How to train employees as you grow your business
By ATB Financial 7 January 2021 4 min read
Equipping your team with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively perform their work is a must, today more than ever before. The millennial generation makes up the majority of the Canadian workforce and their expectations for training are higher than those of their older counterparts, with career progression opportunities cited as one of the most important factors in keeping millennials engaged.
And that’s not all; 51% of employees will leave their jobs if they don’t receive the formal training that has become an expectation. So it’s clear that you will need to train your team adequately to attract and retain talented people—but how?
4 steps to training your team
1. Make a plan
Just like when you go on vacation, hire a new employee or embark on just about any new venture, training employees requires a well thought out plan. Without a plan, you might waste time talking about trivial facts and forget to cover all the important content like your mission, vision, values and work processes.
Don’t sweat. Planning should be easy, because you know everything about your business and the role you’re filling. Remember when your plate became so full of tasks that you started writing down everything you needed to delegate to someone else? And then that list became a job description? Use the tasks on that list as a starting point and then prioritize them based on their difficulty level. You will want to start training with the easiest tasks and then build upon them to avoid overwhelming new team members.
Once you know the training topics, try your best to make the training enjoyable. Your people will retain more information if they are engaged throughout the training process—and they will be more engaged if the training is presented in an interesting way.
A few quick tips for creating an effective training program include:
- Conducting a quick Google search for best practices within your industry. You could even adopt another industry’s best practices if they are transferable to your own.
- Asking for employee feedback. You’ve hired the best, so don’t hesitate to utilize their ideas and skills!
- Making sure the training strategies align with the culture (or aspirational culture) and values of your business.
2. Get your team members to train new employees
When it comes to training, those who can’t do definitely can’t teach.
Encouraging your team members to train new hires is a great way to empower and reinforce your trust in them. Also, introducing your new hires to other team members is an easy way to start welcoming them into the team.
There’s nothing less motivating than going to work everyday to a place where you feel isolated and unable to ask for help. As a busy entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time at work. You should make it an enjoyable place to be.
3. Train for diversity and inclusion
In addition to making your workplace an enjoyable place to work, you have to make your workplace an enjoyable place to be yourself—for everyone. When you create a workplace in which everyone feels confident being themselves, that’s when you’ll see your people start to thrive and produce their best work.
While formal diversity and inclusion training makes perfect sense for medium and large organizations, it isn’t always realistic for small businesses, which are constrained by resources. Fortunately, there are some simple and affordable steps you can take to ensure you’re creating an inclusive workplace for your team in the meantime.
To learn more about how you can effectively include everyone on your team, check out page 33 of the ATB Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing and Scaling Your Business for Human Resources.
4. Build in regular reviews
Training doesn’t end after you’ve provided your team with all the training materials. Learning is a continuous process that is best executed alongside regular reviews and feedback.
Reviews: You will want to check in with your new hires to ask them how their transition into your workplace is going. Don’t just ask them in passing, as they will probably assure you that “everything is fine!” Instead, you should book time in your calendar to meet formally and inquire about any confusion or frustration your new hires are experiencing. Then you can work together to create a solution, which might be as simple as providing additional training.
Feedback: Make sure feedback isn’t a one-way street. While you will be evaluating your employees’ work, you should also be asking them how you could improve the training process. Everyone learns differently, and it will benefit both you and your employees if you implement training processes that best serve their needs. Establish a regular cadence for formal reviews with your team members so they can receive constructive feedback from you (talk through what’s going well and where they can improve) and also provide them with an opportunity to share how you can make their work experience better.
Training your team is only one of many HR considerations you will need to plan for when expanding your business. Don’t hesitate to consult the ATB Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing and Scaling Your Business for Human Resources to learn more about implementing HR best practices in your growth-ready business.