Congratulations, you’ve hired a new person and now have the privilege of teaching them how to be successful, just like you have been in the business. So what’s the problem? Well, most business owners don’t take the time to analyze themselves personally and identify what are the WHY’s behind their success. Many tell me...
“Jessica, I can do the work, but I don’t know how to teach the work,” or “I teach them, and they don’t do it.”
Doing and teaching are certainly different things, but that doesn’t mean you are not capable of learning some tools that will make the teaching part easier. Some of the key elements in training revolve around the manner in which we teach vs. the knowledge that is shared.
For example, what’s more important for a successful training program is
The sequence of what you teach vs. just having them observe and learn as they go.
We call the latter the “shark” or “trial” method, aka throwing them in the deep waters and seeing if they can swim with the sharks. This type of training, while it works in some trade apprenticeships, doesn’t encourage a star producer to learn the basics and run with it. It usually is a drawn out training that misses some key elements before they are turned on the road to work with customers themselves, and results in higher errors while they “learn from their mistakes.” Instead we want to take a consistent step by step progression to their learning, and not “put the cart before the horse” giving them advanced information too early.
The first two weeks in any new hire relationship is the most critical, we call them the “baby weeks.” In these two weeks they need to learn why they should love your company and window treatments. We need to make them true believers. Think about when you go to Disney World and it seems like no one has ever had a bad day. They train that into their employees in the first two weeks and make them believers of the mission, vision, and how every single moment of interaction has a lasting effect on their customers. Employees that drink the Kool Aid will help you build your legacy.
To have a wholesome training program you want the following elements to be included:
Process | By having your new hire understand what it means to be a part of the company, and how they fit in the customer experience machine, they can begin to think independently and be inspired to take care of the customer.
Product | All employees on the team, regardless if they are customer facing or not, must learn to understand the wonderful world of window coverings. If they don’t buy into the service you are providing to customers, and adore the company, you’ll find their talents going to another industry.
Paperwork and Pricing | Employees that are expected to help save or make the company money (which should be everyone), need to know how the paperwork and pricing structure works. The Paperwork and Pricing are the foundation of the project that the employees drive to completion. Connect the dots for them on what every line item means and how they are affected if it changes or is missing.
People | Whether in front of the customer or supporting behind the scenes, everyone in your organization will have contact with a customer at some point. Even the bookkeeper is required to be involved in collections, or a warehouse manager running an emergency part to a job site. Learning the written and verbal communication skills to interact with customers is at the root of why the company is in business. They need to learn how to interact comfortably and confidently.
Once you have your employee understanding the big picture of their role, you can fine tune their skills by following up on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to review their progress, teach them new things, and observe them in action. Don’t be tempted to change the training, even if the new hire has extensive window covering experience. You’ll be sorry you did. Instead, set them up for success and give them the tools to grow the company.