding that that’s, that’s been really helpful so far.

Nick Glimsdahl 28:03
Yeah. And I love that too. Because you can listen to yourself all day and be like, very critical of yourself, and maybe not pick up Oh, well, you know what, I’ve really done that well, or I’ve improved it from, you know, a year ago to where I am today, because you, you are critical of yourself. But if I’m listening to Ben and Ben is a high performer, I’m taking all these sorts of notes, or at least I think I would, because I’m like, Well, I really like what he said there and what he said there and how he closed that. Here’s how that open question happened. Here’s how he had empathy. You know, I think at least from my perspective, that it would be a different conversation, and a different educational tool. So I love that.

Ben Gertz 28:45
Yeah, me too. I thought that was really great when you shared that. Yeah.

Nick Glimsdahl 28:49
So the last question I have, and then I got and then we’ll close it out. But is what advice would you give someone who is in charge of l&d but doesn’t know how to keep people accountable? virtually?

Ben Gertz 29:02
So that’s, that’s a big question. So what advice would I give to someone who’s in charge of l&d but doesn’t know how to keep people accountable virtually? and not have the the technology that screenshots your screen every five seconds to the big brother stuff? Yeah, that’s I have different thoughts on that, too. But so it, I don’t I don’t think that accountability has necessarily changed so much, just because we’re virtual. The main point that I really feel about this one, and I’m glad that you mentioned that because I think these are related. When we go virtual, we almost over react to I don’t see them, therefore I have to micromanage everything. And that is just don’t do that, like you’re you know, and, of course, I’m talking about performers that are in the moderate to high category, not low performers, just like in in regular industry. If we weren’t virtual, you know, you’d still have Probably more managing more performance improvement plan based things, but in the context of, of just the general performer, I would my advice to them would be to not change what you did if it was working already in the in the normal content or in a normal non virtual environment. And the reason for that is because I think and I’ve seen this multiple times, where, where one example I can think of actually is someone had them text them every time they went to break every time they went to lunch every time that they didn’t receive an email within 15 minutes or checking in. Because it’s, it’s how do you keep them accountable. And I see that with in the training environment, too. They think that we can’t see them in class. Therefore, now we need to add all this spyware onto their computer. And I would say trust people internally, like trust your team that you’ve hired on that you’ve put through your processes to bring on board. Unless, and and to focus on those things, especially in the classroom. I don’t think that it is different. If you’re using some of the maybe technical advice I would provide. There’s like use webcams use some things to be able to see people and to make sure that they’re you can see what’s on their screens, if you need to, not only not from a micromanagement standpoint, but from are they learning, you know, in the way that I think they should be? Are they in the right spot? Do they need help? And you can help them be more accountable if you can actually see what they’re doing. So that would be my technical side of it. And then more leadership philosophy.

Nick Glimsdahl 31:27
Yeah, yeah. It’s, it kind of bugs me, because why would they hire them in the first place if they didn’t trust them? And they’re making them where a leash per se, I’d say, hey, if you get further than your desk, you have to tell me where you’re going every time you got to go to the bathroom, and you got to, you know, jiggle the jiggle the leash, and let me know what’s going on.

Ben Gertz 31:48
But gotta wear the cowbell around your neck. We’re going around. Yeah, I hesitate when I when I say like to trust them. But I’m not talking about like, personally or you know, and like a deep level, but like you brought them in trust the processes that they’ve gone through. And, and when they’re your employees, you know that that is something that I think is, is given until proven otherwise. And I don’t think that changes virtually. But I’ve seen it change constantly, because people go virtual and I That one’s always kind of beyond me a little bit, you know, we should people didn’t that we should treat them the same really with accountability.

Nick Glimsdahl 32:23
Yeah, no, I agree. 100%. So, then I wrap up every podcast with two questions. The first question is what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And then the second one is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service professionals in it, and it’s gonna reach everybody’s desk, what would it say?

Ben Gertz 32:42
So as far as the book or person has influenced me the most in the last year, that is Bob Pike, there’s been a few books of his but with the one that I’ve really been interested in recently, as creative training techniques Handbook, I think that has just been a really, he’s really practical. And I think that’s something that I know, just in my own journey and my own career, sometimes I get a little too theoretical. And I think that he’s really good about being like, okay, yeah, what a wonderful idea. But like, how does that actually work in reality, and how do we afford this? And I really like his ideas. So he’s been a big influence for me. And if I could leave a note to all customer service professionals, what would it say? I would say training doesn’t end in the classroom. So what are you doing about it?

Nick Glimsdahl 33:30
Yeah, no, that’s, I think that that has been throughout the entire podcast. So I love that. What’s the best way for people to get ahold of you? If they want to learn more about what you’re doing in your current role? Or even on the consulting side?

Ben Gertz 33:46
Yeah, they can get ahold of me through LinkedIn, you can find me on there. Benjamin Gertz, or they can email me at

Nick Glimsdahl 33:54
Yeah, and then geurts is g r Tz. For anybody that is actually looking to get a hold of them, but connect with him on LinkedIn and learn more about what he’s doing on the l&d side and pick his brain. He’s one smart fella. But, Ben, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. And I learned a lot and looking forward to keeping in touch and keep talking about how we can focus on the employee and the l&d.

Ben Gertz 34:23
Yeah, awesome. Thanks for having me on. It was really fun, Nick. I really appreciate it.


The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.

Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:

  • Customer service & customer experience leaders
  • A hostage negotiator
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
  • Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:

  1. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
  2. If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?

You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.

If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.

Subscribe on: Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotiListen on Googisten