My small business is growing so I want to employ staff. I...

My small business is growing so I want to employ staff. I want to help my local community so how can I train them to do the job?

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If a business wants so continue growing it needs the best staff it can afford. Having said that, if candidates show potential it is possible to hire someone without skills and train them up.

In your case, this would be your course of action. The answer is the same as it would be for how you’d teach someone to drive a car.

Your new recruit is a passenger.

If you knew someone couldn’t drive, you’d never throw them the keys and wait to see what happened. They’d either go nowhere, or they’d have an accident in minutes.

The first thing you must do is teach by example. A new employee needs to learn about your products or services and the systems they will be working with. Take the time to teach them or assign them with an experienced employee. Before your new recruit goes anywhere near a customer, role-play the correct way to interact with customers.

Don’t start on the highway.

If a new recruit has been successful in the testing ground, don’t assume they can survive the road. Start building trust and confidence in their abilities by giving real responsibilities to exercise in a practice environment.

For example, give real orders instead of test orders to process. Supervise this process and see if the new recruit can handle them timeously, can anticipate problems and can enter them correctly.

This is effectively the first time your new recruit sits in the driver’s seat and is allowed to drive around the parking lot. Have all responsibilities double checked by a team member and when they are error free you can move to the road.

Go for a quick drive.

For a new driver, the activity takes a lot of concentration and effort because it requires many skills at once. So don’t make their first drive a big one.

At this point a new employee must put all product or service knowledge, computer systems, and live customers together. To make this less daunting, have them shadow a senior rep to learn cues from the customer and use that information to complete tasks on their own.

At the end of the exercise have them compare their end result with that of the senior rep. Once they can go the task the same as the team member, they can be trusted to go further.

Go for a longer trip.

At this stage the new recruit’s skills will have real consequences. The employee is now in control of the task they must perform. This time make sure an experienced team member is shadowing the new recruit and not the other way around.

Mistakes can be identified and corrected so that better choices can be made the next time around.

As the employee grows more confident behind the wheel, let them go out on their own. But be on hand if they hit a speed bump.

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