Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Employee Training

Employee surveys often reveal that they rate the quality and enjoyment of their jobs on more than just the dollar figure on their paycheck. Obviously, that’s an important part of any employment equation but it’s not the only thing and business owners are consistently surprised when one survey after another reveals that training is high up on the list of factors that make an employee love their job.

Among the many possible reasons for this, two reasons stand out:

  • Employees want to be valued by their employers.
  • Employees are hopeful for long-lasting jobs.

So, employers can demonstrate an employee’s value by investing in the employee, while at the same time helping to ensure that the employee has the skills to stay relevant in their position.

But, as a small business owner, training might seem to be out of reach. Everyone is busy, training can be expensive, and what to train in first is not always easy to figure out.

I’ve seen employers who demand that their employees stay after hours and arrange babysitters to participate in unpaid training time.

I’ve also seen employers who were willing to close down their business for an entire day so that their employees could get trained.

These are probably the extremes of the situation and there is probably a middle road for you.

Consider closing early one day, or at least having everyone but a temp or a virtual assistant cover the phones. Spend an hour covering a small part of training. You don’t need to create flashy training material or spend an entire day training and eating a catered lunch. Take an hour a week, during a normal work day and invest in your staff.

Although you could train one-on-one (which, in a multi-staff setting would allow your business to continue) but that’s not always a good use of your time. It’s probably better to put everything on pause for an hour and train everyone all at once. Or, if shutting down isn’t realistic, hold two one-hour training sessions and train half of your staff at one and half at the other.

You could even consider creating training videos that teach each aspect and then open up some time to answer follow-up questions.

But, how do you know what to train? This depends, of course, on your business. But a few ideas you should consider include:

  • Get everyone up to speed on customer service, answering phones, and your CRM system. That way, if things get really busy or if the receptionist doesn’t show up one day, the bookkeeper and the sales person are each equally qualified to help cover the phones. Obviously you don’t want them doing that full time but it’s helpful to get everyone to “peek” into the main front-office, customer-facing effort that is required; otherwise, back office staff tend to forget about the customers and can create policies and procedures that don’t work for customers.
  • Teach everyone about sales. The receptionist who understands sales will do a better job answering the phones and handling customer service issues; the bookkeeper who understands sales will do a better job working with the sales team to handle accounts receivables.
  • Teach everyone about the business. This is an often-missed step because the business owner “pigeon-holes” his or her employees into their respective roles. But employees who see the big picture and understand the entire business will be more valuable now and in the future (especially if your business grows; these employees could end up being tomorrow’s executives at your company).

So you are probably thinking, how can a Virtual Assistant help with training? Here are a few ideas you should consider:

  • Have a Virtual Assistant cover your phones, support desk or operations while you are training your staff, rather than closing.
  • Have a Virtual Assistant conduct the training of your staff.
  • Have a Virtual Assistant prepare the training materials and presentations for the training of your staff.
  • Have a Virtual Assistant record the training and create training videos for future use.

Or… just hire a Contemporary VA with a platinum plan and never worry about training staff again – with our no cost training and back up platinum service!

photo credit: Muffet

Posted on November 9th, 2011 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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