Good help may be hard to find, but your work as a small business owner is not finished after they accept your job offer. Every employee, regardless of experience, must transition from new hire to fully integrated staff member. A well-designed orientation and training program can help expedite this process, and reduce the likelihood of turnover.

In just 60 seconds, we'll show you how to lay the foundation for an orientation and training program tailored to your business.

0:60 Define the Job.
Training and orientation actually begin with the hiring process. Each position should have a written job description detailing specific responsibilities, performance and evaluation criteria, relationships with other functions within the business, etc.

0:51 .Then Define the Training Needs
While a job's title and basic functions may be the same from one business to another, your business may have specific processes, equipment, policies and production standards. Determine which elements require hands-on training, classroom formats, manuals or a combination of approaches. Depending on your time commitments and communications skills, it may be worthwhile to hire an experienced human resources trainer and/or writer to prepare these materials.

0:42 Assign a Mentor
If you already have employee on staff performing similar tasks, ask him/her to help guide the new hire through training and orientation. Beyond simply helping with "learning the ropes," the mentor can answer questions and monitor the new employee's progress. Even if you also delegate evaluation responsibility to this person, stay involved with the process as much as possible. There's nothing like encouragement from "the boss" to help motivate a new employee.

0:34 Be Patient
Even veteran workers may need time adjusting to new work environments, processes and expectations. Allow sufficient time to get up to speed, but also be alert to problems such as repeated mistakes or inconsistent performance. The answer may be as simple as some follow-up guidance, additional practice and closer oversight. The small business experts at SCORE can help you gauge the effectiveness of your training and orientation program, and offer valuable suggestions for improvement.

0:21 Make Training a Two-way Street
Encouraging questions and feedback during orientation and training may sound like a no-brainer. But you should be prepared to learn something yourself. New employees can provide a fresh perspective on the way your business operates. Along with gaining additional help, you may have also hired someone who can take the lead in implementing changes that will benefit your company and your customers.

0:09 Keep it Coming
The training process should continue throughout the employee's career with your company. A comprehensive professional development program will help your entire staff acquire skills and knowledge that will keep your business competitive.

Brought to you by SCORE"Counselors to America's Small Business"

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