Monday, June 24, 2013


imageThis article was written by Barry Mc Kinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

Two of the five top reasons a business fails directly reflects to training employees properly. Many business owners feel that they don’t have the time to spend training a new hire. So they give them a little direction and hope they figure out the rest. Most times your customers serve as the guinea pigs to the new employee’s learning curve. I recently got gas at a gas station and the outdoor terminal indicated for a receipt go inside. With two clerks behind the counter I asked one of them for a receipt and gave her a pump number. She proceeded to start telling me why she couldn’t give me a receipt while the other overhearing the conversation clicked on her terminal and handed me a receipt while the first clerk was still talking. What would have happened if the 2nd clerk had not been there? Interested in the outcome I hung around looking at other merchandise. The 2nd clerk never explained to the first how to get the receipt and the first never asked what she could do in the future. That incident reminded me of a business saying; “What if I train them and they leave? -- What if you don’t train and them and they stay?Sad news for that gas station owner the first untrained employee is sticking around and upsetting customers hourly.

What does it cost to bring a customer to your business? In my case the cost was $85 per customer (I sold expensive items). Now if that new untrained employee talked to 10 customers a day that is costing me $850 per day or $25,550 per month. Wow you could send them to Harvard for that. I wouldn’t even want to think how much profit was lost because of untrained staff.

In setting up your training be sure that the person doing it is knowledgeable and patient. You need to give the trainee a guideline of what will be covered and what is expected. The training instructor needs to be reminded EVERY new person will take time to grasp a new skill. It has been proved to own a skill you need to repeat it at least 30 times. Skilled trainers have learned that telling somebody what to do is NOT effective.

The average person will retain within 24 hours;

7% of what they heard

15% of what they read

25% of what they learned via video or computer training

30% of what you show them

New staff members learn by doing:

50% through discussion

75% by practicing the skill

95% by teaching the skill

Be selective on who does the training. Make one person assume overall responsibility but try to use a buddy system. The training steps should be;

PREPARE – Give them the overall picture and how this job fits.

TELL – Explain thoroughly; break it down into key parts and steps

SHOW– Demonstrate how it is done

DO – Have the trainee perform the task

REVIEW – Provide an honest evaluation and offer helpful constructive criticism

MEASURE – Continually check back to insure they are doing it correctly.

Well trained employees create a happy environment for your customers and you will see immediate increases in sales, profits and customer loyalty.