Train or Die
You spent $2,000 last month advertising open jobs at your company and didn’t make a single hire. Your quest for experienced specialists isn’t producing results. How will you be able to expand your business?
And today, two team members submitted their resignations. How will you be able to maintain current service levels? Forget about gaining ground. It seems like you’re taking significant steps backward. You don’t want to say it out loud but you’re watching your business shrink instead of growing.
What action should you take to build your team? No, it’s not ‘spend more on advertising.’ That’s not working for you. It’s time to revise your approach. Every employer is seeking experienced workers to join their team and ‘hit-the-ground-running’ so sales will generate uptick immediately. Can you find experienced help? Yes, but not often because skilled workers are usually employed and aren’t interested in changing jobs.
The answer is clear: hire inexperienced people and train them. Now this doesn’t mean lowering your expectations about hiring the right people for your roles. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll put new people immediately to work learning from associates. For your business to thrive, and new team members to succeed, your training process needs to be structured.
How to Hire Great (but Inexperienced) People
Building a robust and engaged team starts with changing your interview process. Instead of screening for an in-depth experience, look for the characteristics needed to deliver outstanding performance in any role, such as:
- work ethic
- willingness (and ability) to learn
- pleasant personality
These qualities can be evaluated indirectly through references and screening, but you can learn a lot by asking for examples from a candidate’s prior roles or school experiences. Ask when they went ‘above and beyond’ to complete a task. Find out what a stressful situation is for them, and how they would respond. Have them describe their ‘dream job’ and assess how well their description matches your open role. This line of questioning gives you insights into whether the candidate is trainable and will fit well within your current team.
Training New Employees
New team members may be expected to complete some on-the-job training, but an effective onboarding program needs more depth. To create an environment where all employees are engaged, include these elements in your training efforts:
- Information about your company’s vision and purpose. Being profitable is
one metric of success. Having a team understand your effect on the community
will make them more eager to do good work. Explain how their work improves
other’s lives. Include customer testimonials or feedback to illustrate the impact
of their efforts. Since a high-functioning team leads to satisfied customers (and
repeat purchases), you’ll see profits rise.
- Training manuals, tools and other resources for the role. Equipping employ-
ees with information to do the job well gives them confidence. Providing them with
time to learn the new position and trusting they’ll step up to the challenge fosters
good working relationships. And importantly, your formalized training process
enables you to teach employees how you’d like the work to be executed to meet
your standards and your customers’ expectations.
- Continuous opportunities to contribute and learn. Inexperienced employees
bring fresh ideas to your team. Old habits don’t shackle people new to your
industry. Be open to receiving feedback and suggestions for making processes
and procedures better. If you choose to adopt new methods, fold the change
into your training process for current and future team members.
Invest in the future of your company. Be willing to hire inexperienced people with the qualities it takes to succeed and arm them with the training they need to deliver exceptional results. Your company’s longevity depends on it: train or die.