Jul 10, 2019
At the Escape Game, as a guest-facing retail business, we do a lot of front line training. We invest heavily in ensuring that our staff are prepared and ready before we put them in front of guests. According to ATD (Association for Talent Development), companies that offer comprehensive onboarding and training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without a formal training plan. In another study conducted with Canadian companies, 40% of employees who reported not receiving adequate training left those positions within one year. Training clearly has a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line. Whether you are preparing to train front line guest-facing employees or any other corporate position, you can follow these simple steps to ensure that new hires are effectively onboard to both their role and your company.
Any good employee engagement begins with proper preparation. As the one preparing to deliver a training program or course it is up to you to answer the following questions.
As a trainer it’s important that the people you are training feel like you are on their side. You need to present yourself as a pillar and support in their journey. Remember, for the most part you will probably be training and teaching new team members who may be overwhelmed, so always be patient.
Don’t just practice the task. Also practice training.
Rehearse how you will explain each step of what you’re doing (it’s not as easy as it sounds). Take a video or voice recording of yourself performing different tasks. When you’re ready for a trial run, ask a coworker to be your guinea pig and to give you feedback.
Think through the task from a beginner’s perspective, without making assumptions. Talk it through with others who are skilled at this task. Ask them what was helpful to them as they were first learning and what was hardest to master.
Make your trainee feel welcome as you review your training materials with them. When trainees know what’s expected by the end of the shift and how they’ll be asked to demonstrate competence, they will also know exactly what to focus on.
This may be very obvious to you, but it often isn’t obvious to the trainee. Explaining the WHY can make a system seem more logical, and less random. For example, at TEG, “We have electronic waivers so we can easily find a guest’s email address if we think they had a poor experience.”
When you relate tasks to the big picture for your company, it immediately becomes more memorable for the trainee.
First, demonstrate at the speed at which you will expect the trainee to perform when he/she is fully trained (not necessarily at the end of today’s session). You probably won’t be talking while you do this. You want to model the performance target. What does it look like when someone is completely up to speed on this task? Then reiterate your expectation for today. It’s very useful for the trainee to have an early, visual impression of the ultimate goal in terms of pace.
Depending on the complexity of the task, it is sometimes useful to have the trainee talk you through the task. They tell you what to do, and you do it. This way they can concentrate on whether they understand the steps to be followed, without worrying about whether they can actually perform the steps.
Encourage questions and take the time to answer them. Ask: Do you have any questions so far? Does this make sense?
Ideally, 50% or more of every training shift is devoted to practice time. The trainee needs to practice under close supervision, so you can give lots of feedback and keep them from practicing incorrect technique. Look for what is being done correctly as well as what could be improved. It’s much harder to unlearn something than to learn it properly the first time.
People don’t learn well when they feel intimidated or subject to ridicule. Letting someone know the most common mistakes associated with learning a new task or skill (maybe even sharing some memorable mistakes that you’ve made yourself) can create an atmosphere where trainees see making mistakes for what it is—a step in the learning process. At The Escape Game, we own our mistakes and humbly share what we’ve learned with our team.
Step #4 ends when the trainee has demonstrated the ability to meet the expectation, or when you decide that he/she has not met the expectation but time has run out.
Did the trainee meet your expectations? Why or why not? What happens next?
Liked best/Next time focuses on positive, forward-looking feedback. It starts by asking the trainee, “What did you like best about what you did? After they’ve answered the question, you can tell them what you thought they did well. Forcing the trainee to think critically about the skills they have just learned or are trying to learn reinforces the learning cycle and makes them and you aware of any gaps that they might still have.
When you follow these simple steps for preparing and executing an effective training program you can ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck as well as building loyalty and increasing performance. Employees who have a clear understanding of expectations are far more likely to grow, thrive, and stay with your company for the long term.