As a small business owner, it can take a lot of money, time and resources to properly train a new employee. This is especially true if you’ve hired more than one person and don’t have a specific employee dedicated to the task of training new people. With limited resources, it is tempting to expect new employees to learn on the job from seasoned employees, however, this is not a good training plan. By inadequately training your employees, you run the risk of landing yourself a staff you can’t depend on.
Here are four ways untrained employees hurt your business:
1.) Low Production Value
New employees don’t feel as much of an attachment to your company as their counterparts and without full buy in, they are not as interested in helping you grow or succeed. Why should they invest effort if you aren’t going to invest any time in showing them how the company turns a profit, and how their job plays a role in that?
New employees are unable to show you how their skills add value because they aren’t yet clear on the expectations of the company. If you don’t show them, they’ll guess – and likely create chaos along the way! This causes frustration for both you and the employee, and certainly doesn’t make them interested in going above and beyond by learning a new skill, participating in company activities outside of the office, or coming up with new ideas to help scale the company. You have to give them a reason to care and investing time to adequately train them is a good first step.
2.) Unhappy Employees
Employees who aren’t properly trained are generally unhappy about it. No one likes feeling like they are doing a bad job, especially if they believe they haven’t been given the opportunity to prove themselves. Most employees know if they aren’t performing as well as they could be…and it is frustrating for them too! When people are frustrated, they end up making more mistakes, and give up on caring about the final product. That can be disastrous for the company because at some point, the client will notice and the quality of your brand will diminish. Happy employees often means happy clients.
3.) Lost Time and Money
When an untrained employee makes a mistake, the time and materials used are lost. Now, another employee (or the owner) has to take time away from their own job to correct the mistake. If another employee fixes the error, you are paying double for one finalized product and this becomes a drain on everyone. Senior employees become increasingly irritated because they are helping others too much and can’t meet their own deadlines. Week after week, resentment builds and now you risk losing top employees trying to save time and money on new ones. Small businesses rarely have a financial plan that includes two people doing the same job so investing in training can prevent this scenario.
4.) Loss of Clients
If you’re clients notice that an employee is not well-trained, your business is in trouble. If they are noticing, it most likely means there was a negative shift in the quality of the service your company is providing. If loss of quality continues week after week, your clients will simply find someone else to use.
Poorly trained employees also tend to have a hard time communicating the value your business brings to the table. When they can’t give a good elevator pitch at a networking event, or struggle to upsell clients new products and services, you lose potential revenue, and the employee ends up costing you more than the value you thought they would bring.
So what can you do if your employees need training?
For starters, allocate a few hours to review who knows what in your company. You may be surprised at what they know, or don’t know, and it will likely expose gaps where training may be needed.
You might also start setting aside “training funds” for professional development in your annual financial plan. Some companies offer to send their employees through leadership programs with local organizations and that would qualify as a professional development expense. You may also hire an outside consultant or HR company to train new hires, or have a seasoned employee’s job description change to include training.
Whatever you decide to do, expect to make a time commitment for training when you hire new people. They cannot take things off yours, or anyone else’s plate, without the right guidance.
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