Many people think that once they make a hire, the hard work is done. In fact, you’re only halfway there. Now it’s time to make it stick with proper training and effective communicating for the sake of your company — and your sanity.
So many companies skip this essential step by offering sub-par training that is not structured or too rushed. Another common mistake is that once employees understand their duties, we managers think there is no need to keep talking about it.
In fact, you must be constantly training and communicating to get the best out of your people. Here are a few tips.
- Write It Down: In any type of training, force employees to take notes so they remember things. Go so far as to buy them the notebook. Everything needs to be spoon fed. You have two choices as a business owner: train for three to 30 minutes or spend three to 30 hours mopping up unnecessary mistakes.
- Act It Out: A role-play culture is critical. It’s easy to tell people what to do; they will nod their head and say, “Got it.” Then we see them in action and it’s nothing like we talked about. Get in the habit of having them role play back to you. Most everyone will HATE it, but that’s okay, because in the long run they will learn from it. Remember, people need constant training on asking questions, listening, closing and being confident. Where they invariably need coaching the most is for those unexpected moments, when they have to pivot the conversation or solve a customer service problem.
- Cut the Cord: Even after going through all those steps to hire smart and properly train, sometimes it’s like a miracle when the person you interviewed actually shows up that first day — and the next 90. And that leads to the next reality: Letting people go is a huge act of compassion.
Think about it. Most people don’t have the courage to quit, and we as business owners often don’t have the courage to fire. But you want that person who is going home unhappy to find something they love to do, and you owe it to your people to do what is right. Set them free and you will continue to see the bar rise in your company.
- Walk the Talk: Never underestimate the power of open communication with your team. You must find the time to do this. Management by walking and talking is critical and most people think if they are not overly busy, it’s not good. You must make the time to communicate and be present so you can give your employees honest, sincere and rapid feedback. Don’t wait; the longer you wait, the quicker there can be an issue taking shape.
- Be Transparent: It is the small activities we do every day consistently that compound to something very big. And transparency is crucial. I see so many times when I go into companies that one of the biggest distractions is, “what’s the boss thinking?” That can come from too many closed-door meetings, or meetings where there is not enough clarity from you, or even your lousy mood one day. Our employees don’t want (or need) to know everything, but they need to know enough so that they don’t get distracted. The last thing you want is everyone wasting time and energy — and hurting morale — with a bunch of water cooler talk.
- Find Their Driver: If there is one magic bullet in managing people it is this: find each one’s driver. We can’t manage everyone the same, and managing each person can almost be like managing a different company. If you can speak to what drives them, what gets them up in the morning, it’s a game changer.
It takes time to understand what each person’s driver is and many times they don’t know themselves, but through talking with them — and really listening — you begin to figure it out. No one is driven by money. They may say they are, but they are not. What they really are driven by is the freedom money can buy.
- Keep Score: Keep a “scorecard” on your employees. Jot down their blind spot, if they are a self-starter or leader, adaptable to change, likeable, a team player, have influence with co-workers, and so on. What is their attitude, their capacity to take risks, their most unique ability and their biggest weakness? Where do you see their future with your franchise? The more you know about each employee, the better he or she is on board with your organization.
It’s so important for employees to know what their top three leading activities are, how they are being measured, one gap they have and how they can improve it, and a metric they need to work on. The more guidance you give them and the more they can track themselves, the more fulfilled they are.
There is nothing harder, more time consuming and a constant puzzle than managing people. But, we can control what we can control and that is training and understanding our employees better. We must always be in a position to respond and not react to those clawing at us every day. We must lead with courage and not be afraid to make the tough decisions.