I want to talk today about training issues. See I’ve been on ALL ends of this block. I’ve been the peon, low man on the totem pole, bottom feeder, what have you. I’ve also been the employee-boss as well as the owner-boss and the owner-working as independent contractor for clients. So I’ve had the opportunity to see this “training issue” from many different perspectives.
What I actually hear when I hear things like:
- I’m having training issues.
- My intern screwed up.
- My new employee just isn’t getting it.
- My assistant isn’t the brightest star in the sky.
- You know I just hired someone new and …
- And so many more …
… and I’ve heard much worse. The thing that I actually hear when I hear these phrases or excuses being spewed out is that you or team did not properly do your job in training them. The common denominator in most of these scenarios is in fact training issues, but NOT usually because the employee, intern, etc. wasn’t doing their job because of lack of skills or smarts but it was because of lack of knowledge about that particular task.
If your employee, assistant, intern, etc. – the people you’ve hired/contracted with to become part of your team isn’t getting something right look in the mirror and ask yourself what can I do different as the employer, boss or client of said person to make sure they get it. What did I not impart to them when training that they needed to know? A person does not know what they do not know and if you don’t share that information with them they will most likely NOT know it until something happens where they make the mistake and it brings it to the attention of everyone involved that they do not know it. But then the mistake has happened and hopefully it’s not a big one.
So how do you avoid these training issues?
Establish tried and true policies and procedures. Get them defined and outlined in a manual and keep it up to date. Give them the manual. Do not expect them to just know everything overnight and be willing to answer their questions promptly if they are working on a task. Walk them through the task or have a trusted person who already knows the task walk them through it if need be. This is not always needed and many people are well suited to learning on their own, which is one reason I highly recommend the policies and procedures manual.
Expect there to be questions, expect there to be circumstances that are not the norm and therefore may not be addressed in your policies and procedures manual and / training. When this occurs be available to answer their questions. Don’t just spout out at them read the manual, or you were already trained on this. Take the time to listen and actually hear what they are saying. What I have learned if you will take a few minutes here and there to assist the newb they will come to respect you, want to work harder for you because you show respect toward them, and quite possibly become one of the most valuable assets to your team.
The bottom line is that everything really boils down to respecting others, communication (listening and hearing their concerns and responding in a reasonable time frame), and self-reflection.
Are you the problem in your “training issues”?
I’d love to hear from others from all sides of coin. Please share your stories and / thoughts below.