Whether you hire the occasional freelancer or have a full-time staff, your business needs training processes to ensure each employee knows his role. Many of us have found out the hard way that simply telling someone what to do isn’t enough; we need a program that includes written documents, shadowing and hands-on learning to properly help our staff maximize their potential.
Let’s Start With Training Documents
I’m to the point in my business that any time I have a set of tasks that can be duplicated, I write out a document detailing how to do the job. I keep them simple, and include steps. I link to resources my staff might find useful. For example, instructions on writing a blog post for a client might look like this:
1. Log into http://www.clientsite.com/wp-admin
2. Click “Add New” on left sidebar.
3. Start writing post. Include:
- Image in body
- Photo source
- All in One SEO Pack title, description, keywords
4. Choose the appropriate category.
5. Save as draft.
6. Ping Susan to review.
It’s simple, step-by-step directions that should be foolproof. If you’ve never taken the time to detail the steps for a given process, I encourage you to try it as an exercise. Assume the reader has no prior experience in the task, and break it down to the basics.
“Watch and Learn”
If you have the staff for it, have a new hire shadow someone who already does the job, or who has done it in the past. At this point, the new hire has already read your training materials and is now only watching how to do her new job. This is a great opportunity for her to ask questions during training, and to take notes. If you don’t have the staff, the training is up to you as the owner! Busy as you are, it’s important that you carve out time for training new staff to ensure they know how to do their jobs well.
Once you’ve spent time on the shadowing process, you can loosen up the reins a bit on the new employee. Let them take over the tasks, with you or another employee watching and correcting. Gradually ease away and let them manage the tasks on their own.
Feedback on the Process
Everyone learns at a different pace, so be open to the fact that it might take longer for some. Schedule a meeting with your new hire a week or two after they’ve completed training to address any questions they have, and to gently guide them in the right direction. Training should be a collaboration, not just giving top-down orders. Let your new employee make the role their own. You never know: you just might learn something from them!
Training  Photo via Shutterstock