Sunday, December 30, 2012

Start creating a system

We have laid the foundation for a good training system. Now it's time to start creating that system.  Of course, as I have stated previously - systems are going to vary from one organization to the next depending on what industry your business is a part of.  The basic outline for a good training system is the same no matter what jobs you are training your team to do. We will fill in details as we go - but we will start with some basic things that you have to consider:


  1. How will you train?
  2. What tasks must you train?
  3. Who will do the training?
  4. Who needs to be trained and on what tasks?
    • What I mean by this is if you think about your employees- who needs to learn what?
    • Some things like safety and security - or food safety in a restaurant must be learned by everyone
    • Some tasks are specific to a job and don't have to be taught to all employees
  5. When will you train?
  6. How long will it take?
  7. How will you document that the training has been completed?
  8. How will you incorporate or execute the 3 steps to effective training? 
    • Plan
    • Teach
    • Observe/Evaluate
  9. Will you re-certify employees? If so - how often?
  10. How will you determine that the training was successful?
  11. What steps will you take to re-train employees if they are not doing the job correctly?
That is a pretty good list of things to think about as we start to build the outline for successful training. 

Tomorrow is another good day to relax and enjoy the day.  Be safe - don't drink and drive - stay off the roads even if you don't drink - you can be safe, but you have to look out for the stupid people who get behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

Happy New Year!!


Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Observe and Evaluate

You may have worked somewhere that used a four step process to train.  The reason that I have made it three steps is that when you are having the trainee perform the task or job - you are observing how they do and evaluating them at the same time. You should have some kind of certification form or document to note that the training is done and to make comments on their performance.  Depending on the task - you will either correct them as they are doing the task or you will wait till they are done and then review with them.  If what they are doing wrong could cause injury or any safety or security risk - you should stop them and correct them on the spot.  If it is not a safety or security risk - you may want to wait till they are done and then review with them how they did - making sure to point out any steps they missed.  This needs to be done in a timely manner - right after you have observed them. If you wait too long - they may forget what they did wrong and it won't have as much impact on their continued performance.

Observe the employee completing the job or task that they were taught - take notes - let them know how they did - make corrections.  Recognize successes!  Making a big deal out of something they did right will really stick with them!

I recommend that you put together - as part of your training system - a form or checklist on which you can document the completion of each of the steps of training. We will go into more detail on that in future posts.

Let's review what we have covered so far!


  1. Create a training system/plan/program
  2. Consider the 3 steps to effective training in your plan
    1. Plan for training
    2. Teach the information/task/job
    3. Observe the person doing the task/Evaluate their performance
The next steps will be to talk in more detail about how to build that training plan!




Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Teach....Let's get started!

You have planned for training and trained a trainer to help you to execute the training.. the next step is Teach!  I like to use the word teach because when you are training - you are also teaching.  What is the difference between 'teaching' and 'training'? The definition of Training is "a process by which someone is taught the skills needed for an art, profession or job".  The definition of Teaching is "imparting knowledge of or skill in; giving instruction in"  so...there isn't too much difference between the two. When you are training someone to do a job or a task - you are also teaching them.

After we have discussed all three of the steps to effective training - we will come back to the Teach step and really break down the details of a great training program.  For now - I just want to stress a couple of things about this step.


  1. Be specific about what you are teaching
  2. Provide plenty of detail
  3. Tell the learner why they are required to do the task a certain way
  4. Do not assume anything. Don't take anything for granted.
Obviously - the type of training that you will need to provide to your employees is going to depend on your industry/organization. Let's say you own a law firm: When you hire a new lawyer you don't have to train them how to be a lawyer...that's what they went to law school for!  If you are hiring a receptionist- you won't have to train them how to use a computer or answer a phone - but you may have to train them to use your phone system or software of computer programs that your firm uses. If you own a restaurant to retail store - you will have train your employees how to operate your register system, stock shelves, prepare food, clean...and the list goes on.

Let's take a look at one very basic and necessary task that you will need to require of your employees not only if they are handling food but also if they are dealing with customers, handling money, handling merchandise...pretty much any time you have employees who are dealing with or working with other people. That task is hand washing!!  By now you know that I have a background in food service so this is one of my hot button items.  I worry that many people think that hand washing is only needed if you are handling food but that is simply not true.  If your employees are human - they have bacteria on their bodies and hands...and they use the restroom! Any employee who is working with the public or other employees must be trained to properly wash their hands.  This is something that people take for granted - but it is too important to neglect. 
Don't assume that everyone knows how and when to wash their hands. 

That is just one example and I will go into more detail on all the points of training- this has just been a sneak peek!

Next time: Observe/Evaluate!!



Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today is a day to take a break...hopefully you don't have to work today. If you do - I hope that you are able to take part of your day to spend time with your family.  Enjoy the day - take the time to reflect on what the meaning of the day is. I am a Christian - but I find many times that holidays like Christmas and Easter pass without me giving very much thought to the reason for the day.

When it is the holiday season - don't be afraid to say Merry Christmas! If you know someone who celebrates Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa - wish them a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa!  Tolerance and diversity isn't about pushing Christmas out - it is about letting all of us celebrate what we choose to celebrate!

I know we are past Hanukkah, but I am still going to wish everyone:

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
Happy New Year!

Be safe and be happy - whatever you choose to believe and celebrate!

And...take a break...Training will wait till tomorrow!!


Training is not a one - time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Step 2...Teach! - train the trainer

At last we are ready to start talking about how to train a person to do a job. I will refer to experiences I have had both in being trained, and it training others. Some of these will be specific to the organization I worked for at the time of the training, but overall I will make this adaptable to any industry.

Part of your plan was to know who was going to do the training. Whoever that is needs to be a certified trainer for job he or she is going to train.  If the person who is doing the training hasn't been trained properly - the training won't be excellent and that is what our goal is- excellence in training!

But..beware!  Just because a person is good at doing a job doesn't mean they are going to be a good trainer.  In fact your best trainer might not be the best at the job - but they must know the job inside and out. They must understand all the steps to doing whatever job they are teaching and they must understand why they are doing it so they can explain that to the trainee.

I don't want to offend any teacher who might be reading this...and I don't want to be self - deprecating - but as my father used to say "Those who can't do, teach" I am not the best restaurant manager in the world. Numbers are not my strong suit.. so I always struggled with cost of sales and labor numbers. I understand what the numbers mean - but how you get them isn't easy for me.  I still can train people to understand how to manage those numbers.

I would never have been as successful in my career in the food service industry if I had not had the opportunity to rise to training positions - that is what I know and where my comfort zone is.

So - you have an employee who knows the job and is proficient at it.  Talk to them about training. Observe how they interact with others.  Are they a natural leader?  Are they comfortable directing others?  Do they want to be a trainer?  If you answer yes to these questions - take the next step and  start to train the trainer!

Okay so here is another plan you have to put into place - how are you going to train someone to be a trainer?


  1. Train them following your system - explain how the system works and all the particulars of using the system.  This will include all the steps of training and how to document that the training is complete
  2. Have them teach you something that you have taught them. Since you already know the information they are teaching to you - you will be able to evaluate how well they do the training.  You will know if they missed any steps or important information
  3. Observe them training someone else.  This could be a cross-training exercise - or role-playing with another team member, co-worker, or manager.
  4. Evaluate them on their training skills - explain to them what they did well and what their opportunities are. 
  5. Explain that once they have trained a new person - you will conduct the Observe/Evaluate process with the person as an additional follow up to the thoroughness of their training.  Make sure they understand that it is part of the certification process for you to confirm that they are completing the training properly.  
As the manager or leader of the team you will always be observing and evaluating the work of your employees.  Along with this - you will be evaluating if the training is consistent and complete.

Make a big deal of the fact that someone has been certified as a trainer. You may even want to give them a small pay increase since they are taking on more responsibility.  Depending on your organization these are some other forms of recognition you can give to your trainer:
  1. Special name tag with title of certified trainer
  2. Certificate of achievement
This can also be the first stepping - stone to management for the employee!  This is another way that you can retain employees. If employees know that they have the opportunity to grow, develop and be promoted within your company - it will be an incentive for them to stay with you longer.  

Alright - you have some guidelines for training a trainer - next we will talk more about how your system should work and how to train.

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Training step one...have a Plan

The first step in providing effective training is to plan out the training.  You have a system - and it has to be something that is consistent and reliable.  If you have a good system - and you stick to it - your employees will learn what they need to know to do their job - and they will also understand the "why".  Sometimes it isn't enough to just say "because I said so" - but if employees know why they are doing something a certain way - they are more likely to do it correctly.  Many of the standards you put in to place, for example in a restaurant, are based on food safety principles - maybe even state laws on safe food handling.

Before you schedule the new employee to come in for their orientation - make sure you are ready. If they come to the orientation and you aren't prepared - it will give the impression that you are not organized - and as I said previously - it can make the new employee feel that they aren't really very important. To build a great culture - you have to work to make your employees feel like they are essential to your success. You also must treat them well. If they feel like they are necessary and you treat them with respect - they will be on the road to long-term employment.

When you schedule them for their first day - plan it so that it gives you time to set up a training schedule and acquire anything you might need for their start date.  This may include the following:

  • Uniforms if you provide them (if your organization isn't one that provides or requires uniforms - give the employee a written copy of your dress code so they know how to dress on day one)
  • Packet of paperwork that must be filled out the first day. This will include your policies - but also has to include mandatory documents like I-9, W-4, child labor law documentation and any other forms that are required by your state or local authorities.  Filling our government required documents is extremely important - failing to do so can result in criminal prosecution and fines. I suggest that the I-9 is the first thing so you know you have the proper documents needed to complete the form.  Don't take shortcuts on this - you must see the original forms with your own eyes.  Check out this PDF version of the I-9 which includes a list of acceptable forms of ID and instructions for properly completing the I-9 Form
  • Handbook
  • Training calendar/schedule
When your new employee comes to work the first day - you should greet them - give them a tour of your facility and start into completing their employment paperwork. 

Give yourself time to work your plan. Not long ago I witnessed a new RGM of a restaurant conducting an interview with a person for a team member position.  He sat and talked to her for a few minutes - then he started asking me about filling out her employment paperwork. I was flabbergasted at the fact that he was in such a hurry to get her started that he jumped right into an orientation  as soon as the interview was over. He didn't even have all the right paperwork for her to complete - he didn't even ask her if she was available to stay longer. If would be okay to extend a job offer to a candidate - but schedule the orientation for a different day. 

Plan out what schedule the new employee is going to work for the first week or so - depending on how long it will take to train them to do their job. Once the preliminary paperwork is complete - you are ready to start teaching them how to do the job for which you hired them.

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finally....TRAINING!!

Finally - we have gotten to the point that we are going to start discussing training!  I have been involved in training since my second waitress job at the Howard Johnson restaurant in Chambersburg, PA  If you remember HoJo's you can click that link and take a walk down memory lane.  Suffice it to say it was a long time ago!!  The woman who trained me had been working there for years and she was a great waitress!  She was friendly with everyone and you couldn't help but to like her.  She was so funny...I will never forget her words of wisdom!  It was the mid '80's - we wore the most awful rust colored, polyester uniform. Not that it matters to this topic - but here is a pic of it...They were awful but...we didn't fight it or try to get away with not wearing the right uniform or shoes.  We followed the rules and they were very specific in many areas. We had handbooks that showed how you were to hold your tray and your 'side towel' neatly folded and under your tray so you always were ready to clean up a spill.  Bonnie - the woman who trained me told me "your tray is like your underwear...you always have it with you!!"  You never carried a plate, with food or dirty, without your tray.  When you did your side work of filling salt and pepper shakers  - the salt was always on the right and the pepper on the left.  You wore pantyhose and the proper waitress shoes without complaining about it too much.  The rules were in place and we followed them.  I guess that is why I am such a stickler for details even now - 27 years later!

But I digress....

I have broken training basics down into 3 steps - some of the organizations I have worked for use a four step process - but I combine the last 2 steps cause I think they should be done at the same time.  Even though the names of the steps vary from one company to the next - they are still based on the same steps.


  1. Plan 
  2. Teach
  3. Observe and evaluate
We are going to use these steps as the foundation of the training program.  It is essential that you have a solid system for training. This system will ensure that all people are trained the same way.  Consistency is the key to the effective training of your team...as I have said before - no matter what industry you work, manage or own. 

These are some things that you need to consider when putting together a training system:
  1. What do I need to teach my employees?
  2. What is going to be my means to presenting the information to the employees?
  3. Who is going to do the training?
  4. How much time is needed to train?
  5. What are the costs?
  6. How will I track or record that the training was done?
  7. How will I evaluate the trainees to determine their success?
Many companies are now using online or computer based training.  This could be a website that you set up where the employee logs on and completes assignments or a series of videos - online or DVD's.  All companies can't afford this type of training - so you may have to start out with hands - on paper-based training materials.  

Now that we have started to lay the foundation - we will be ready to go into more detail on each step when we meet again.

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it..Live it...Pass it on!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Orientations

We will revisit interviewing and hiring at some time in the future, but right now I want to talk about how you orient a new employee into your organization.

Hypothetically, if you were using the information in this Blog as a kind of recipe for hiring and training - at this point you would have:

  1. Created policies and put together a handbook - with some legal advice
  2. Written some great interview questions and started hiring people
Now you are ready to have those people you hired start to work for you.
The orientation is a great opportunity to get to know the person a little better - they have the job so they can relax a little.  It is your time to tell them about your company - and let them know what those policies and standards are - as well as what your expectations are.

Step one is make sure you are ready for them to start work. Have all paperwork that you need. If you supply uniforms - make sure you have the uniforms prior to the start date.  This is another thing that can make the employee feel like they aren't really that important - wow - they didn't even bother to make sure they had uniforms for me!

We are going to talk about the training plan later -but that is obviously something that needs to be in place before they start.  

Depending on your industry - you may need to make sure you have someone scheduled to train the employee or to take your place in the work day so that you have time to orient and train the new person.
As you can see by now - one of my key points of success is to make sure that all employees know that they are respected and essential parts of your team.  From the first day - they have to know that you care about them and are happy that they came to work for you. This is part of building a great culture - no matter what your business is. 

If you keep getting interrupted during the orientation process it will make the same statement to them that it would have in the interview - you have better things to be doing. It is rude and disrespectful. You shouldn't tolerate the employee texting or answering calls during the orientation so you must afford them the same respect.  When you are conducting and interview or an orientation - you are in a meeting and should not be disturbed.

Another major error I have seen managers make is to have this packet of paperwork that holds all of the companies important policies- handing it to the employee and saying -  "Read through these forms, sign them and I'll be back in a while to review them with you and answer any questions".  There are several reasons why this is a bad idea:

  • It takes away from the importance of the paperwork - if you don't even bother to sit down and read through the forms with the person - how important can it be?
  • It takes away from the importance of the employee - if you don't have time to sit down and read through the forms and make sure they understand them - how important can the employee be?
  • You leave too much to chance. Yes-as we discussed - when you tell the person that signing the form states that they read it and understood it - but - if you don't review it with them and make sure that they are grasping the concept of each policy - they may not really be getting.  The average person - especially if you are dealing with a young person who might be taking on their first job- will not read everything word for word. They will skim over it and sign it.  When you come back to review and ask them if they have any questions...what do you think they are going to say?  Most people are going to say no.  You have to review policies anyway - why not do it with the employee as they read it?  It will save time and ensure that they are reading because you will be there with them looking over it. 
Take the time to make sure they understand the policies - you are more likely to retain the employee because you will be sure that they know what is expected of them.

I cannot stress this enough: If you don't impress upon the employee how important the policies are - the new employee will not see them as important.  Our goal here is to hire great people and keep them - not just hire a bunch of people only to lose them quickly. What a waste of time and money!

That's all for now...stay tuned...there is so much more to come!!

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!




This is an ornament one of my sisters made for me...it is so cute and clever!!  Just wanted to share since we are less than a week away from Christmas!

bonus post!!!

I didn't plan to write anything more at this point about interviewing, but I was doing some research for a work project and I came across a couple of links that look pretty good. They have to do with interviewing so they go along with what we talked about on the last post.

Business Owner's Toolkit and an About.com article

Happy interviewing!!!

Learn it...Live it..Pass it on!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

next step - interviewing and hiring

Now that we have talked about what policies you should have in place - and a plan for enforcing those policies...we can start to talk about getting employees in the door.

I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about interviewing...it is not my strong suit. I think my biggest problem is that I love to talk.  That is detrimental to a good interview because in an interview you need to get the candidate to talk about them self - if an person doesn't open up and starting talking and giving good answers - I tend to try to get the conversation going by talking about my experiences. The next thing I know - I am talking too much and not getting the information out of the candidate.  So now that I have told you what not to do...here are a few things that you should do...I just need to learn to take my own advice.


  • Have a checklist - to start out you might want to have an actual written list - but as time goes by, you will be able to observe the things on the list off the top of your head. The checklist should include the following...some of them will depend on the industry/organization that you are hiring for:
    1. Is the candidate on time for interview?
    2. How are they dressed?  No matter what the job- they should be dressed in at least business casual attire.  This is going to vary depending on your organization. If you are hiring for an office job where suits and ties are required - than you will be looking for a candidate to be dressed like that.  Some other businesses might be okay with people being dressed in a nice dress shirt and slacks or a skirt.  The attire a person is wearing may be very telling of their personality - and attitude toward work.  They should be comfortable - but should also look like the put some time and thought into how they are presenting them self for the interview.  However - don't let their good grooming or nice suit lull you into thinking they are a great candidate before you have even asked the first questions.
    3. What is their body language during the interview?
    4. How comfortable are they talking to you - a stranger that they are probably meeting for the first time? This is especially important if you are hiring for a customer service job of any kind.  A cashier or receptionist is going to have to deal with people in person and on the phone - so good hospitality and social skills are a must.
    5. Did they bring their phone with them?  If they check a call - or text - or answer a call during the interview - find a way to end it quickly.  People who don't have any more respect for your time than that are not people you want working for you.  Some people may have their phone with them if they are going to be filling out an application - they may have information on the phone that they need -but when you are conducting the interview you should not see the phone - and for that matter - they should not see your's either!!
  • All the things you expect from them - you should also emulate.  Be on time - be respectful - present yourself in a professional and confident manner.
  • Have a list of basic questions that you know you have to ask - and some follow up questions to ask depending on their answers.  Make sure all of your questions are appropriate.  Here are some links to help you determine the kind of questions you should NOT ask...6 mistakes to avoid ; tips to help you formulate questions
  • You should never ask questions like (to a woman) "are you planning to have children?".  Don't ask questions about their health. If they bring up a medical condition - beware.  They may not mean anything by it - but if they tell you they have a condition and you don't hire them - they could come back and claim that is why you didn't hire them.  I went to an HR seminar once where they did a role play with a girl who had red hair who got into a conversation about her ethnic background - this kind of discussion must be avoided.
  • Let them talk - and really pay attention to them - if they go off on a rabbit trail too far - bring them back - but this is your chance to get to know them and try to get a read on whether or not you want them working for you. 
  • Pay attention to your instincts...if you observe or hear something that is a red flag - either ask them to explain it - or if it is a deal breaker - find a way to cut the interview short.
  • When the interview is over - thank them for their time and give them a timeline for when you will get back to them with a decision.If you are sure they are not a fit for the position - don't keep them hanging.  If you want to hire them - don't leave them hanging....your company is probably not the only one they have applied with and if you don't hire them - someone else will.  24 to 48 hours is a good turn around time. The recruiters I have worked with have a standard letter that they send out to candidates they are not hiring. 
Okay...I guess I had a lot more to say about interviewing than I thought I did...it's getting late...have a good night!

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Relax and be thankful

Today I am not going to talk about Training or documentation or anything work related. Today I just want to relax and be thankful that everyone in my family is safe.  I have a great nephew who is the age of those sweet innocent children who were slaughtered on Friday. The even scarier part is that he lives in CT - when someone told me there had been a school shooting in CT it sent a chill through me since I have several great nieces and nephews who attend school in CT. I know to the girl who was telling me it probably seemed like a million miles away - since we were in Southern PA - I was very relieved to talk to my sister and find out that although it was close to where she lives - no one she knew was harmed.

So - as I said - today - the third Sunday in Advent - it is a good day to clear our minds of the negative and just relax, be happy and say a prayer for the families who are grieving a tremendous loss today.

God Bless us...everyone

Saturday, December 15, 2012

treat everyone equally...that doesn't mean the same...

All employees must be treated equally...that should go without saying.

You don't, however treat all people the same. I think I confuse people sometimes when I make this statement. This is what I mean

You have many different employees...all with different personalities.  If you are a good leader - you can adapt to working with all kinds of personalities.  You also will get to know your people and understand how to handle them in certain situations.  You will know that some people are more sensitive than others. You still have to hold them to the policies and standards  but the way that you talk to them or approach them may be different.  You might have a person who can take anything you say to them and never get upset and the person working next to them will cry if you aren't very careful how you correct them.  As  leader - you have to learn how to deal with varying personalities and help each person to be a productive part of your team.

When it comes to holding people accountable - you have to be fair and equal.  You can't write one person up for violating a policy, but completely ignore the fact that another person did the same thing.  If one or more people aren't disciplined for violations - the other people who have been reprimanded will get tired of this treatment and decide they don't want to work for you anymore.  

If you are going to put policies in place you must be prepared to take equal action when people don't live up to your expectations.

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...learn it...live it...pass it on!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Steps to document unacceptable behavior

Along with the policies that you put into place - you must have a system for how you are going to discipline employees who violate these policies. If you have a good system - it will ensure that you treat everyone equally and fairly. If you just fly by the seat of your pants...you will end up with a problem - some employees may be held to a different standard than others...that can come back to bite you in the form of lawsuits.

It has been my experience that these steps will help you to discipline offenders fairly - and give you the paper trail you will need if someone does try to bring wrongful termination or discrimination suit against you.


  • Decide how many times you think you should have to discuss an issue with an employee before you terminate them.  Most companies that I have been affiliated with have a process something like this:
    • First offense - verbal reprimand - you talk to the employee and tell them that their behavior was in violation of a policy.  Even though this is a verbal reprimand - you must document it somewhere - for an example of this - see yesterday's post.  Make the note in your logbook or date book. These options are good because you can write it on the day that the discussion took place which will make it easier to refer back to if needed
    • Second offense - written warning. Create a form or find a template to use for this. If you use a form that you fill out whenever you have to discipline an employee you will be confident that you are providing the same information for every employee. Showing this kind of consistency can be helpful if you need to defend your decision. Fill out the information - sit down with the employee and review the write up - you may want to have another manager or even your supervisor present as a witness to this discussion.  One thing that must be included on the write up is a statement of what the next step will be if the behavior continues. For example:  "If Joe is late for work again he will be subject to a second and final written warning. Any infractions after that within a 6 month period will result in termination".  It is good to put a time frame on this.  If Joe goes for a year and isn't ever late - and then he is late one time - it may be over-reacting to terminate him. Resetting the clock so to speak is a reasonable thing to do. Another option is to state "If Joe is late again he will be subject to further disciplinary action up to and including termination"  However - as I stated previously - be consistent with this wording for all employees.
    • Third offense - final written warning.  Use the same form as above - but change the wording to include that if Joe is late again within the 6 month period- he will be terminated.
    • Forth offense - termination - use the same form and state that this is notice of termination.
  • Your write up form could have a place where you list the three or four levels of discipline with a place to put a check mark for example:
    • First written warning
    • Final written warning
    • Termination
  • Have a place for you, the employee and your witness to sign the form.  If the employee refuses to sign- the write up is still legitimate.  Simply write that the employee refused to sign.  You may want to include a note that the employee's signature is only a statement of the fact that they received the reprimand - not an admission of guilt - this encourages some people to sign. The reason they don't want to sign is because they don't think what they did was wrong and they feel they are admitting guilt by signing.
Following these steps will make your job of disciplining employees less stressful - and will give you the proper documentation you may need if you run into legal problems.  Speaking of legal problems:
Hire a lawyer to review the policies that you write - he or she will be able to tell you if the rules and policies you are putting into place are legal and reasonable.

Stay tuned for more!!

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Accountability - Silence Gives Consent

How do you hold your employees accountable for following policies and doing their jobs? Some managers make this a very difficult task and one of the biggest reasons is because they don't do it from day one.

When I use the term Silence Gives Consent - people sometimes look at me as if I have three heads...what does that mean?  They ask.  It simply means that if someone does something they shouldn't do - or fails to do something they were supposed to do and you as a manager/supervisor don't say something - it gives the employee the impression that it was okay.  If Joe is late for work by 10 minutes and you don't speak to him about it - the next thing you know - Joe is 15 minutes late - maybe you still don't say anything to Joe. A couple of things are happening:

  1. Joe is getting the impression that you don't really follow you policies - or that you are not really paying attention to what your employees are doing...this can lead to many more serious issues if left unchecked
  2. You are losing the respect of other employees - people who come to work on time every day feel like Joe is being given special treatment - or they think the same thing Joe thinks - you are not in control of the workplace
  3. If you work in the service industry - the person Joe is supposed to be taking over for are made to stay late since he isn't there to start work...this also may lead to unnecessary overtime
  4. You many lose some of the other workers - they don't want to work in an environment where some people are not held accountable for coming to work on time - they aren't getting any kind of recognition for being on time and Joe isn't being disciplined for being late.
The Answer: The first time that Joe is late - go to him and ask him why he was late. If he has a legitimate reason - you may not take any further action - but you have at least let Joe know that you are paying attention to what he does and that you care that he was late.  The first warning you give an employee may be a verbal warning - meaning you are not writing them up, but you are letting them know that their behavior is unacceptable. Even though it is a verbal warning you need to make a written note of the fact that you had the discussion with the employee.  This can be something as simple as a note in your date book or manager's log stating something like this:

Friday, December 14, 2012 - Joe was 10 minutes late for work today. I discussed this with him and let him know that he needs to be on time for work. I told him that it is important for him to be here on time so that he doesn't inconvenience other members of the team. 

If Joe is late again - you have record that you talked to him about it once- the next time will call for written documentation - which we will discuss next time!

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Documentation Part 2

When last we spoke...we started talking about documentation and it's importance.  In any company I have worked for- it has been a recurring theme that you must have documentation. Document your policies, document discussions and disciplinary actions that you take with your employees.  My last post focused more on how to create some good and valid policies...today I want to talk about enforcing those policies and  how documentation can help you to do this.

On day one - you have a packet of paperwork for the employee to read and sign.  Read this paperwork with the employee and make it clear to them that when they sign the form they are stating that they read it and understood it and will adhere to the policies.  If they are hired for a management position - they will also be held accountable for enforcing the policies.  You must make sure that they sign the forms - and that you sign as a witness. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and make sure that you give them an answer that is clear and that they understand.  You also need to have a place - whether it be a handbook or some online document - where they can access these policies in the future.

Now you can hold them to the policies that you have put in place because you have made them aware of the policies and you have their signatures stating that they understand them.  This does not mean that if you fire someone they are not going to try to sue you or file for unemployment.  What it means is that you will have the legal standing for why you terminated them and that can turn the tables in your favor.  There are people who are going to try to sue you for looking at them cross-eyed. I worked with a district manager once who witnessed a patron falling in the parking lot of one of the stores that he oversaw.  She wasn't seriously hurt and she admitted freely that the business was not at fault for her fall - but she tried to sue for "embarrassment"..because she was embarrassed by the fact that the employee saw her fall!  Yes...that is a true story...you can't make this stuff up!!

Stay tuned...next time we will talk about how you hold people accountable for following your policies and how to fire someone!

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey!  Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Documentation - Part One

Let's go all the way back to the creation of your company or business..whatever it is.  You have a business plan...right? You wouldn't think of going into business without one.  If you are going to have employees working for you - you have to have employee policies.  These are a set of rules and guidelines that your employees must adhere to. When I watch shows like Restaurant Stakeout  I am amazed at the times that people are surprised to see their employees behaving badly. They act like they never even told those employees that it wasn't acceptable for them to be talking on their cell phone or drinking alcohol while they were working.  If you don't set the expectations - you can't hold employees to them.  From a legal standpoint..it is difficult to fire someone for violating a policy that you don't have in writing.  Many of your policies are going to mirror the state and federal laws that are governed by the U.S. Department of Labor. That is a good place to get started. Other policies are going to be based on the kind of business you are running - and your personal beliefs and ideals.  You also should consider the type of clientele you are trying to attract.  For example - if you are hoping for families to frequent your restaurant - you aren't going to pick uniforms with short shirts and bikini tops for female employees and short shorts and muscle shirts for males.

As I stated before - there are guidelines for food service available through ServSafe which is a highly respected and nationally recognized food safety training program associated with the National Restaurant Association. If you follow the guidelines for personal hygiene and all around safe food handling that are a part of their program - you won't go wrong.

The links I have provided here can help you to understand what standards and policies you must have and why you must have them.

See you tomorrow!!

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!!




Saturday, December 8, 2012

Have a plan

There are many ways to present the material you are teaching to your trainee or student.  Books, videos, online training are all effective ways to train.  You have to have a plan and a system before you start training. Videos and online training are very good because they take advantage of technology and they offer consistent training.  If you have a list of things that are to be taught and you leave it up to an individual to teach it...they may present it differently or skip over things that they don't think are important.  A recorded training session is going to tell every learner the same thing every time.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to create a good training system - just make sure whatever you do is correct and consistent.  Part of your system must be a way to document or record that the training was complete. This is helpful not only in making sure that the person learned the information, but it can be helpful in Human Resource and even unemployment or wrongful termination cases.

We will talk about that more next time

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Training...basic...but it's the key

It may seem like a no-brainer...if you want someone to do a job or any task..you must train them to do it.  So why is it that so many people try to get someone to do a job without giving them the proper training?  I have seen this in a several different industries and situations.  

You can't expect a person to do a task or job if you haven't taught them how to do it.

Today's simple lesson: 

Don't take anything for granted.  Don't assume anything. Start from the ground up. Even if it seems like something that everyone should know how to do - still train the person how to do it.  Something as basic, in the food service industry, as proper hand-washing   No, everyone doesn't know when and how to do it.  It is the most important safeguard against food-borne illness so you can't risk anyone doing it wrong - or not doing it at all!  How many times have you gone into a public restroom and watched as another person - not someone who works there - just another patron - leave the restroom without washing their hands?  Those may be the same people who are coming to your establishment looking for a job.  If they aren't doing it for themselves and their own health - what makes you think they will know - without you telling them - that they have to do it to safe guard other people's health!?

You MUST teach them the basics of any job. I remember sitting in a computer training class years ago and seeing an adult manager pick the mouse up and point it at the computer screen like a remote control!!!  As basic as that may seem - she had to be told how to use a mouse!

Don't assume - don't take for granted...train from the ground up - even on the basics.

Training is not a one time event - it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Training experience

I started as a trainer when I worked as a waitress at a Howard Johnson restaurant in the 80's.  I will never forget the woman who trained me when I started.  Her first piece of advice was that as a "Johnson Girl"  Yes..that is actually what they called us....you always had your tray with you...you never carried plates, clean or dirty without a tray.  "your tray is like your underwear...you always have it with you"  That was 27 years ago!  When a waitress comes to my table and can't manage to carry all the plates she is collecting I think...well...if you had your tray with you...you wouldn't be having this problem.

I never thought I would want to be a teacher. When I was first dating my husband...he had a book called "Do what you are"  it was supposed to help you realize what your calling or ideal job was. When I did it...it came up with teacher.  I was one of the waitresses who trained new people but I didn't really think of myself as a teacher.  Sixteen years after reading that book.. I have worked my way from waitress in a full serve restaurant to my second above restaurant training manager position.

I will tell you from the start that I don't have any college education...no business admin degree...it has all come from experience and training within my companies of employment. I am a certified ServSafe safe food handling instructor and I teach a couple of other soft skill management classes for our employees.  I will not mention the company or brand that I work for as they are not affiliated with this blog and I will not be telling any trade secrets or sharing any of their proprietary information.  This is all about training...my experiences, successes, and failures and what I have learned over the course of a 27 year career in the restaurant industry.

My hope is that I can share information that will aid my readers in finding success in their profession.

Training is not a one time event...it is an ongoing journey...Learn it...Live it...Pass it on!!