There’s no question that a solid training program can increase productivity, reduce turnover, improve customer service and enhance sales efforts. Nor can one deny that an effective training program can boost employees’ personal confidence and job satisfaction because they feel valued, appreciated and more committed to their employer.
But like all business activities, finding the time and resources to implement such programs can be difficult, especially in economic downturns. In fact, during tough business cycles, it’s easy to start cutting training programs altogether.
“The best advice we can offer right now is to do everything possible to not reduce training,” said Arlene Keis, CEO at go2HR. “We recognize that it is a tempting way to cut costs, but keeping employees loyal, motivated and aligned to your brand and service expectations is more important than ever.”
SOME HELPFUL TIPS TO GET STARTED:
Once you’re on board with the idea of training, the types of programs you can offer are as diverse as your employees. But how to approach it? Start with the basics to help make the process easy and to the point. Here are four tried and true points:
Plan, Set Objectives & Get Buy-In
Create a clear and concise plan outlining specific objectives and activities for your training program. Think of possible scenarios that your frontline staff may experience with your customers and list desired outcomes for each. Then convey them to staff so they know what is expected of them and how their performance affects your overall business.
Create Easy-To-Understand Materials
Consider all the content required to support your plan and develop materials that staff can understand and deliver on. A simple one-page pamphlet may be sufficient, but sometimes it is also helpful to make an employee handbook that offers staff a one-stop-shop to review all training information. Insert diagrams and pictures, or create role-playing games to help reinforce and problem-solve key customer service situations.
Make Things Fun & Interactive
Training may be imperative, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Offer interludes of ice-breakers and other interactive activities, such as group introductions, pop quizzes with prizes, and name recognition games that allow new and existing employees to get to know one another.
Hone and perfect. In order to ensure your training is effective and meeting your expectations, implement a feedback mechanism such as a survey to confirm it’s working.
Time may be tight, and the times may be changing, but training has always been, and will always be a must. No matter how you choose to train, the end result should be motivated and able employees committed to your business and service expectations, which in turn help your bottom line.