Last week, we talked about hiring and onboarding a new employee. Once that first day comes and goes, it’s all about training. The last thing that an employee wants is to be excited about a new company, then defeated when they feel as if they’re going to have to teach themselves to do the work. Often larger companies have a standard, computer-based training program, but when we initially work with small and medium sized businesses, the comprehensive, systemized training program is just not there.

What does the research say? In a recent NFIB study, Small Businesses (<500 employees) are for the most part “training” their employees (94%). However, 39% percent of small business owners are reporting that the way that they train their new employees is to allow them to learn on the job. 42% of them report that teaming the employee up with a “buddy” who also does their job is their system. Training can also be a time consuming and lengthy process. Only 9% of employers report that an employee is fully trained in two weeks. So a business that is on a path to rapid growth and expanding their team cannot count on a new employee being ready to perform the duties of the job quickly. It doesn’t have to be this way!


The biggest resource you have in developing a training program? Your current high-performing employees. Ask them “if you were starting your job today, what would you have liked to have known?” Start with your employees, and take it one step further. Make an easy-to-follow checklist with the location of all of the training materials. Include in the training things like Company Culture, Mission, Vision, Values, goals, dress code, conduct, and your Rules of the Game. Is this a new position in the company? Poll the entire team on what it will take to train the employee. Communicate costs of any certification, etc. clearly when the job offer is presented. Check in frequently with your new employee to make sure that they are comfortable and able to access the training materials. Remember: your training program is a fluid document. As your business grows and changes, so will the information that new employees need to know.


One of the most effective training methods that we’ve encountered embraces the “walk a mile in my shoes” concept. In this strategy, the new hire spends a day, or even a week, observing and even participating as a part of each department in the company. For example, a receptionist spends a few days in the veterinary department, then in boarding, then in grooming. Or in a remodeling company, a designer spends a few days with production, spends time in the field with the project managers, and spends a day as the receptionist.

The goal of this strategy? Each new employee grasps what it takes to get the job done, to get the product or service to the customer. It fosters a sense of empathy, a sense that it’s not us against them. People naturally think that they are working the hardest of anyone. This way, they can appreciate how hard other parts of the organization are working and can understand how their role fits into the puzzle. We find that Team Culture and bonding is very strong when this strategy is executed well.


Are you continually training and developing your employees? The most successful companies are. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 said that the average amount of training given to leaders in businesses with less than 100 employees is 12 minutes every 6 months. Businesses with 100-500 employees, it was only 6 minutes every 6 months. This is staggering! Employees that are not given follow-up training are prone to relaxing standards, going against the established systems for service & production, and other costly bad habits. So how does your company stand above this truly terrible statistic? Continual development.

Bringing in a leadership trainer, coach or vendor expert can be a great way to train your future leaders. These training programs are extremely cost-effective, and add to the Team Culture. You can even receive grants from the local, state, and/or national government to pay for it. We’ve had several clients that have successfully accomplished this through Workforce Development. Our Leadership Training programs are a great way to start. It gives the team a tangible way to know that you are investing in them.


With a strong training program at the start of the employee’s career with your company, and a strong ongoing training program in place for your team, you’ll have employees for life that want to stay with your company for the duration. You’ll love the peace of mind that comes with low turnover, high customer service, and a happy team.

Need help developing a training program? Want to check out our leadership training series and how our coaches can help your team be successful? We can help. Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation business analysis today.

About the author,

Director of Marketing, ActionCOACH Columbus

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