Training employees can be difficult. This can be even more difficult without the standardized job training available at larger businesses. With only so many hours in the day, it can seem like training employees is an activity that might end up put on a back burner. However, small businesses have a distinct advantage in employee training, namely that the small size, means that one-on-one training and greater personal attention is much more available than in a bigger corporate setting.
This article is an overview of some methods and tactics available to small business owners who want to better engage and train their employees.
Lay a foundation of values
Make sure your employees know why your business does things the way it does, not just how things are run. Establish the values that guide you and your business practices, and let the logic of those values be the foundation of training, conduct, and other topics. Remember that you are, in essence, establishing a culture for your employees – make sure it's one they'll want to be a part of.
Ask employees for feedback
People like to have their opinions heard. Just like how customers like to give their feedback, employees do too. Listening to their concerns and thoughts can be very fruitful. Sometimes they'll think of something you missed or bring up a point you hadn't considered. Once they've learned how your business works, employees are a great resource for finding things to improve.
Create a healthy work environment
Take inventory of how healthy your work environment is. Do you provide a comfortable break room with a small kitchen to promote bringing a healthy lunch? How’s you air quality? Do you have cold drinking water available? Some businesses go as far as having bikes, kettle balls or standing desks for employees. While this may not be feasible for your small business, ensuring a healthy environment will keep your employees happy and productive.
Promote your culture to new hires
Your workplace doesn't need to be a hive mind or a collective of some kind, but encouraging all employees to embrace your workplace culture will help everyone work together toward a common goal. When new hires are welcomed, they should be taught about the culture and then observe it when interacting with other employees.
Develop a strategy for employee engagement
It's good to have a plan. Even if you think you can work just fine flying by the seat of your pants, you'd be better off with an organized plan for how you want to engage employees. It can be as strict or as loose as you want, but set goals for their onboarding and development. This is helpful for you and them to be on the same page.
You can use methods as formal as surveys, or as casual as conversations by the water cooler (so to speak), to track the results of your methods. Ensure that the strategy you use, has development milestones which you can track as you go along. Running a business is one thing, but creating a culture that unifies all your employees within your business is another. By doing so, you bring a greater purpose to everyone working for your company and encourage like-minded individuals to join your team. Try out these tips to engage employees and improve your performance.