No one is born an expert.
No one rides a bike perfectly the first time. No one cooks eggs properly the first time, or even the 99th time in my personal case. And sure, there are prodigies like Mozart or Picasso, but even they had to work their way towards mastering their crafts. Everybody starts somewhere at some point bad and slow. But, with enough time and the right strategy you can work toward that expert level.
In B2B SaaS, you’re constantly training yourself or others to be more effective operators. And sometimes with certain tasks, you may not be riding a bike or cooking eggs, but you are figuring out the best posting strategy or how to be effective on sales calls, etc. And sometimes with certain tasks it helps to have a guide to get there faster.
And because learning is a tedious process, folks like Chris Ronzio have made it their mission to make it easier. As Trainual’s CEO, Chris serves the need to simplify processes and make things easier for people to learn, train, and monitor their process of teams and organizations. In this episode, Chris gives us tips on how to train our teams and scale their skills to meet their highest potential.
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The best-run company is one that everybody knows their job, their role, they've got low turnover — they’re able to grow and maintain their culture.”
A training program is an activity or series of activities designed to prepare and equip, new or existing, employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully execute their role within an organization.
Having a comprehensive and effective training program is extremely important in order to successfully scale your business. You’ve likely heard that your company’s as good as the people you hire. Well, it’s also true that you need to set them up for success. The better informed and equipped they are to take on their role, the faster (and more effectively) they’ll be able to help you grow your business.
What to do today:
- Follow Chris Ronzio.
- Schedule a time to meet with your Human Resources or Operations team to evaluate your training program/s.
What to do next:
Design or optimize your training program.
Designing a program from scratch may seem daunting, but as Chris points out, it doesn’t have to be. If your business is already operating then all it takes is capturing the process that already exists. However, in order to design a solid program you need to understand the reason and purpose for training. This helps you set expectations so your trainees also understand why they’re needing to undergo the training and how it will help them be successful.
If you're designing your program from scratch, here's how Chris suggest you get started:
- Keep it simple
- Make the information digestible for your employees.
- Use videos with text — easily scanned and searchable.
- The best way to create training is to record it as you're doing it.
- Start with telling the company story
- Tell your story during orientation in a way that employees can resonate and connect with. This includes everything that adds context to your company and why it exists.
- Organize your program by the different departments in your organization
- What are the different departments and functions?
- What are the different roles and responsibilities for each department and function?
- What knowledge and information is needed?
- At the department level
- At the role level
If you're looking to scale your training, Chris says there are 5 Things Your Company's Training Program Needs Right Now:
1. A repeatable product or service
Of course you have a product or service, or you wouldn't be in business. Plain and simple, right? Sort of.
Many businesses have extremely customizable products and services, around which it's incredibly hard to build processes. It's like the caricaturist at the park who can only hire really good artists so they can customize every painting or drawing for each customer. It's not a product that can be easily replicated by someone other than a skilled artist.
On the other hand, if your business prints replica artwork, you can easily hire someone to run the printer, or to package the order. You must have established, repeatable processes before you are ready to scale.
2. A clear way to deliver that product or service
Some businesses want to be all things to all people, which almost always backfires. I've gone through this myself over my 19-year career, so I can relate. But when it comes to the delivery of your products or services, the best bet is to simplify, not pacify.
If you reinvent the wheel every time the product is delivered or fulfilled upon, it will not only create inefficiencies, but make it near impossible to build a system around.
3. A clear role for each person who delivers that product or service
If there are blurred lines in your company, and too much crossover between who does what, new business will almost always lead to more confusion. You have to have clear handoffs between each role.
At the barbershop I go to, everyone chips in answering phones, greeting customers, sweeping, cutting hair and collecting payment. But on the busiest days, no one can answer the phone. Hair collects everywhere on the floor. Customers are frustrated waiting for their barber to return from the cash register. To really scale, they would need a dedicated receptionist. Are you ready to hire your receptionist, or does everyone still have a hand in everything?
4. A timeline for how long it will take to get someone up to speed
If you don't know how long it will take to train a new hire, you won't be able to gauge when you need to hire -- and this can leave you in the lurch if you grow and don't have the resources to fulfill on the new business. When you're starting to train people, you need to think backward and identify when you're going to run into a capacity issue.
For instance, if you know how many customer support tickets your current team can handle, but you don't know how long it will take to get a new hire up and running in that role, you won't know when to hire to accommodate growth, even if you can predict when you will be at 100 percent capacity on support tickets.
5. Concisely documented material
If your training materials are disorganized and hard to consume, your people might interpret them in a different way than you intended, or worse yet, disregard them altogether. Have just enough specificity to communicate how to do something, without overloading your team with extraneous details.
My company has everything so precisely documented that I could lose half my staff tomorrow, and have a new team up to speed in a matter of days. Of course, I don't want that to happen, but the takeaway is that documenting the roles within your business and the processes attached to those roles makes onboarding and training something that is repeatable and...drum roll...scalable. It also can save you a lot of money and time, which is something any C-level executive I've ever met would get behind.
So, keep your sights set on scaling. But don't forget that a key building block of scaling your company successfully is preparing your training to scale, too. Here's to moving onward, and way upward.
Read Chris' full column: 5 Things Your Company's Training Program Needs Right Now
What to do within the next year:
Begin rolling out your new or optimized training program. As always, constant monitoring of the output is necessary. If you're not getting the results you want, you need to re-evaluate your training program. Check for unclear or unrealistic expectations, any missing steps, etc. And if you feel your training is solid, then you’ll need to evaluate the experience and who you hired.
As Chris states: Training on expectations + experience = results.
Who should own this?
It depends on the structure of your organization, but training is typically owned by your HR or Operations department.
Who's up next week?
Next week, Jasper's Dave Rogenmoser talks to us about reducing operational inefficiencies.
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This is a Paddle production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.