4 Steps to Creating a Training Manual for New Hires
The life of a small business owner is busy, to say the least. From creating the perfect product or service to producing a stellar retail space and a top-notch marketing plan, there are tons of tasks to think about. It can be hard enough to wrap your own mind around all that’s going on, let alone the folks you’re bringing into your business as new hires.
I’m going to be honest and say that training new hires is not the most exciting part of running a business. While hiring new folks is an incredible sign that your business is growing, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to not only find the right person, but also train them.
No matter how much experience a new hire might have in your industry, they will still need to know everything that makes your business unique. Remember, each new hire is another person who is going to represent your business. It’s critical that these folks are trained in a way that makes sense and conveys your company’s values. A great way to do that is by creating an effective training manual.
Sure, you probably already have a training system in place, but just how effective is it? Are your new hires still unsure about certain processes? Are you still getting frustrated with the workflow among new employees? Do your veteran employees understand how new hires are being trained? Are they part of the problem or the solution?
Don’t fret! When it comes to new hires, there are plenty of moving parts, and I would like to help you streamline all of the loose ends. In fact, below, I’ve broken it down into four easy phases for you:
Above all else, the first thing you should consider is what your ultimate training goal for new hires will be. Will this person run payroll? What aspect of the business will this person oversee? What are some obstacles this person might encounter on a regular basis? Who will this person be working with on a day-to-day basis? All of these questions should be asked and answered before jumping into the training program development stage.
The next part of this initial phase is to consider how long you anticipate the training process to take. Do you think a new hire can be trained in two or three weeks? Two months? A timeline is essential during the training process because you can get a better idea of when this particular new hire will be up for certain tasks.
Remember, you can’t expect a new hire to know everything in a short amount of time; you have to allow time for new hires to learn the nuances of how your business works.
At this point, you know what you want the new hire to learn and how long it should take to teach them. Now you can truly begin to dissect the content that should be a part of your training manual.
The key here is to stay consistent. Lay out the manual in a way that makes sense—in the order that you want your new hire to learn things in. The last thing you want to do is confuse your new hire and have them jumping around the manual from week to week. Again, think about the overall objectives and potential obstacles of this new hire’s job. What must they learn first? Second? Third?
Start with the basics. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that get overlooked when bringing in a new hire; for example, where should they park? Where and how do they clock in? What are the core values of your business? Who should this new hire be reporting to and how often? Getting all of the little things out of the way first will make it that much easier for your new employee to assimilate and find their unique place in your business.
Get a list and check it twice! I think checklists are a great way to keep organized and get your priorities straight. Whether you use a digital platform to keep organized or good old-fashioned pen and paper, you can’t go wrong with this method.
Now that you’ve broken down everything your new hire must learn and the order in which they will learn it, transfer this information into daily, weekly and monthly checklists. This way, it’s clear to both you and the new employee what the learning expectations are given a certain timeline. For example, by the end of week one, the new hire should know how to do XYZ on their own.
If you anticipate training to last more than one month, you should still have weekly breakdowns for each month. Then, you can create daily objectives for each week. This is an easy way to make sure everyone is on the same page, plus it gives your new hire some insight as to what will be expected of them in the days and weeks to come.
Create a level of accountability by putting someone in charge of signing off on the new hire’s training progress. Whether it’s you or another senior employee, there should be an open dialogue about how training is going. Plus, this gives your new hire a designated go-to person for any questions or concerns they might have.
By this point, you should have an idea of what you’re going to teach the new hire, how long it will take to complete training and who will keep track of training progress. You’ve also created checklists for everyone to follow along the way. Once all of this is done, you’ll be ready to create and attach the supporting documents to your training manuals.
You might be wondering what that means. Well, how does your team communicate with one another on a daily basis? Do you use an electronic program, paper files or a combination of both? What systems or programs will this new hire need access to? How long will it take, and how much will it cost to set all of this up? These are questions you need to consider as you put together your new hire training manual.
Once you know what the new hire will need, you should create any supporting documents that correspond with the appropriate training day, week or month. You will find that having everything in one place, organized all the way down to what should be learned day-to-day, will be a true lifesaver.
Remember, the key to creating the perfect training manual for new hires is as simple as creating learning goals for your new hire, placing them on a realistic learning timeline and assigning a person to ensure these objectives are being met. Break everything down into daily learning objectives, and it’ll be smooth sailing from there.
Need help creating the perfect training manual/operational manual for your business?
Visit lizillg.com to learn what we can do for you.
Liz Illg is the owner of Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting, which has four locations in the Phoenix area. She received her bachelor’s in business from Arizona State University and her master’s in education from Northern Arizona University. Her education and passion for animals turned her college pet-sitting days into full-time business ownership. Illg has hosted events and raffles to benefit local pet rescues by partnering with other pet businesses in the community. She has also been featured on several local media outlets to share her love and knowledge about caring for pets.