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3 Tips for Developing a Strong Staff Training Program

Staff training is a time-intensive process, so it can be tempting to cut it short so your employees can get straight to the “real” work. However, it’s important to consider why you brought these team members onboard: You needed help. Now that you’ve found the ideal candidates for your company, it’s time for you to help them so they can meet expectations and feel confident in their position.

Every company should have their own staff training program and, in some cases, it may be worth having separate programs based on job roles. Your office manager and your social media intern will have vastly different responsibilities, so consider whether you need to specialize training programs by position. While training programs are typically intended for new hires, keep in mind that they can also be used for a quick refresher or for employees that are expanding their roles and taking on new responsibilities.

Thus, your training program must be versatile to meet everyone’s needs, while remaining flexible for updates as you introduce new procedures to the mix—or if something sudden happens, like having to go fully virtual for a global pandemic or other natural disaster. We can’t always predict what will happen in the world around us, but we can always safeguard our businesses so they can continue to thrive and grow despite external circumstances.

Here are a few tips for developing a strong staff training program that will last you through the years.

Outline expectations clearly.

To be fair, your expectations should have been stated clearly in the job description you put out during the hiring process, so your new hires should be walking in the door with a fair assessment of their responsibilities. Still, there will surely be some first-week jitters and questions about where they fit into the company, so start training off with an overview of expectations.

Explain their role, how often and to whom they should report, and other details surrounding their position. Consider the obstacles faced by previous employees and discuss them upfront to cover your bases.

Prepare a comprehensive training manual.

One of the very best things you can do for yourself and your employees is to develop a training manual that details your company values, branding, organizational structure, and responsibilities by department and/or position. This could end up as a physical handbook for each employee or, perhaps better, it could be as simple as a shared document on Google Drive or Dropbox that can be regularly updated in real-time for everyone in the company.

An online version saved to the cloud is also helpful for remote workers who aren’t in the office all the time. Or, in the case of the stay-at-home orders we’re under, a shared version ensures everyone can access the manual from any location as long as they have an internet connection.

This comprehensive manual can have specific processes based on job position, but consider implementing a table of contents so your team members can quickly jump to what they need to know. As mentioned earlier, your office manager may need to access appointment procedures and telephone scripts whereas your social media intern can skip straight to the section about logins and hashtags.

Be available to consult.

It might feel tempting to jump back to your own work and let new hires learn on their own through self-guided materials, but you need to remain present and engaged in the training process for the first several weeks (or months, depending on the complexity of the position). That’s not to say you need to hold their hand every step of the way; you can still let them carve their own path, but be sure to check in often to ensure they understand their assignments and know that you are a resource when they need additional help.

This training approach prevents micro-managing, which can be destructive to company culture and morale, while still positioning you as an effective, reliable, and present leader. With a strong staff training program in place, your new (and existing) hires will be off and running with a toolbox full of resources at their disposal!

 

Jennifer Taylor is the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development. She is also the owner and founder of Taylor’d Event Group, a leading event planning company that serves local and destination clients in Washington State and Maui, HI.

 

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