As if 2020 hasn’t been enough of a roller coaster, murder hornets are now a thing. Known to kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, this Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, has been discovered in the United States for the first time ever.
These hornets pose a tremendous risk to the bees indigenous to North America—ironically the already endangered ‘European honeybee’.
The murder hornets attack the beehives, kill the honeybees, and take the larvae. The European honeybee has no way to fend off the attack, nor knowledge about how to protect themselves, or their colonies from this new threat.
Since we have so much time to think nowadays, I began wondering whether we could train bees to adapt. I’m no melittologist (a person who studies bees), but thought maybe there’s a way to help them up-level their skills to deal with this unforeseen issue.
To my surprise, (but probably not yours) there’s not a way to train the bees—instead, years of evolution will need to happen. But there is a bee who can defend itself: the ‘Japanese bee.’
Amazingly, they’ve adapted to combat the murder hornets: they lure the wasp into their hive, circle and cover the hornet, and create a wave of heat from the friction that cooks it alive.
What can I say? Nature is truly fascinating.
How does this relate to training, you might ask? I’m getting there.
Easing the sting of the unknown: Training an enterprise from home
In trying times like these, employees and leaders are dealing with unforeseen and often unpredictable issues, and must adapt.
However, unlike the European bee, we have the ability to learn new skills. You can’t just bring in Japanese honeybees to do the job when the going gets tough—you need to amplify the skills of the team in place.
As we shift to a remote workforce – from which we might not return, thanks to the popularity of working from home – an increased focus on self and team improvement needs to occur.
I recently had an interaction with a retail company that was entirely empathetic – the employees addressed me without a script, spoke to me to confirm my information, made sure I was well, and sent me through the queue quickly and effectively.
Acknowledging what’s happening right now, checking in on me, and following up all play into the fact that emotions matter when it comes to how we spend our money. Not only did this make for a great experience, it will no doubt make me a return customer.
Customers have more on their plate than ever before, and companies need to make sure that our service and sales reps are prepared, skilled, and eager to help their customers, partners, and internal teams.
This, in turn, goes for management, as employees feel the same struggles and uncertainties. Providing guidance and education to managers – whether new, seasoned, or future leaders – is crucial.
Reduction in turnover, employee morale, and performance can all be amplified with the up-leveling of skills and effective, engaging training.