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!

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