Category Archives: Staff training

How people learn

How people learn

Creating Conscious Incompetence to help people learn

On last week’s Fresh Start programme one of the topics we discussed was how people learn, re-establishing our expectations and how we identify if someone is already up to standard. Something I’m sure a lot of managers will be doing as their teams return from furlough.

As anyone knows who has had to deal with someone who thinks they know it all already, it can be particularly difficult to get their attention and buy-in.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with how people learn and the Conscious Competence Learning Model.

These are the four stages people go through when they are learning something new.

The learner always begins at stage 1 – ‘unconscious incompetence’, and ends at stage 4 – ‘unconscious competence’, having passed through stage 2 – ‘conscious incompetence’ and – 3 ‘conscious competence’.

It’s not possible to jump stages, so when you’re teaching someone new we need to help them to get to the next stage.

The challenge comes when we dive straight in, but if someone is still at the unconscious incompetence stage – and not yet aware of any need to develop a new skill or behaviour.

Trying to teach somebody something new from this point is the fundamental reason why so much training and coaching fails.

I see this time and again when I’m working with clients. There is an assumption that team members are already at stage 2. In other words it’s assumed that they already recognise any shortfalls or gaps in their knowledge or skills, and the need for change or development.

For someone to learn something new or change their behaviour they need to be motivated to do so, particularly when it requires some effort on their part. Without that recognition they will not be receptive to learning and the barriers will go up thinking “this doesn’t apply to me”.

In some instances people may previously have been at other levels but have regressed to an unconscious incompetence over a period of time.

From conscious incompetence they may simply have forgotten what is involved; from conscious competence they may just have got rusty through lack of practice.

Or from a position of unconscious competence they’ve been doing it so long they’ve picked up bad habits. Or the short cuts they’ve taken on the odd occasion in the past have now become custom and practice.

Or as may be the case right now, you’ve introduced new standards which need to be met.

This can present a challenge for us at times, as to undo a bad habit and replace it with a new habit can be more difficult than creating new habits from scratch.

But a little time invested now, ensuring people are conscious of their ‘incompetence’ and the need to change can save a lot of time and frustration later.

Take action

If you only do one thing: Nip bad habits in the bud to avoid people regressing from unconsciously competent back to unconscious incompetence

Related blog post: Old habits die hard

Related video: Creating Conscious incompetence


Creating Habits

creating habits

Creating habits takes time… and sometimes a little patience!

Last week I wrote about setting expectations of your team as they start to return to work. Some of this will inevitably mean people taking on different responsibilities or new ways of working.

Once you’ve set your expectations you’ll want to ensure it’s not just a one off, but to create new and lasting habits. 

If you want your child to clean their teeth twice a day you wouldn’t ask them to do it once then forget about it on the assumption they’d continue to do so every day!

You’d follow up, check on progress and keep doing so until you were confident it had become a habit.

Maybe your team don’t need quite as much cajoling as a child does to clean their teeth.

But…

How do you create new and lasting habits?

Here are some things to consider in creating habits and new ways of working within your team:

1. Practice makes perfect

Build confidence gradually; you can’t expect someone to be introduced to something on Friday afternoon and perform it perfectly for the first time on Monday morning, when you’re not even there to offer support. Introduce new areas of responsibility gradually so people have an opportunity to refine and perfect as they go as well as building confidence (theirs and yours) in their ability.

2. Nip it in the bud

Practice does make perfect, but only if done correctly. If people begin by doing the task incorrectly you will be creating habits – but not the ones you want! Don’t give an opportunity for people to establish poor habits, by picking up on these early on.

If the task is something new, it may take a while for people to get the hang of it and if they find a way that feels more natural for them and still gets the same result then that’s fine. But, if there is a best way, and they are struggling with adapting their approach step in and give them guidance before they embed any bad habits.

If it’s an existing task but a new approach, when people have been used to one way of working and now you want it done differently it can feel uncomfortable. When things don’t work perfectly first time, human nature leads us to take the path of least resistance i.e. it’s all too easy to go back the old comfortable way of doing things.

3. Prepare for the unexpected

As well as giving the obvious how to training, equip people to anticipate and deal with the unexpected. There will always be things that don’t go according to plan. The last thing you want the first time it doesn’t go according to the text book is for them to panic!

So let them know what can go wrong and how to handle such situations so that they’ll be confident to deal with them smoothly.

4. Ownership

The sooner you can give individual team members ownership over particular tasks the quicker they’ll develop a sense of pride and ownership. Trust your team to make decisions to do what’s best in a given situation; if they truly understand the objectives of the task it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to work out the best way to achieve it.

5. Breaking old habits

If people have been in the habit of coming to you for answers and now you want them to stand on their own two feet. If they’ve been used to you (or your predecessor) making decisions and maintaining control it may seem uncomfortable to have things passed to them.  Back off gradually, rather than just throwing them in at the deep end. This gives both you and them peace of mind.

You’ll still get asked for guidance and for decisions so when this happens, rather than giving in, bounce it back to them and ask for their views. It may feel uncomfortable to begin with, but you’ll both soon get used to it.

6. Systems

Establish systems and your way of doing things, so there’s consistency irrespective of who carries out that task. This doesn’t mean you don’t allow some creativity and flexibility amongst the team, but just having simple checklists can make the world of difference so nothing gets missed or forgotten that can impact others’ experience.

If you only do one thing in creating habits

Be patient. If you don’t allow time to embed the new habit it will be all too easy to go back to their old way of doing things and you’re back to square one!

Related posts and videos

Old habits die hard

Creating conscious incompetence


 


Conscious competence and how to move beyond it

conscious competence

Developing unconscious competence

When we learn we start at unconscious incompetence, working through conscious incompetence and conscious competence towards unconscious competence.

Last week I was reviewing progress as a result of some training I’ve been conducting with some managers – helping them get the best from their team, who are all customer facing. I love working with junior managers who lack the experience of managing people, as it is so rewarding when they start to see the results.

In this instance these results just weren’t coming fast enough for their manager! He was expected instant changes. I reminded him Rome wasn’t built in a day!

There were two things we needed to take into consideration to reach the level of unconscious competence:

Having the resources

In this instance the training flushed out a number of resources that were needed for them to do everything they wanted to implement, some of which required time and others needed sign off.

Although you might believe people have everything they need, their perception may be different. And if they believe they don’t have the time, tools or authority to put their new skills or knowledge into practice it becomes a barrier. And the longer it takes to remove that barrier (be it real or imagined) the less likely your training will be put into practice.

So ask them to identify anything that might stand in their way, and resolve any obstacles promptly, otherwise it implies it’s not important.

Moving from ‘conscious incompetence’ to ‘conscious competence’

During training you normally established the standards or process, set expectations, and hopefully people have had a chance to practise their skills in a safe environment.

But, often the only way to really hone these skills and develop true competence is once applied on the job. It simply can’t always happen in the confines of the training room.

When we learn anything new we always begin at stage 1 (‘unconscious incompetence’) on the conscious competence learning model, and end at stage 4 – ‘unconscious competence’, having passed through stage 2 – ‘conscious incompetence’ and – 3 ‘conscious competence’.

At the point people finish a piece of training they are somewhere between consciously incompetent and conscious competence. Unconscious competence will only come later.

At conscious competence they still have to stop and think about how they do something; it doesn’t flow naturally. It takes longer and they’re still learning a little from trial and error. Confidence can be low as they get to grips with it all.

Think of it as you were when you first passed your driving test; you probably took things steady, you had to concentrate really hard, not being distracted by tuning the radio, or chatting to your passengers. And you wouldn’t have rushed out to drive in snow and ice or at full speed on a busy motorway.

So, when your team go through any training, allow time for people to practise, to get feedback on how they are doing, and where it’s OK to ask for help or make a mistake so long as they learn from it. This will help them move from conscious incompetence conscious competence if they’re not get there, and then onto unconscious competence.

It might still be on the job, but don’t expect them to be able to put everything into practice brilliantly straight away. If you do you run the risk of losing their confidence

And when something doesn’t work right first time around it’s all too easy for them to go back to their comfortable old familiar ways, and go back down the competency ladder.

 

Take action

If you only do two things to help people achieve unconscious competence:

  1. Ask people if they are missing any resources they need to implement their training.
  2. Allow time and opportunity for people to build up new skills and habits gradually, giving them plenty of time for practice.

Watch my video on creating Conscious Competence – the critical first step to get people receptive to training

If you’re looking for more ideas to help embed customer service training and get your team from conscious competence to unconscious competence here are 38 activities for you to use https://www.naturallyloyal.com/resources/28activities/



Staff training and development

staff trainingA different way to approach your staff training and development

As we approach January, this is often a time to catch up on staff training.

Most managers think of staff training and team development to achieve one of two things:

  • to fix someone’s weaknesses
  • as a way of grooming somebody for promotion

But there’s an alternative way to approach your staff training and development…

Seeing strengths versus fixing faults

It’s all too easy to end up with everybody becoming a “Jack of all trades and master of none”. Whilst it’s good to cross train your team so you make cover easy, you don’t want to end up everyone mediocre in everything, but expert in nothing.

Imagine what would happen if you were to focus on people’s strengths instead – in the same way you might expect an athlete or members of a football team to hone their skills in areas where they already perform well. You could help them go from a strong performance to real excellence in their areas of greatest ability.  How much more motivated would team members be if they could focus on what they’re best at?

Everyone has skills, it’s just that different jobs require different skills. It takes a certain type of skill to organise an hectic event, to calm down an irate customer, to clean a room in a room in 25 minutes.

Often these are skills they don’t necessarily recognise themselves, as they take these things for granted.  When you recognise these strengths it can boost confidence, and often the tasks they’re good at are those they enjoy more, so it helps to keep them engaged.

Of course, in reality we can’t always let people just do what they’re best at, but we can at least make sure that they’re not always under pressure to improve what they’re worst at! But by focusing on individuals’ strengths you can balance your team so they complement potential shortcomings in others so you can bridge any gaps you have elsewhere.

Stagnate versus stretch

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean you let them stagnate.

We often think of development as grooming people for promotion. This might be one outcome or intention, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of development. Even those who you believe have reached the limits of their capability or have no desire for more responsibility shouldn’t be left to stagnate.

After all, a bored employee is unlikely to shine and even less likely to wow you or your customers!

Look for opportunities to set new challenges within people’s current responsibilities. How can you add variety or stretch them further in areas where they’re already strong?

For example:

– asking them to find ways to make efficiencies or refine a process

– giving them responsibility for training others

– allocating ownership of specific procedures

By giving individuals ownership of particular tasks you create a sense of pride and responsibility.

You’ll be amazed what people can achieve when their strengths are recognised, and they’re given the authority to apply them.

This can also take the pressure off you as that person then becomes the go to person.

Sadly, it’s often only when people leave that we miss what they bring to the team. (….could that lack of recognition be the very reason they leave?)

Here’s an exercise you can carry out with your team to recognise their strengths to take into account before staff training.

Take Action

If you only do one thing: take a step back and identify one strength – however small – for each one of your team members, and let them know you value this.



How to get consistency

consistencyOne of the workshops I was delivering last week was for a group of new supervisors. I love delivering this type of training, particularly when the participants are so eager to learn.

One of the things we discussed was the importance of consistency. It’s so easy in an environment where people work different shifts to end up with dual standards. Not intentionally, but when team members may report to different managers or supervisors on different shifts or on different days it can get confusing.

And if manager A says one thing, and manager B says another it’s easy for the team member to make up their own ‘rules’. Even when the standards are laid down, different managers may have different interpretations of the standards, or have different priorities.

This lack of clarity can lead to uncertainty.

In my experience everyone likes to know what’s expected of them.

So here are 10 considerations to help you to help your team be clear about what you expect of them.

  1. Agree what good looks like in behavioural terms and document this, so there is always a point of reference in case of any uncertainty.
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  2. Lead by example; each manager may have their own style, but their interpretations of the standards and their own behaviour should still demonstrate a consistent standard.
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  3. Ensure the same standards apply to everyone. It shouldn’t matter what shift they are on or who is the team leader/supervisor/manager on that shift.
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  4. You can still be flexible by focusing on the end result, rather than dictating how to do a task. This allows people to adopt their own style.
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  5. Once you’ve set your expectations make it possible for your team to reach these by providing the appropriate tools, resources and training to do the job effectively.
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  6. Communication across the management/supervisory team is key. If any of the  supervisory team doesn’t have the same knowledge as everyone else it’s bound to have a knock-on impact on their team.
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  7. Conduct proper handovers at the change of each shift. Make this as simple, clear and easy as possible, otherwise they won’t happen. If you need 2 versions of this one for face to face and one where shifts don’t overlap, have 2 versions.
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  8. Provide a quick and easy forum (such as WhatsApp or Messenger) for managers and supervisors to keep abreast of day to day ideas, questions or issues and anything that’s impacting the team.
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  9. Create an environment where it is easy to share best practice, recognise good performance and nip problems in the bud. Face to face will normally be more productive.
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  10. Whenever you promote someone internally into a supervisory role, ask them for their thoughts and ideas on setting expectations or gaining consistency; they will know from first-hand experience where there are any uncertainties or inconsistencies, and where improvements can be made.

Time for action

If you only do one thing – Bring all your supervisors and managers together and re-establish what good looks like.

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/set-expectations/



Delivering Customer Service Skills in House

customer service skills

I sometimes hear managers and even business owners commenting: “What’s the point in training people if they then leave?

They might also ask the question the other way round, and ask “What if I don’t train them and they stay”!

A lack of investment in your team might even be the very reason they leave.

When it comes to core skills such as customer service skills, having the resources to deliver your training in-house means that you get a far greater return on investment.

What this means to you is…

Far greater flexibility to:

  • Tailor the content to reflect your own challenges
  • Deliver the content in short sharp sessions to maintain participants’ interest, and suit your own schedules
  • Personalise or brand the content and materials to match your internal image and service culture
  • Develop the material to use as and when you need a top up
  • Keep all your new starters up to the same standard as everyone else to maintain your customer service skills standards

You can involve your management team in the training which means:

  • They have a vested interest in seeing it implemented
  • It’s fantastic development of their day to day leadership skills
  • It raises their profile and respect from their team
  • You get consistent messages
  • It’s easier to relate the training to people’s individual roles

And importantly it means your training budget goes so much further!

Developing Service Superstars gives you just that. It’s a ready-made customer service skills training programme giving you everything you need to get started on delivering your own customer service skills training. tomorrow

In short, it’s ideal if you want to deliver your own customer service skills training in-house but don’t have time to create a programme from scratch. So you save time, money and effort on course development

Ensuring you still get the training delivered, enabling you and your team to develop excellent customer service skills and deliver memorable customer experiences every day.

Plus, if you sign up to the programme by midnight on 5th February you will receive my special bonuses which will give you a massive head start in delivering the training and seeing the results.

So if this sounds appealing head on over here to learn more.



Tears of frustration

Since my arm came out of plaster (following my mountain bike accident in July) I’ve been having weekly sessions with an occupational therapist to help get the strength and mobility back in my wrist and hand. It’s been a long, slow process, but on each visit I’ve made incremental improvements.

As you can imagine, some of the exercises she puts me through are testing, and at times quite painful. The thing is though, it’s one thing, doing the exercises with her at the hospital, but it’s quite another when I have to do these for myself 10-15 times a day at home.

And last week this led me to tears. Not tears from the pain, but tears of frustration.

I just couldn’t get one of the exercises right, and I knew if I couldn’t get it right here with the therapist guiding me there was no way I was going to get it right at home.

One instant she was tell me I was doing it wrong, and then the next she’d say “well done, that’s much better”. But the frustration was because I simply couldn’t tell the difference between doing it wrong and doing it right!

If we think in the workplace, are there ever times when we spot a team member doing something in a way that we know won’t get them the right result, but however much we pick them up on it, they still don’t get it right?

When we have to correct them on the same thing, time and time again, of course, this is frustrating for us, but it’s probably just as frustrating for them if they really don’t know what it is they’re doing wrong. Particularly when they really do want to get it right.

If this ever happens to you here are some pointers that might help…

What tells you it’s right or wrong?

The more specific you are about the tangible and measurable indicators, the easier it will be for the other person to measure their success.

Quantitative standards or pointers are easier to interpret than qualitative ones. So, for example, if you want phone answered quickly, specify in how many rings. When it comes to qualitative standards, it can be far more open to personal interpretation, so giving examples and/or demonstrations (and of course leading by example) can be helpful, but still be prepared to make the comparison between the right way and the wrong way.

Often, it’s subtle little nuances that make all the difference to reflect your service culture or improve employee productivity.

What’s the impact?

If people understand the end result they’re aiming for, this can help clarify why something is right versus why something is wrong. They can often see or feel for themselves that the wrong way doesn’t achieve the result they want and vice versa.

What to do differently?

Once people know what’s wrong (specifically), and why, it’s considerably easier for them to grasp the right way; or even to identify the right way for themselves.

Getting them carrying out tasks the right way, in comparison with the wrong way, is a step forward.

But…

It’s very easy for people to go back to the wrong way, particularly if that feels more comfortable, is easier or is quicker.

Human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance!

Until someone becomes fully competent and confident in the right way, (and we’ll assume here they already have the commitment and capacity to do things the right way) it will be all too easy for them to slip back into their old comfortable way of doing it.

So, be prepared to give further coaching, support and feedback until they have formed new habits.

And avoid those tears of frustration. For both them and you!

 


Just a different type of skill…

 

At last week’s Independent Hotel Show Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality suggested we stop talking about low skilled and high skill staff.

I agree.

Everyone has skills, it’s just that different jobs require different skills. It takes a certain type of skill to run a busy bar, calm down an irate customer, service a bedroom in 30 minutes. These examples are in the context of hospitality, but whatever your industry I’m sure you’ll see the same principles apply.

Sadly, it’s often only when these people leave that we miss what they bring to the team. (….could that lack of recognition be the very reason they leave?)

When we don’t see individual skill strengths there’s a tendency to demand all-round competence in a job.  As a result, development focuses on areas where a person is least capable with time and energy spent on working towards average performance.

Imagine what would happen if you were to focus on people’s strengths.  You could help them go from strong performance to real excellence in their areas of greatest ability.  How much more motivated would team members be if they could focus on what they’re best at?

Of course, in reality we can’t always let people just do what they’re best at, but we can at least make sure that they’re not always under pressure to improve what they’re worst at.  A great team will have a balance of abilities and strengths so that people can contribute their best and don’t have to excel at everything.

Identifying people’s skills and strengths enables you to capitalise and build on these. This recognition means the team member can take pride in that skill. And knowing where you have strengths in the team can also help to identify ways to bridge any gaps you have elsewhere.

And in most cases

…the tasks people are good at are those they enjoy more, excite them and keep them engaged.

So, here’s an exercise you can carry out with your team to recognise their strengths.

First, make a list of the members of your team and consider each one personally:

  • What is he/she really good at?
  • What does he/she love to do?
  • When do you see him/her working really well?
  • What is his/her greatest talent?
  • What do you like or value about this person?
  • What do other people in the team value about him/her?

Now look at the team as a whole

  • What is your team’s greatest achievement to date?
  • What is the team really good at?
  • When does your team work best?
  • What do other people value about your team?
  • Why do you enjoy leading this team?
  • What are your team’s greatest strengths?

Having completed this exercise are there any strengths you’ve identified that you can capitalise on to bridge any gaps elsewhere?



In the real world

In the real world

In all my years as a trainer the #1 mistake I see businesses making with their staff training is not doing enough to make an easy transition from theory to the real world.

What takes place in the safety, and often false environment, of the training room can be very different from what happens in the big bad real world. Particularly so with any skills training which needs practice to perfect, and time to form new habits.

This can mean, not only a poor return on investment, but can also have a negative and demotivating impact on the employee.

Here are 17 ideas to make the transition easy and gain a greater ROI on training:

  1. Avoid people leaving the training session asking “what was all that about then?” Make the link to their role before the training even begins, by discussing how the training is relevant to their job.
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  2. Check understanding of key points, and ask for ideas on how they are going to implement what they have learnt.
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  3. Help the team identify situations where they can put their learning into practice as quickly as possible, preferably within hours, or at least the next day or two, and get their commitment to one or two specific actions.
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  4. Make it clear what you want to happen long term as a result of the training, and get your team’s commitment to some specific actions – with timescales and allow them time to talk through how they’re going to achieve them.
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  5. Allow a free and open dialogue to flush out anything that might be standing in the way of that, or any concerns they have which will make it difficult or even impossible for them to implement any aspects of the training.
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  6. Check they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support and opportunity to put it into practice. If not, ensure you get these in place before the momentum is lost.
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  7. Look for signs of uncertainly: lack of confidence or a concern they might make mistakes, unclear on which actions are their job opposed to anyone else’s, not sure how this fits in with existing processes or ways of working, etc.
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  8. Be available for individuals to ask questions on a one to one basis after training; not everyone feels comfortable raising queries in front of colleagues, and some may need a while to reflect on what’s been covered.
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  9. Schedule time for people to practise and time for you or their line manager to check how they are doing. Or assign a mentor, coach or buddy to help overcome the initial barriers to perfecting their new skill.
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  10. Provide back-up resources such as prompt cards, diagrams or checklists.
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  11. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it.
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  12. Everything takes longer when it’s new and you’re still learning a little from trial and error. Confidence can be low as you get to grips with it all.
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  13. Don’t let potential barriers become an excuse for not putting things into practice. Follow up promptly; the longer problems are left unresolved, the less the likelihood of anyone getting to the point it becomes habit.
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  14. Observe how they handle specific situations e.g. following customer service training observe conversations with customers and give feedback afterwards: what they’re doing well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate coaching, support and guidance on areas where they need more help.
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  15. Reinforce messages by building exercises and activities into your daily and weekly calendar, etc., as part of team briefings or meetings, 1:1 reviews and ongoing feedback.
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  16. Recognise the role line managers have in the follow up to training. What’s working well, what fresh perspectives have they brought, what needs more practice?
  17. If the training isn’t being implemented identify what’s getting in the way now, not wait until they’ve been struggling and given up hope. When something doesn’t work right first time around it’s all too easy for them to go back to their old and familiar ways.

Get people practising their new skills, systems or ways of working every day and you’ll quickly see them build confidence, develop competence and it will soon become habit.



Off to a Flying Start

Earlier this week I spoke at The Horticultural Trades Association Catering Conference on attracting and retaining superstars. Of the 7 key ingredients I discussed one focused on giving new team members the red carpet treatment and creating a positive first impression, so they feel valued and engaged from day one.

In last week’s blog I wrote about the steps you can take to create a sense of anticipation and excitement before new team members even start. This week I’d like to focus on their induction once they are in the job.

It’s all too easy to expect new starters to hit the ground running and throw them in at the deep end. Especially when you’ve been understaffed and are desperate for the new pair of hands.

But this can be counterproductive.

In the same way you might think about your customer experience and how you’d like customers to feel as a result of doing business with you, transfer this principle to your staff.

How would you like this new team member to be feeling at the end of their first day?

Overwhelmed and confused? Frustrated, underutilised and bored? Already questioning that this is the right job for them?

Or enthusiastic, excited, looking forward to making a real contribution to the business, and can’t wait to get into work tomorrow?

Make a plan

People can only remember so much information. Spread the induction over several weeks, and limit what they’ll be covering on the first day to a minimum as there will be a lot for them to take in.

During the induction period involve as many other team members as possible as this is a great way for your new team member to meet others, start to understand how their role fits in with everybody else’s and for them to feel part of that team.

Identify who will be involved with what so there are no overlaps or gaps. Then make sure that everyone involved knows what part they play and schedule time to devote to this. No one wants to feel as if they are an inconvenience and this will do little to make the new team member feel welcome.

Here is a checklist of things to include

Here is a checklist of things to include in your induction, and of course every site and every role is different so ensure you tailor the induction around the job they’ll be doing and where they are going to be working. Plan your inductions well in advance, and schedule what will be happening when.

WHAT TO INCLUDE

Here are some key headings, but not necessarily everything under each heading is to be covered in one go. Think about what’s essential for day one, what’s to be covered within the first week, and then space other things over the coming 3 to 4 weeks.

The lay of the land

Show people where they will be working, where they can find things, where they can leave their personal things, where they can take their breaks, where to find key information, resources, and the people they’ll be working with. Point out health and safety needs such as fire evacuation points, first aid kit and any hazardous areas.

The job itself

Although you would have discussed this at the recruitment stage now is the time to go into detail. Let people know exactly what is expected and how this will be measured, how progress will be reviewed and how their role fits in with everybody else’s.

The bigger picture

Where does their job fit into the bigger picture? What are the goals and targets of the business as a whole and how they contribute to this.

Where does their role fit in with everybody else’s? What does everybody else do? What are all the other services and facilities that you provide?

What we stand for

Think about your purpose, values and culture. What is important to you as a business and what is the type of experience you want your customers to have when they do business with you? Communicate this.   If you have won prestigious awards be proud of these and share what this means and what you need to do to sustain this level.

Customer expectations

Help new team members understand your customers’ expectations. Describe your customer profile and what they will be looking for. Why do people come to you rather you’re your competition, what makes you different or unique. Take people through the customer journey and allow them to see everything from a customer’s perspective as far as possible; not only for their own department, but all the other services your customers use, starting with your website*.

* This is a great exercise to do with all new starters. As part of their induction ask them to find certain information from your website. They learn about the business, and you can get some feedback on how user-friendly and informative your website is.

How we do things round here

How this translates into the day-to-day role might come better from a fellow employee, a sort of buddy, rather than necessarily always coming from you. However if you are going to do that, make sure that the person they are buddied up with knows the standards, knows the expectations, and knows what you want from them.

The law of the land

This is where you cover all contractual parts of their role such as work permits, absence reporting, signing their contract, how and when they get paid. Talk about holiday entitlement and how they go about booking this so there are no later disappointments as late notice holiday requests get turned down.

History and heritage

It’s nice to know a little bit about the background, heritage and key historical facts about your business, but people don’t need every little detail. Home in on what’s relevant, so if for example your building has an interesting history and your customers are interested in this, cover the key points and let them know where they can go for more information if they want to dig deeper.

One of the family

Help new starters to settle in by involving them in team activities in the workplace, and ensuring they get an invitation to any social activities. Let them know who the people are to go to for help and guidance, who are your champions or experts in different areas, who should they turn to when you’re not there.

Practice makes perfect

Don’t expect everyone to be superb in every aspect of the job straightaway. Plan on the job skills training appropriate for the role they are going to do and allow time for them to get up to speed.

Getting stuck in

For new people it can sometimes feel to them as if they are not achieving much in the early days. So consider allocating a specific project that they can get stuck into and for which they have some responsibility and ownership. This is a great way to get them involved and give them something where they can contribute early on.

Regular reviews

Schedule weekly meetings with your new starters for a minimum of the first four weeks to review progress, answer questions, and identify when help is needed. This is also a great time to get feedback from them on their ideas and observations. Often a fresh pair of eyes will highlight things we’ve missed, and they bring with them experience and insights on how to do things better.

So, for the next person you take on, don’t waste your recruitment effort & costs by poor induction.  Increase the likelihood that they will want to stay, do the job to the standard you expect, and become a loyal employee, by giving them a thorough planned induction, backed up by the right support and resources to deliver the job well.