A typical employee training program has four parts: Education, Application, Certification, and Continuation. Let’s dive into each of the four.
Create and distribute all of the educational tools that you need to train your employees. Items may include:
- Employee handbook: Crucial for laying out expectations and legal obligations, your handbook should include everything your employee needs to know to do their job well. Ensure it’s up-to-date and accessible to your employees.
- Online learning systems: Does your foodservice vendor have an online learning system that helps in training? Take advantage of online logs, programs and training videos. These programs help with not only documentation, but consistency and eliminating human error.
- Hard copy material: Post signage around your work space with proper procedures laid out. Give your new employees documentation of every process to study. Review your operations manual with employees on a consistent basis.
- Videos: Especially for visual learners, training videos can be extremely beneficial. If you don’t have access to any videos on your equipment, prep processes, or clean up procedures, ask your vendor how you can get them!
- Employee trainers: Make sure your trainers are prepared and understand the importance of the program! Your trainers are valuable assets to your team and can greatly impact the bottomline by creating customer-centric employees who follow processes accurately and consistently.
- Mentors: Are there mentors in your organization that can help take new employees under their wing? Look for those who model the company values and culture, have a positive attitude, take genuine interest in others, and are willing to share their knowledge.
Application is ultimately hands on practice. During this phase, the employee should have already seen a visual of what the job should look like and follow the procedures as they’ve already seen them done. They don’t need to reinvent the wheel – just execute properly.
Be patient during this stage, as a new employee will never be as fast, accurate or as skilled as the trainer. Allow them time to continue to improve their knowledge, skills and abilities.
A structured certification process for completion creates accountability for the trainers. Without an official completion or certificate, you create inconsistency across your team members. Certification creates the need for follow-up by leadership and creates involvement, as well as creating an end goal for initial onboarding.
Achieving a training certification should be a big deal for your employees! Set up ways to recognize their achievements in either a display board, announcement to the team, or other public recognition.
Finally, remember that training doesn’t stop with week one of employment; it’s not a “once-per-job” thing. Training is an ongoing process. Every shift leader or trainer should be teaching, showing, and inspiring at all times. Because ultimately, training is about creating a learning culture. Treat it like farming or gardening. If you prepare the ground, fertilize, water, water, water, prune, water…and stick with it – you get plentiful results.
There are a variety of challenges when it comes to training and we aren’t trying to ignore them. We know training expenses are often the LAST item budgeted and the FIRST to get cut. During training, productivity is decreased since the trainer has dual responsibilities. And oftentimes new employees, other employees, trainers or customers get frustrated or impatient when dealing with a training situation.
All of these factors may scare you a little bit – but if you’re afraid to train them, what then? A classic corporate dilemma often portrayed by HR departments describes two executives talking where one asks the other, “What if we train them and they leave?” and the other responds, “What if we don’t….and they stay?”
Investing in your employees may be time consuming and involve oversight and organization, but ultimately a well-trained employee is more valuable to you than a semi-trained employee. As Richard Branson said, “Train people well enough so that they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”