Are You Getting the Most From Your Employees?

As your business is gearing up and hiring additional staff for the busy Northwoods summer season, take the time to make sure your employees are orientated and trained properly. An effective employee training program can make all the difference in the success of your business!

Why Employee Training & Education is Crucial

You may feel you don’t have the time to train new employees, or think that it’s unnecessary. It can be easy to hire a seemingly qualified new employee with the experience you are looking for, and then throw them on the job to learn as they go. This is one of the biggest mistakes that a business can make! Even employees with years of experience need to go through an orientation period and a training program. The benefits of effective training are huge:

  • Decrease workplace stress: Employees like to know what is expected of them and want to perform well. Adequate training allows your staff to live up to your expectations quickly, without awkward and potentially costly mistakes.
  • Increase customer service: No matter the type of business, customer service is the key to success. If an employee doesn’t know how to communicate well with customers, answer questions correctly, or meet customer needs properly, you risk losing customers because of an unsatisfying experience.
  • Ensure your competitive edge: Every business has competition – you may even offer the same services or products as a business right next door. However, if your employees are well trained and happy with your business, this can give you the edge. Would you rather eat at the restaurant with poor service and unhappy staff or the one with efficient servers that know what they are doing and that provide excellent customer service?
  • Improve employee productivity and your profitability: Providing training to new employees not only ensures they can perform their duties better but also increases their motivation. And a motivated employee means that productivity is up and your business is bringing in more revenue.
  • Reduce your employee turnover: It can be frustrating to constantly be looking for new employees. Studies show a drastic reduction in turnover rates for businesses that take the extra time to train – this makes an employee more loyal to the company because they recognize that you care for their success as well as your own.

In some cases, new employee orientation is more than just a suggestion. The Occupational Safety & Health Act declares that employers can be held liable if the organization failed to exercise reasonable care in educating employees on safety and ethical issues.

How to Develop an Effective Training Method for New Employees

Good training will provide your employees with a clear understanding of all company policies and rules, knowledge of job expectations and how to perform these functions properly, and the goals and philosophies of your business. Make sure to educate about safety on the job, quality customer service, and the proper way to handle problems or complaints. Communicate all of your expectations clearly and then check to make sure everything is understood before allowing an employee to begin regular duties.

The American Society for Training & Development recommends a minimum of 40 hours of training per year, but you know your business best. Determine what you need to convey during orientation and the most time-effective way to do so. Keep in mind that people learn in different ways. Offer varied learning opportunities to ensure that each individual can succeed. Pair printed materials with oral training, and allow time for demonstration as well as hands-on practice.

Very few people think giving or receiving training is fun, but don’t let that stop you! Be consistent with your training, offer a cheat sheet such as an employee manual, and leave room to get creative. Make sure that trainees have the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback – this is the best way to recognize the effectiveness of your training methods. And make sure to offer feedback as well! Don’t be afraid to make the experience fun!

Training can be trying for both the trainee and trainer. Identify staff that will be responsible and best suited for training, and make sure they have the tools they need. Develop a reward system for the trainer to ensure they try their hardest and do their best. Listen to staff suggestions for training methods – they can give insight as to what worked for them and use their past experiences to suggest additions and learning opportunities.

Offer Ongoing Education & Monitor Training Effectiveness

Business needs and services are constantly in a state of change and ongoing education can ensure that your employees are up-to-date and continuously productive. Consider scheduling yearly training sessions for current staff, or offering educational resources year round. By creating a learning environment, you can encourage employees to set and reach personal goals as well as company ones. And the chance for growth and career development can have a huge impact on happiness and work place satisfaction, which increases retention rates and performance levels.

You may think that you are providing excellent training, but how can you rate the actual results? Querying customers is a great way to rate your employee training – if you see frequent complaints about poor customer service or shoddy workmanship, it may mean a bad hire but it could be related to that employees training. Having employees complete self-assessment in addition to manager reviews can demonstrate if your expectations have been conveyed well. Effective training is more useful when you can measure the difference it makes!

Well-Trained Employees Equal a Successful Business!

How much time do you spend training new employees? What training methods do you find the most useful? How do you encourage your staff to continue self-education and personal growth? Share your training tips and experience– by working together as a business community, we can help each other succeed and thrive!

The Phelps Chamber of Commerce strives to provide education and resources to our business members with the goal of ensuring a sustainable, thriving economy through the success of local businesses. Become a member today!

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