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Training is Serious Business

Article | April 15, 2019

Training is one area in business that is frequently mishandled. Here’s how to cover all your bases.

Training. It’s one area in business that is frequently mishandled. Many business owners mistakenly hire a new employee and immediately put them onto the production floor or office setting, expecting the existing co-workers to train the newbie. You assume your seasoned employees know the job, know what you need, know how everything works, and that they’re the ones who can train the most effectively.

It’s a fallacy. Firstly, you don’t know how your employees are conducting training, what shortcuts they’re giving, the quality of their trainees, or the tricks they’re passing on to get things done. Second, there’s no standard, no guideline and no plan in place that ensures consistency and best practices.

When training is spur of the moment, things fall through the cracks. You no longer have control over what’s being taught, what’s being retained and what’s being put into practice for the next generation of your workers. It’s time to get in control.

You mistakenly put trainees into production assuming they can get the job done. But what happens to the products they’re making, or the processes they’re going through to get there? It’s a tough way to learn from their perspective too. They may feel lost, cut corners and take shortcuts to get the end result. This is your business. Don’t risk the quality of your service from the get-go by failing to properly train your new hires.

Traditional training methods simply don’t live up to expectations. According to a survey appearing on Entrepreneur, one-third of employees said their company’s techniques are not a productive use of time; another third said they were not interesting or engaging.

From the Top Down

There’s a better way and it starts with you. YOU are the entrepreneur. YOU started this business. YOU know what you want. Therefore, the training and direction must come from you, in the form of a written training program. Feel free to craft this document with the assistance of your sales manager, production manager, or other team members. But whatever you do, make sure it’s a written document that’s readily available.

It should contain:

  • The job description
  • What is expected
  • What the parameters are
  • What the standards are
  • What the rules are
  • The process by which you operate
  • Contact people who can assist with various parts of the job

The specifics may be different depending on the type of business you run. But overall you should have an organized plan in place that’s generated from the top down, utilizing the experience of your skilled workers. The document can then be followed implicitly, effectively and completely.

Alienation of New Hires

In addition to hurting your own bottom line, poor training practices can harm your new employees too, right out of the gate. Forbes says two of the most common ways business owners alienate new hires are:

  • Poorly-Structured Training: You throw so much at your new hires in such a short time that they may feel overwhelmed or not even know which information is related to their jobs. Or perhaps you isolate them in a room, give them a book to read and a training video to watch, and call it a day. You assume they will recognize the connections and context on their own, but this is an unrealistic expectation. Instead, break down the content into digestible chunks, starting with the basics that everyone must master, then emphasize what’s critical to success, so they know where to focus.
  • No Ongoing Training: Training is not a one-and-done deal. Yes, there is so much to cover, and yes, it must be delivered quickly. But stop along the way and ask your team for questions, and schedule roundtable discussions for peers to share their experiences. Set expectations by regularly outlining and modeling what you need from them on an ongoing basis.

In the end, training should be filled with testing, and assurances that the trainee is complying with standards, knows the vocabulary, and knows how to use the tools given to them.

When you invest in training, you get results.

Are you ready to get more out of your training program? Do you need to re-craft the way you mold your new employees? Remember, you make or break your own business. Take responsibility. Call Second Wind Consultants to learn about our business turnaround programs.

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