Training Employees

One of your business goals should be to make yourself redundant. When your store works just fine without you, you’re free to focus your time and effort on growing the business, take vacations, expand to multiple locations if you want, or otherwise have options that you don’t have when the business depends on you for daily needs.

An early step in this process is training employees. We’ll skip choosing what you need, the hiring process, the review process, and all that for now and go straight to the process of training a new hire.

Written Procedures

Ideally, you have written down all your procedures and employees can refer to these procedures as needed. A written guide isn’t a substitute for real training; it’s a crutch that employees can refer to for a quick reference. It’s also a means of standardization that can ensure that everyone is being taught the same thing. You can produce it on demand if there’s ever a question.

Duration of Training

I was spending four days at FLGS training a new hire, but I was about to increase the time to five days.  In my experience, training for 4 days allowed time to teach all of the procedures, but it didn’t allow enough time to practice those techniques under supervision, and the common exceptions to the rules didn’t always show up. You might spend more time training if you have multiple departments or categories to your business; FLGS didn’t sell comics, for example, so my operations might be simpler than yours.

You might spend less time if you schedule multiple employees together. Mine generally worked solo, so they had to have a full skills set before they were allowed to “fly solo.” In this case, you’re still training; you’re just shortening the full-time training period.

Training the Trainers

When you’re ready, train a permanent staff member to train new hires the way you want. Monitor their progress and check up on employees. Constantly fine-tune the process for regular improvement. My trainers used a training checklist. I am certain that operations require material not listed on the checklist.

I’m giving you my actual training checklist that my trainers use. Some of it might be particular to FLGS and meaningless to use. Some items might refer to specific brands or software, but you can figure out which items those are.

If you see missing components, feel free to mention it to me. That sort of information is useful for my ongoing attempts at educating store owners.