One of the biggest investments you can make for your sign-making business is that of training your employees. Studies have shown that the most productive and successful employees are those that have been thoroughly trained on the job. Since we rarely have the luxury of hiring someone with the exact skill set we are looking for, training often falls into our hands as the sign business owner.
Training shows your employees that you are serious about the business and serious about their position in that business. It equips them with the professional and technical skills they will need to contribute to your sign shop, and encourage them to build a future with your company.
If you don’t have a training program in place at your sign business, use these 10 tips to get started:
- View it as an investment. Training can be expensive, and it is certainly time consuming. However, rather than viewing it as an additional expense for your business, try and see it as an investment for the growth and development of your business.
- Analyze your needs. No small sign shop has unlimited funds or time to give an extensive training program, therefore it is important that you first sit down and think about the contents of your training program. Figure out what skills are essential to your business and what will provide the best benefit in the long-term. Train your employees accordingly.
- Get the whole team involved. Make sure that everyone in the business, even long time employees, are aware of and supportive of the training program. Recruit experienced employees to help you to develop sections of the program.
- Focus on learning. The business world is constantly moving, and we small business have to keep up. The way to do this is by constantly learning. Push your employees to continue increasing their knowledge of the business. Expect everyone to hone their skills and keep up-to-date on developments in their field of work. Provide the necessary resources for them to do so.
- Start small. Before sitting down to train all your employees at once, run a test training session on one or two and get their feedback. Use their suggestions to bolster any weaknesses in your program and fine-tune the training process.
- Pick a good location. Training should take place in an area that is conducive to learning. Provide paper and pencils and plenty of room for note-taking. Make sure the room is quiet, and if at all possible employee visual aids by means of a projector or computer.
- Pick the right instructor. If you feel equipped to give the training program yourself, great! If not, you can either bring in a professional educator (more of an investment), or ask an experienced staff member to lead the program.
- Keep it connected. Employees should be able to see the connection between their job and the instruction they are receiving, otherwise they may view the training program as a waste of time. Help them view it as an addition to their arsenal of skills by including practical examples of how they can put the training into action. Providing a diploma or certificate at the end makes the program feel more official.
- Keep it going. Training shouldn’t be for just new employees. Training programs that are progressive keep employees progressive. Increased skill levels and development and growth are several of the benefits of ongoing training programs.
- Measure results. When you see the results of your program it makes it that much easier to view as an investment rather than an expense. Set up a system for tracking growth and development from training programs and you will be able to see the return on your investment, which will prompt you to continue investing in the education of your employees.
How does your sign shop train its employees? Share your tips for a successful training program in the comments section below.