Great companies are built on effective, efficient training -- but the training challenges in a small business are often overlooked. The best thing you can do for new hires is to ensure they have the right tools and resources to be productive members of your team. Training is not simply handing over an employee manual, but you can simplify the process by understanding the four principles of training in small business.
1. Set and follow a standard operating procedure.
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is an absolute necessity to serve as a guideline for training. You need to document everything you plan to review and accomplish in training new hires. This keeps you on task, reduces the chances of forgetting something, and helps you keep all of your materials in place for future new hires as well. Hand out copies of your SOP to new hires for reference, which saves time on follow-up questions.
2. Be patient.
Welcoming your new hires is exciting, and you may expect to speed through everything as quickly as possible. But this is the fallacy of training in a small business. Fast, disorganized training leads to errors and dissatisfaction among employees (and eventually, customers!). In your small business, you’ll have other events arise, such as customer service concerns or problems with computers, and you need to factor these events into your training plans.
3. Make training a team effort.
Although you may have the primary responsibility of training new hires, your other responsibilities cannot be forgotten. Since you cannot realistically be in two places at once, share the training tasks with your existing team members. This helps to keep new hires engaged and introduce them to the rest of team, a critical function in building rapport. Additional training and insight from other employees helps new hires learn more about your company and get used to asking questions to different individuals.
4. Follow-up is key to retaining employees.
To keep things running smoothly, be sure to follow up with all new hires. Schedule weekly meetings to check in and discuss what was missed in training, what could be improved, and what worked the best. This gives new hires a chance to ask questions without interrupting your other duties. This final aspect of training also leads back into modifying your SOP and sharing training responsibilities with existing staff.
Ready, set… train.
There’s no definitive guide to training practices in small business, but if you know how to plan, manage, and handle a new hire training program, you can reduce employee turnover. After all, low employee turnover saves money and resources, two vital components of a successful business of any size.
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