Going from a low-key startup to something more is a wonderful feeling. As a business, you’re reaching farther and increasing revenues. And as the business evolves, you must plan for everything that goes along with an expansion. Aside from just setting higher sales goals, you might be expanding to a bigger building or maybe cropping up more offices around the region, if not the nation. Increased demand brings new hires, more products, more deadlines and the potential for more headaches if one or more hit a snag somewhere along the way.
To quote The Social Network: “Let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everybody else, we don’t crash…ever!”
Not that every startup is going to transform into Facebook overnight. That level of progression, the timing and it still being a relatively fresh concept to everyone, played a small part to it’s instant success. It led to the IPO, to angel investors sprouting up to fund their growth. The point of the quote isn’t to be envious, it’s to say that small businesses should be as uniformed as possible on every front.
One area where uniformity is absolutely crucial is when you bring on more employees. Massive amounts of new hires are inevitable for a growing business. You’re most likely staffing supervisors, an HR department, administrative personnel, and others, and you need to ensure you’ve got the right staff in place to compliment your business’ rapid ascension. Having the right staff is a combination of both competent hiring and a dash of on-going training initiatives. The latter characteristic should be a no-brainer, yet companies sometimes get too caught up worrying about the day-to-day, that employee accountability and training them to improve can get lost in the shuffle.
That said, let’s look at a few ways your growing business can improve upon employee training.
#1 Don’t Gloss Over The Formalities
New hires usually spend their first day or so getting pulled every which way by HR departments, their supervisors and just getting a general lay of the land. In that time, they must sit down and fill out standard documents covering everything from insurance to payroll. And if it’s not achieved in the first day or so, that new hire must sit or read through a host of workplace compliance forms or videos. Unfortunately, not every business will follow through with some or all of the last part. Whether it’s an accidental “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with trying to get each and every new hire through the company training turnstile, or some other reason, it happens.
Don’t let that communication breakdown happen in the first place. Ensure there’s a system in place where you or the supervisors responsible for that new hire are alerted when that person completes the program so that there is proper documentation. And it’s not just for legal matters, you want your staff to be properly educated and prepared above all else.
#2 Progressive Training Segments
With great technology, comes great competency. New technology and software seems to sprout up every day for businesses. One day it’s a new sales application. The next, it’s faster, more streamlined mechanisms with a forklift, which inevitably will require safety training to go with learning about how the system itself works. Basically, it’s to the point where you’re having to train employees to micromanage their project management software programs. That’s why you need progressive training programs in place to avoid as many speed bumps as possible.
Whether you decide to bring on consultants for brief overviews on a new procedure, application or regulation or instead translate every new initiative into e-learning videos that employees can access from a cloud-based platform, the key’s to scale your training. Prepare elearning segments for employees that are highly adaptable for when that program undergoes updates or major transformations. New training mandates around the workplace are always a possibility. Learn as much as possible about upcoming changes, translate that towards a training segment or discussion and get your employees up to speed as quickly as possible.
#3 Liven Up The Process
Attention spans are already shortening as I write this. Social media, hundreds of popular blogs and technology itself are partly to blame for a lack of focus not just at work, but also at home. And some of the old, long-winded training methods and videos that are still being utilized today aren’t doing you or your employees any favors. From your end, having employees slog through 2 or 3 hour videos on workplace compliance is highly unproductive. On their end, staying alert and focused through a lengthy training session is becoming harder and harder.
That’s why you need training segments they can actually align with. Let’s say your sales team’s ready to watch that lengthy video on “How to Close a Sale Quicker”. Wouldn’t they be better off watching it in segments, rather than in one screening? Better yet, maybe they can access all the parts from their smartphone or tablet while they’re on the road or up in the sky? Shorter, more well-thought out training scenarios like this gives your staff time to learn and churn at work and also feeds into the previous notion of staying progressive. In short, make training fun. Make it educational without the cumbersome, “tweed jacket” appeal that older videos seemed to embody.
Going from a fresh, young upstart company to a burgeoning business takes devotion, a clear mind, a bit of luck, and persistence to modify success, not drastically change it for change’s sake. It takes an equally strong-willed staff to help execute your desires to flourish. It’s about cultivating new hires into future leaders of their respective roles. Mainly, it’s training your team to strive for greatness together, and along the way, help establish even more unified foundations of the business down the road.
When Kyle O’Brien isn’t writing on business developments, or more intimate topics such as employee motivational tools, he’s the community manager for an eLearning company, ej4, which helps businesses and their employees improve their knowledge of the workplace through a range of training videos, from compliance to more custom-fit videos. Learn more about their business here.
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Category: Startup Advice