There's no way around it: new hires need training. Without it, your employees may be more than unprepared for their role. They might be more prone to work accidents and mistakes, too.
Make sure your business doesn't forget these four important (and often overlooked) training essentials.
1. Employee Safety
When your business is construction or manufacturing, thinking about employee safety is usually top of mind. But according to Dr. Sy Islam (@IOSyIslam), an assistant professor of industrial organizational psychology at Farmingdale State College (@FarmingdaleSC) and a consultant with Talent Metrics, that may not be the case for office workers.
“Safety training that is considered unessential is easier to forget because it doesn't affect the core business,” says Dr. Islam.
Unfortunately, even a seemingly "safe" office has…
- Tripping hazards (e.g., cartons of paper stored by the copier).
- Slick surfaces (e.g., water spills in the break room).
- Repetitive motion risks (e.g., typing that causes carpal tunnel syndrome).
These risks might not impact your core business, but they can affect your employees’ health.
Training tip: Teach new employees what to do when they find potential hazards in the workplace. Be sure you have sufficient Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which can help pay for medical expenses when employees are hurt on the job.
2. Customer Safety
Businesses with a lot of foot traffic, such as retail stores, have to consider customer safety, too. That means making public spaces safe, but it also encompasses the products you sell.
Brandon Leopoldus (@LeopoldusEsq), president of The Leopoldus Professional Corporation, says, “Avoid handing customers potentially dangerous products to limit the liability of the company.” Leopoldus also recommends small-business owners place warnings of possible dangers where potentially hazardous products are displayed.
Training tip: Salespeople like to put products in customers’ hands, but that can lead to bodily injuries and General Liability Insurance claims. If your products are inherently hazardous, make sure your salespeople follow established safety and warning protocol before they hand anything to customers.
3. Discrimination Issues
Leopoldus notes no one likes talking about discrimination and harassment, but “with the modern employment landscape, it is vital for small-business owners to provide training on these topics and to educate their entire workplace on discrimination and harassment issues.” He says employers can limit their liability by providing substantive training in these areas.
Training tip: If the topics seem too hot button for you, Dr. Islam suggests purchasing general compliance training.
Keep in mind that protecting your business from discrimination claims begins with the hiring process. Get tips in “5 Interview Questions that Can Get You Sued.”
Let’s face it: a lot training goes in one ear and out the other. And while it’s tempting to assume your adult employees can take care of themselves, as their employer, you're responsible for them.
When you look at it that way, new employee training is a risk management strategy. Donna Meek (@dgmeek), vice president of business development at Staff One (@staffonehr), says you can make the information stick with these tips:
- Provide an agenda. A plan reduces trainee anxiety and may get them excited for upcoming topics.
- Keep it fun and interactive. Breakout activities keep people energized. Meeks says starting off with an icebreaker gets trainees out of their comfort zone.
- Use visuals. Visual presentations keep trainees engaged and appeal to visual learners.
- Use quizzes, Q&As, and interactive discussions. These reinforce learning.
- Give frequent breaks. Schedule short intermissions to avoid information overload.
At the end of training, Meeks suggests getting feedback. Find out what employees found most helpful so you can fine-tune your training.
Employees can be your biggest assets, but they also expose your business to risk. Learn more in “How to Fight Your 4 Big Employee Risks with Business Insurance.”