It's TIME to start ONLINE Training!

by: Adam

As seen in Cambridge Chamber of Commerce – SPECTRUM Magazine.

As of January 2018, minimum wage will leap 19% and with it, the expectations of small business and entrepreneurs to ensure that every employee brought on board will be trained and capable of representing their organization, to their customers, in the quickest manner possible.

I discussed some of the ways businesses can utilize technological developments in their office to become more efficient as an example in past issues of Spectrum, I defined how my agency has gone paperless since 2015. We’ve integrated cloud-based systems, mobile devices and a work-at-home policy that makes it convenient and easy for anyone in the company to operate.

My small business, similar to yours, struggles with how do to get staff up and running quickly, to start making profits for the bottom line. The biggest challenge, of course, is that you have to pay for that training time. Training doesn’t just happen, as our policies and procedures are unique as with your business. As much as we might think, serving a cup of coffee is the same as flipping a burger, this is never the case. It takes time to understand what to do with specific computer software, hardware, how to manage processes and daily tasks of assisting the customer. This is especially important when a problem or concern arises.  It could be a return of a product, or a complaint about the service they’ve received.  I am not a qualified HR representative – that goes without saying. However, I’ve been in business 15+ years now and I have a lot of experience when it comes to hiring an individual as well as getting them on-boarded swiftly and efficiently so I can start providing value per dollar spent.

I’ve taken the time to put together this article because I believe it will assist small businesses to prepare a plan to keep on track of their employees and getting them working to hit the profits from that human capital investment.

One of the first suggestions I have is to get yourself a screen recording software and a pretty decent smartphone with a camera. A great excuse to get the new Note 8 or iPhone X. The reason you want these systems is to create training and reference videos you can use multiple times over. We live in a busy, time crunch corporate world and one of easiest, quickest and most efficient ways to help Millennials learn is through video. Although some people do appreciate the reading of documents, there are less and less people who have the time or attention to absorb and retain 50 plus pages of information. With video references, they have the ability to retain by example. Similar to when your 4 year old is given an iPad, after watching you several times, they just figure it out. They don’t open the manual start reading the instructions and go step by step into how to make it work. Which in my opinion is the reason why a lot of older generations have taken longer to understand and even, still to this day haven’t figured out how their smartphone fully works. Videos are a great asset to supporting and onboarding your new staff.

Once you’ve created your videos, then you can create a cheat sheet or table of contents that define specifically what it is you want your new employees to know by category. You could define it by security, customer service, internal processes, etc. All of this should be structured in a way that they can look at a table of contents, easily click the link and it would open a video giving that 1 to 5 minute tutorial of exactly what it is they need to do and know.

There are also a lot of tools you can access that ensures your staff actually paid attention. Testing module that you can easily use online. Google suite and Microsoft both have one that allows you to build multiple choice style trivia questions. Knowing there will be a quiz at the end, gives your staff a little bit of an incentive to make sure they pay attention. I had one client, who I helped build their online staff testing, where their conditions were if any of the employees they have engaged and hired during training time failed the quiz, they didn’t get the job. It is an efficient way to streamline the process of finding the best of the best. They would all watch their videos and when they completed them, an online test would be provided.    Nobody was made aware that if they failed they would lose their job. However it was quite an effective way to determine who were the most attentive and detail oriented employees. It allowed them to see which employees were worth investing time and hard earned dollars into.

It doesn’t take a lot to set up, but it does take a lot of time to prepare. The good news is, once it’s done, it goes into a data bank that you can now cycle through and use for any new employees that you want to get up to speed and working quickly. Remember under the Ontario Standards Act the rules state that they get minimum wage for any training. Judging by the fact that minimum wage will be jumping 29% in January 2018 and then again another 7% in 2019, you can rest assured it’s worth the investment to get your training under control now. You will save thousands of dollars and help yourself in understanding the best employees through the worst.

The first step you want to accomplish is to set up a YouTube account, create playlist and mark it “Unlisted”. Get yourself the equipment (Camera, smartphone, desktop recording software) as I mentioned. It doesn’t have to be a Spielberg production, but you do want something that is bearable to watch. Next you can easily search through Google to find an online training system that is a multiple choice pull down and give you the results. This could be done through SurveyMonkey, or any other free online testing cloud based software. This allows for testing to be done and results to be given immediately. What you do after that, I’ll leave to you. This gives a very high-level understanding of getting your training and the best employees off the ground, as it is going to be absolutely crucial for every business to ensure they understand your policies and procedures and deliver on every hour you pay a return on your investment. Think about the training in 2018 and 2019 and into the future and how to best do that online. The technology is there, relatively inexpensive, if not free! The options are endless and the future is now!