23 February 2019 Pet Product News International
BY LIZ ILLG
The life of a small business owner is busy, to say the least. From creating the perfect product or service to producing a stellar retail space and a top-notch
marketing plan, there are tons of tasks to think about. It
can be hard enough to wrap your own mind around all
that’s going on, let alone the folks you’re bringing into
your business as new hires.
I’m going to be honest and say that training new
hires is not the most exciting part of running a business. While hiring new folks is an incredible sign that
your business is growing, it can be overwhelming and
time-consuming to not only find the right person, but
also train them.
No matter how much experience a new hire might
have in your industry, they will still need to know everything that makes your business unique. Remember, each new hire is another person who is going to
represent your business. It’s critical that these folks are
trained in a way that makes sense and conveys your
company’s values. A great way to do that is by creating
an effective training manual.
Sure, you probably already have a training system
in place, but just how effective is it? Are your new hires
still unsure about certain processes? Are you still getting frustrated with the workflow among new employees? Do your veteran employees understand how new
hires are being trained? Are they part of the problem or
Don’t fret! When it comes to new hires, there are
plenty of moving parts, and I would like to help you
streamline all of the loose ends. In fact, below, I’ve broken it down into four easy phases for you:
Above all else, the first thing you should consider is
what your ultimate training goal for new hires will be.
Will this person run payroll? What aspect of the business will this person oversee? What are some obstacles
this person might encounter on a regular basis? Who
will this person be working with on a day-to-day basis?
All of these questions should be asked and answered
before jumping into the training program development
The next part of this initial phase is to consider how
long you anticipate the training process to take. Do you
think a new hire can be trained in two or three weeks?
Two months? A timeline is essential during the training
process because you can get a better idea of when this
particular new hire will be up for certain tasks.
Remember, you can’t expect a new hire to know everything in a short amount of time; you have to allow
time for new hires to learn the nuances of how your
At this point, you know what you want the new hire to
learn and how long it should take to teach them. Now
you can truly begin to dissect the content that should be
a part of your training manual.
The key here is to stay consistent. Lay out the manual in a way that makes sense—in the order that you
want your new hire to learn things in. The last thing
you want to do is confuse your new hire and have them
jumping around the manual from week to week. Again,
think about the overall objectives and potential obstacles of this new hire’s job. What must they learn first?
Start with the basics. Sometimes, it’s the simplest
things that get overlooked when bringing in a new
hire; for example, where should they park? Where and
how do they clock in? What are the core values of your
business? Who should this new hire be reporting to
and how often? Getting all of the little things out of the
way first will make it that much easier for your new
employee to assimilate and find their unique place in
Get a list and check it twice! I think checklists are a great
way to keep organized and get your priorities straight.
Whether you use a digital platform to keep organized
or good old-fashioned pen and paper, you can’t go
wrong with this method.
Now that you’ve broken down everything your new
hire must learn and the order in which they will learn it,
transfer this information into daily, weekly and monthly checklists. This way, it’s clear to both you and the
new employee what the learning expectations are given
a certain timeline. For example, by the end of week one,
the new hire should know how to do XYZ on their own.
If you anticipate training to last more than one
month, you should still have weekly breakdowns for
each month. Then, you can create daily objectives for
each week. This is an easy way to make sure everyone
is on the same page, plus it gives your new hire some
insight as to what will be expected of them in the days
and weeks to come.
Create a level of accountability by putting some-
one in charge of signing off on the new hire’s training
progress. Whether it’s you or another senior employee,
there should be an open dialogue about how training is
going. Plus, this gives your new hire a designated go-to
person for any questions or concerns they might have.
By this point, you should have an idea of what you’re
going to teach the new hire, how long it will take to
complete training and who will keep track of training
progress. You’ve also created checklists for everyone to
follow along the way. Once all of this is done, you’ll be
ready to create and attach the supporting documents to
your training manuals.
You might be wondering what that means. Well,
how does your team communicate with one another
on a daily basis? Do you use an electronic program,
paper files or a combination of both? What systems or
programs will this new hire need access to? How long
will it take, and how much will it cost to set all of this
up? These are questions you need to consider as you
put together your new hire training manual.
Once you know what the new hire will need, you
should create any supporting documents that correspond with the appropriate training day, week or
month. You will find that having everything in one
place, organized all the way down to what should be
learned day-to-day, will be a true lifesaver.
Remember, the key to creating the perfect training manual for new hires is as simple as creating learning goals
for your new hire, placing them on a realistic learning
timeline and assigning a person to ensure these objectives are being met. Break everything down into daily learning objectives, and it’ll be smooth sailing from
Need help creating the perfect training manual/op-erational manual for your business?
Visit lizillg.com to learn what we can do for you.
Liz Illg is the owner of Puff & Fluff
Grooming and Pet Sitting, which has
four locations in the Phoenix area. She
received her bachelor’s in business from
Arizona State University and her master’s in education from Northern Arizona
University. Her education and passion
for animals turned her college pet-sitting
days into full-time business ownership.
Illg has hosted events and raffles to benefit local pet rescues by partnering with
other pet businesses in the community.
She has also been featured on several local media outlets to share her love and
knowledge about caring for pets.
4 Steps to Creating
a Training Manual for
Putting together a manual for training new employees doesn’t have
to be a burden for shopkeepers, thanks to these four simple phases.
“You will find that having
everything in one place, organized
all the way down to what should
be learned day-to-day, will be
a true lifesaver.”