Make Your Employee Training Count With These 5 Tips

Now more than ever, it’s important for employees to do things right. Following safe COVID-19 practices can mean the difference between staying open or having to close down again. Providing stellar service determines whether customers come back. Both start with effective training. Are you providing your staff with the knowledge they need to do the right thing? Here are five best practices to help make your training efforts count.

Define Your Outcomes

What do you want employees to be able to do after the training? The more specifically you answer that question, the better. For example, don’t say “Provide better customer service.” With that broad of a goal, it’s difficult to know if they’ve achieved it. Instead, think of what action you want them to demonstrate.

A more measurable outcome is something like, “Greet the customer within the first 30 seconds of them entering the store.”

Prioritize Your Curriculum

Think about all the things a new employee has to learn at first. It can be overwhelming. So make it more manageable by prioritizing your training curriculum. Start with the basics and add on more complex topics gradually. Having a plan helps to ensure you include all the skills they need to be successful.

Think you might have left out something important? Here’s a list compiled by the Small Business Development Centers of important training topics every business owner should consider.

Assign The Right Trainer

You don’t have to be the one to deliver the training. One option is to tap a more experienced employee. This peer-to-peer training is often less intimidating so trainees may feel more comfortable asking for help. You have to train the trainer first, but it ultimately frees you to devote more time to other tasks.

Another option is online training. This offers the advantage of staggering the training. That means you don’t have to pull your whole staff away from serving customers. In addition, people can work at their own pace, backing up if they have a question. Here’s a free COVID-19 Awareness course offered by 360-Degree Training, a division of OSHA.

Recognize Learning Differences

Different people learn in different ways. Some learn by doing. Others prefer to read about it. So give employees different ways to absorb the content. For example, you might demonstrate how to perform a task. Then you could give them a handout to learn more. Or you might pair them off so they can practice the skill on a co-worker. Here’s a five-step process you can use to appeal to different learning styles.

Remember, there are also generational differences to be considered. Older workers have prior work experiences you can draw on. Younger workers might be more comfortable using technology to get information. Be careful not to generalize. Employee skills can span generations.

Don’t Make It A One-And-Done

Just because you cooked up a training session doesn’t mean you can take it off the burner. Let it simmer for a while after you’ve served it up. It’s hard for employees to digest everything in one sitting, so provide opportunities to savor the key points. Here are some ideas:

  • Written reference – Give employees something to refer back to if they have a question. For example, provide a written summary of the key points.
  • Visual reminders – Utilize posters in employee-only areas to reinforce concepts, like wearing a face mask or washing hands. Here’s a free poster from ISRI.
  • Question of the day – Make it fun by posting a daily question on a topic you’ve covered. All correct answers could be entered into a drawing for a daily prize.

Your staff is likely one of your most valuable resources. That’s why it pays to develop their talent. Maximize that investment with these tips to make your training efforts count.

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