When applying for a new job or considering a job offer, “opportunity for growth” is the second most important thing people look for—right after salary.
When looking at the millennial audience, in particular, a whopping 46% of survey respondents said they left their last job for growth potential.
The point here is that your employees actually want to work to your standards. They want to learn and grow. They want to be engaged, and they want to get more involved over time.
You would think that this hunger to grow means that each new hire will, thus, always be ready to work and work hard—and even up to your own standards.
And yet, there’s a disconnect somewhere along the way. New hires choose to work with you, having measured what room there is to grow. So, why aren’t they growing? How can you motivate staff to work consistently to your standards? Where’s that hunger gone?
The short answer is: training. You have to train your staff correctly in order to work to your standards, or that expectation will never be met.
The long answer brings us to these 5 essential steps.
1. Know Your Standards
A funny thing happens when we communicate. Whether it’s a conversation, an email, or a job description, we have a very clear idea in our heads of what it is we want to transmit.
But then the receiving side doesn’t always picture what we had in mind.
If you want your staff to work to your standards, you must explicitly outline those standards. Start with a little soul searching to find the words, and take notes: what standards do you hold yourself to? What inspires you to meet those standards?
This exercise is a necessary starting point. Anything we feel or expect in life that’s even a little abstract only takes form when we put words to it. It’s how we catalogue our world. So, take a few minutes, close the door to your office and write out what standards you have. Get specific, and include the “why” and other motivators behind each one.
2. Communicate Your Standards
Now, you’ve done the soul searching. You’ve spelled out your standards, where they come from, and what they mean to you.
Next, ensure you have the right language and channels in place to communicate those standards.
When it comes to training staff, you need to have role-by-role key performance indicators (KPIs) in place, communicated openly to each employee. Your KPIs, when clearly identified for each staff member, can help you quantify and qualify those standards you want to train staff to work to.
To measure staff properly on your key standards using KPIs, harken back to the goals and motivations behind those standards. KPIs have to be as objectively measurable as possible, or you risk opening the floodgates of inconsistency that can undo your “standards metrics” altogether.
For example, let’s say it’s your standard to “go the extra mile” for clients. What does that mean? How do you measure it? That could mean a KPI of client retention, or of clients contacted just to “check in” during a given week.
3. Streamline Training
What a buzzword—streamline. What does that mean, “streamline training?”
Streamlining anything means locking in a system to make it happen. This includes an outline of what the process needs to achieve, the steps to get there, and the accountabilities to make those steps easy to follow for all players involved.
In training your staff to work to your standards, your system starts with those same KPIs we just talked about. What training does an employee need to meet all those metrics?
Now, list that training out.
Next, ask yourself, how much time will that training take? Just like you need to schedule in when you check email during the day (and how much time you plan to reply to messages), you need to put real numbers on how much training can be done with your staff and in what frame of time.
Last, and equally important, you have to gather the resources you’ll need for each part of training. For example, if you’re training a client service rep, do you have all needed training documents and tools in one place? Lead sheets? Call scripts? CRM training docs?
This is where most companies’ training stops. If you really want your staff to work to your standards, let’s see what comes next.
4. Offer More Training And Ask For Feedback
One of the standards I’m willing to bet you hold dear is the hunger to continually learn and grow.If you want to support this standard for your staff, the key is offering them opportunities to learn with purpose.
Ongoing training serves two purposes:
- It builds staff knowledge and skills
- And it keeps staff engaged
Once an employee is trained in and technically knows how to do their job, if you’re at a loss for what other training to offer, there are a couple directions you can go.
First, you can consider adding new responsibilities to offer more training.
Second, you can check in with staff for feedback on what they want to learn. This gives employees a stake in the training they’re about to receive, and emboldens them to view the world through the lens of “what else can I do?”
Share this nugget with your staff, too: asking for advice or training actually makes you look smarter, according to a recent study from the Harvard Business Review. Encourage the company culture where team members know they can come to you (or go to the right person) and ask for more training in order to live up to the standards you’ve set—and even surpass them.
5. Reinforce With Company Culture
This brings us to the hardest part: promoting the same passion you have and getting your staff equally interested in what they’re doing. But how can you get employees to work to your standards, the owner of a business, when it’s not theirbusiness?
For one, make sure you share company successes along with individual successes. You can permit yourself to brag a little if it opens an opportunity to talk about how awesome your business is, along with each of the employees who work there.
Permit me a minute on my soap box. There’s a big difference between confidence and conceit, right? With confidence, you strut and say, “I’m awesome.” But with conceit, you puff your chest out and say, “I’m better than you, and you, and you…”
Most of the time, we want to be confident, but not conceited.
In business, and to create the company culture that will promote standards of excellence, however, a little conceit is a good thing. Tell your brand story and make sure your staff knows the character roles each of them play. If you believe your brand really is better than the competition, how do you back that up?
One of the biggest factors is almost always the team that makes the company up. So make sure your staff knows that.
The right company culture will pay off in many ways. And combined with these other steps, you’ll finally be able to zero-in on that age-old question of how to train staff to work to your standards. If you haven’t already, get out your pen and paper and start with step 1 right now.
Questions? Leave us a comment below!