5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Company Training Today
by Mike J. Agugliaro
Training. You know you need to do more of it.
- Training is a way to make your team members better, of course. That’s the obvious reason. Your team members gain proficiency, they gain confidence, they can work faster and more accurately, they reduce errors.
- Training is also a recruiting tool. Prospective employees who aren’t getting training elsewhere (and who want it) will be attracted to your company if you do more training. (And why wouldn’t you want to have employees working for you who crave more training?)
- Training is also a marketing tool. Prospective customers will be attracted to companies whose employees are highly trained. Do you often tell your customers how much training your employees receive each month? Make sure you do!
- Training is a retention tool, too. Sure, the haters will say that employees who get trained will go somewhere else for more money, and that could happen, but if you are the company who trains more often, then the employees who want more training will stay.
If training is so amazing, how much are you doing?
… And, how much more should you be doing?
Sometimes business owners skip training, or delay it, or half-ass it, because everyone is busy and just trying to keep up with the demands (especially during peak times like the summer). But if you use these 5 tips, you can incorporate more training into your workday.
Tip #1. Incorporate daily 55-minute sales training by video. Just about everyone in your company is a salesperson. Of course your Comfort Advisors and CSRs are sales people but so are your techs… and your receptionist… and even your accounting department and the guy sweeping in the warehouse (because they all will talk about your company at some point, whether to customers, vendors, or their family). So give a quick sales tip every single day by video and get your team to watch it before they start their day. It doesn’t need to take long but it builds upon itself, and you will end up with a powerful library of sales training videos that you can use elsewhere.
Tip #2. Get each team member to sit with someone else once a week. You are probably already familiar with cross-training employees on trade-lines. You already know the value of your HVAC guys also becoming Plumbers, for example. It allows you to send them out on any job. But the same goes for your office team too. Make sure everyone spends time with other team members. Put your accounting people with your receptionist. Put your permit people with your warehouse team. Just connect them for 30 minutes each week. Here are 2 reasons to do this and it has nothing to do with making sure your accountant can do the receptionist’s job!
- It builds culture because everyone is spending a few minutes with other team members and learning what they do.
- It actually makes your company operate more efficiently because a few minutes in which your receptionist and accounts receivable person are working together will create realizations like, “Oh! That’s why you need all incoming checks time-stamped!” or “Oh! I can do one small change in my job to make your job vastly easier.” These are invaluable connections that occur when you expose each company role to other people in your company.
Tip #3. Have An In-House Lunch And learn. You might think of “Lunch And Learns” as something that you do for customers or vendors (and you should. They are really valuable). But you can have an in-house Lunch And Learn for your team. For example, every Friday have a department-wide Lunch And Learn where each department gets training by someone—whether it’s from you, a manager, a vendor, a local expert, or even a great video. These Lunch And Learns are simple to start.
Tip #4. Get Each Team Member To Record A Weekly Video (Or Screencast). Every week, have each team member record a weekly video or screencast of something they do. It could be a simple step of one aspect of their job. Each and every week they should record just one. Your techs might do videos during an onsite repair, while your office team might do screencasts of the software they use. Collect these together into large video repository so that everyone can access them.
- You can bring in new people and they’ll be able to see right away how to do their job (and can refer to the training again and again as they get up to speed).
- There is value in teaching the information (it reinforces what you already know) so this is a type of training even for the person doing the recording).
Tip #5. It’s not just about training a new thing; you can improve proficiency. Often when we think of training, we think of teaching something new. But that’s not always the only thing that you can be trained on. The military’s Special Forces don’t just learn to shoot a gun once and then never practice. They practice because they want to get faster and more accurate. In the same way, your team can practice something they already know over and over because practice improves confidence and accuracy and speed. From equipment installs to spreadsheet manipulation, there are many daily activities that your employees can practice to become better.
One bonus tip: don’t just start doing these things… make sure your team is aware that you are intentionally doing these things. Remind them that training is happening. Give them certificates to indicate that they’ve completed training. Help them to see the value of training as an opportunity to grow with your company.
Many service businesses are training their team… but most service businesses aren’t doing it enough. Use these tips to help you train more, and to train more effectively, and you’ll create a stronger team of experts who will work faster and more accurately (and more profitably) to help your business grow.