How often do you say, “I am the only person that can do this.”? It is a common thought of many small business owners and managers. I hear a bit of pain and exasperation whenever leaders say those words. You know your business would be better served with more infrastructure and better-trained employees. Still, the gravitational pull of day-to-day activities prevents you from dedicating the time needed to train your employees properly.
Why are you not investing in your employees?
It is important to acknowledge why you need to make time to train employees properly. You may believe it is better to do things yourself or that you do not have enough time in your schedule to train employees. This is short-term thinking and limits your growth. It is critical to assess how you are currently spending your time and identify tasks that you can defer or eliminate to allocate time for training and developing your employees.
Benefits of investing in your employees
Carla A. Harris’s book Lead to Win cites that taking the time to understand your team’s developmental needs and designing opportunities and projects that allow them to learn and develop expertise is vital to driving employee engagement and motivation. You want highly productive and loyal employees. To get this, you must invest in their development.
Better performance: Properly training employees will equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs well. This leads to higher productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Happier employees: Investing in your employees shows them you care about their growth and development. This boosts their morale, motivation, and loyalty. They also feel more valued and respected, which reduces stress and conflict.
Improved comfort delegating: The more confidence you have in your employees’ abilities, the easier it will be for you to delegate tasks to them. This will free up your time and energy so you can be more strategic and focus on the things you do best. You also empower them to take more ownership and responsibility for their work.
Better employee retention: When your employees know that you care about their development and provide them with growth opportunities, you are more likely to be loyal to your organization. All employees want to be valued, and there are few better ways to show someone you value them than helping them pursue their professional goals.
How to train your employees
Now that you know why investing in your employees is important, let's consider how to do it effectively. In Morey Stettner’s book Skills for New Managers, he highlights the importance of delegating assignments to employees in the right way. He emphasizes that it is essential for managers to outline tasks, communicate why they are important, provide room for employees to ask questions, and provide ongoing support.
Here are some steps to ensure you are putting in sufficient pre-work before delegating takes to employees.
Tell them what you want to be done: Before you start training your employees, make sure they understand what the goal of the training is, what the expected outcomes are, and how they will be evaluated. This will help them focus on the right things and avoid confusion or frustration.
Show them how to do it: Once you have explained what you want done, demonstrate how to do it yourself or use an expert or a peer. Use clear instructions, examples, and feedback to guide them. Ensure they can see and understand the critical aspects of completing the task.
Let them do it: After showing them how to do it, give them a chance to practice independently or with a partner. Observe them closely and provide constructive feedback and encouragement. Correct any mistakes or misunderstandings as soon as possible.
Have them teach others: The final step of training your employees is to have them teach others what they have learned. This will help them reinforce their learning, identify gaps or errors, and boost their confidence and communication skills.
Supporting Employees During Learning Process
You will find that some people you work with need to gain skills in taking instruction and retaining information provided during training. As the teacher, you can increase the likelihood of your lessons being retained by influencing your employees to:
Take notes: Taking notes can help your employees remember what they have learned better and refer to it later. Please encourage them to write down the training session's key points, steps, tips, and questions. If you still need training material on the topic you are coaching on, give the employee the responsibility of creating a training document to train future employees.
Brief back what they have learned at each step: Briefing back is a technique where you ask your employees to summarize or repeat what they have learned. This will help you check their understanding, clarify questions or misconceptions, and reinforce their retention.
Encourage them to ask questions along the way: Asking questions is a sign of curiosity and engagement. Encourage your employees to ask questions whenever they are unsure or confused about something during the training session. This will help them learn more effectively and avoid mistakes or misunderstandings later.
Commitment to executing tasks at a high level: At the end of the training session, ask your employees what commitments they are willing to make around the task. The act of giving their word can reinforce the importance of the tasks they are being assigned.
Developing people can be one of the most rewarding parts of your work. You benefit from watching someone build new skills, gain confidence, and establish new competency. You free up your time, energy, and mindshare to complete other tasks. And you build value for your organization by generating a better return on everyone’s time. Prioritizing people’s development can be challenging but worth the effort. I challenge you to identify one task you can delegate to an employee this week. Identify an employee that has potential, allocate time to train them, and see what happens. My guess is that you will enjoy the benefits of seeing your employees grow while also creating space for yourself to lead at a higher level.
Thank you for reading this blog
Dorian Cunion is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals, and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.
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