Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’s cliche, we know, but it’s true. Great things do not manifest suddenly—they take work, and time, and patience. The same could be said of your business.
You did not imagine a business, conceptualize its workings, only to have it appear before you (and if you did, we need to talk). You had an idea that you whittled into a proposal, a proposal that you hacked into a venture, and a venture that you’ve painstakingly lifted and polished every day. Or maybe you began with the hopes and dreams of turning your broomstick into a manager’s mantle; if you did, you climbed the ladder of your industry, working harder and longer than your contemporaries to earn the title you have today. Regardless of your narrative, it took effort (and lots of it).
You understand what it takes to build a business or a career: the work, the hours, the attention. So why don’t you understand that the same concept applies to your employees, and even yourself, when it comes to training?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was effective training.
There is a misconception among retailers and manufacturers (and, in truth, most industries with a customer experience element) that training is a not a process, but an event. Most business owners and managers sign their team up for the requisite coursework—often at the time of their hiring, when they’re already bombarded with mounds of new knowledge that will leak as quickly from their minds as it is poured into it—dust off their hands, and consider training done. Unfortunately, at that stage, it hasn’t even begun.
Rome was built brick by brick, its pools filled drop by drop; tapestries were woven stitch by stitch and pots pressed by mere fingerprints. And overseeing the creation of every piece of Rome was a manager (yes, we’re pushing the metaphor—just go with it), ensuring the quality of the pieces matched the standards of the whole. Such is the process of training and your role of manager within it.
To be their most effective, employees have to have training. Constant. Steady. Training. It’s wonderful that you offer them initial training to introduce them to your business; if you sign them up for dealer trainings, even better. But none of those trainings are effective without implementation support, and without additional trainings to both bolster that foundation and build upon it.
Maybe you’re hesitant to commit to additional training because it hasn’t worked in the past. Well—that’s our point, friend. The training you invested in in the past probably didn’t work, and we can guess why:
1. You didn’t attend the training, so you couldn’t help your employees implement it in your store (that’s a conversation for another article).
2. You didn’t foster a sense of accountability in the trainings and their implementation, so your employees didn’t feel encouraged to employ them.
3. You didn’t subscribe to additional trainings to encourage your employees to continue improving.
Imagine, instead, if you had attended the trainings and understood their foundation; in that case, you could not only have helped implement them, you could have helped your employees to understand why it was important to do so. You would have felt more accountable, and could have fostered that in your employees. You could have guided them in cultivating their new good habits and practices. And you would have seen the potential of training and invested in even more.
This shouldn’t be a hypothetical story we’re crafting from the threads of possibilities; it should be your reality.
Successful training requires constant, dutiful attention, and it has to be spearheaded by a competent, passionate manager or owner. Whether or not you like it, you are the key to effective training.
First, you have to provide the training opportunities your employees need. The Mann Group has an amazing selection of courses for every level of employee, from the foundational retail education of GEAR, to the leadership lassos of Mann U: Leadership Skills Development, to the top-tier management polishing of our Mann U: Ownership Panel. We know it sounds self-serving, but we really would suggest signing up your promising employees for as many of these as you can, because that is how they will become their most successful and continue to grow.
Secondly, and even more important? You have to help them succeed. Training is, as we said, a constant process. You can sign them up for every single Mann Group offering, but without a training support system, they still might not succeed. Effective training requires true accountability and the constant, unrelenting needling of additional training. If your employee experiences GEAR, you should offer daily reminders of how to develop relationships with customers, light critiques when you see them greet someone with impatience, and laudations when they perform well. It’s your responsibility not only to offer them training, but to support them through its continuation in your business.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with deliberate, constant intention—and so is effective training.