Management is constantly faced with the need of understanding how to process, manage and analyze business results.
Last year, the average employee turnover rate in the service industry was 15.1%. That means it’s likely that you saw some of your staff go as you welcomed the new additions. But what happens if one of those key employees had the role of managing your operations or internal business systems?
Do you have operating procedures and training content in place to quickly get your new manager trained and productive? Or are you going to rely on “on the job training” to fill the knowledge gaps? If you choose the latter you are setting you and your new hire up for failure! You may be thinking, my new hire came from a company just like ours so they should know how we operate. With the best intentions this is a false expectation for the new hire; no two service companies operate the same way. Even though the new hire came from a company that sold and serviced the same products, their operational and information system experience will be totally unique to the culture, business systems and practices of their prior employer(s).
What impact is there for the business that does not have a sound new hire training program; especially for new hires in strategic roles? Because this tends to impact the service enterprise most greatly, let’s focus on the business system side. The new hire manager has basically three options:
- 1. Roll up their sleeves and try to figure out how everything works (while trying to handle all the operational needs)
- 2. Gain system knowledge from others (typically this only provides marginal information from others who were also never properly trained)
- 3. Start making requests to replace your current business system for a “newer – better” system. Beware, once you start down this path you become a sales person's dream for the new solution provider. They will very convincingly uncover every pain your organization has and tell you everything you want to hear to sell you their “newer-better (very expensive)” business solution. Remember where this all started, the need for training. An investment in a new system is a very expensive way to get your people trained!
The following are some suggestions on how to support the training needs of your organization:
- • Start building your user operating procedures manual
- • Start building your operations workflow procedure manual
- • Leverage your business software provider for assistance
- • Make your user and workflow training an integral part of your new hire process
It’s not critical that you get it finished immediately. Prioritize by department and then by position. Use simple tools like Microsoft Word and screen captures to build the procedure guide. If you find you have knowledge gaps, “Why do we do this? I don’t know that’s how I was shown” find the right person who knows.
Work flow is different than user procedures. Workflow provides a visual interpretation of how goods and services flow through the organization. Since we’re focused on service enterprises, there are typically many different workflows: new sales, break-fix service, depot service, warranty service, service contract management, preventive maintenance, etc. Laying out an effective workflow guide in front of your new hire will assist them in understanding how business flows through the company and who performs which functions. Providing examples of management reports is important. A good tool for this is Microsoft Visio.
Too often this resource is overlooked. Communicate with your current provider since software providers have many years of experience deploying and supporting their solutions. Utilize their expertise to assist you in planning, manual content creation and filling informational knowledge gaps.
Setup a training plan for all new hires. Provide them with a check list to sign off on once training has been completed. This will make it easier to make trainees accountable for their training knowledge.
While new employees should always strive to quickly become valuable assets to their new companies, it should never be done without proper training and training resources. By making this initial investment you will empower your new hire with the knowledge to be as successful as possible!
Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.