1. It is Fundamental
To me, training is the heart and soul of a company, and it has to be at the very top of an operator’s priorities. Your associates are your No. 1 asset; when they succeed, you succeed.
2. Focus on Customers
Our onsite associates have to provide prospects and residents with a great experience. That is simply a must, so that’s a huge focus of our training and development program.
3. Emphasize Online Reputation
Online reviews and social media comments play a critical role in how prospects and residents can view a community, so onsite associates need to be well versed in how to respond.
4. Calm New Hires’ Nerves
You can ease that anxiety and help them get off to a great start at your company with a welcome letter and gift. Make sure you provide them with all the information they need for new-hire orientation: From where to park to what to wear. Helping them feel prepared and welcome will put them in the proper frame of mind.
5. Make It Mobile-Friendly
At Bainbridge, our training program consists of in-person classes, live Webex sessions and on-demand programs. To make training as convenient and efficient as possible for our associates, the Webex classes and on-demand sessions are easily accessed via mobile devices.
6. Don’t Go On and On
Our rule is that no training class should last longer than 45 minutes – and that includes the opening greeting and the Q&A at the end.
7. Make it Hands-On
Lectures are valuable, but most people can only pay full attention for so long. Appeal to different learning styles and add some spice with roleplay during training sessions to prepare for customer interactions. Have new hires gain some practical experience by filling out actual guest cards and other forms they will use.
8. Have Some Fun
Associates may dread what they feel are going to be drab training sessions, but employee development should never be boring. Add some fun to training by playing games and asking trivia questions. These can really reinforce learning and can foster a relaxed atmosphere in which associates can bond.
9. Company-Wide Contribution
Everyone has to be invested, from the CEO on down. Executives and managers should be ready to serve as mentors. Everyone must help foster a culture that says, “We are here to develop our associates. We want to promote from within, and we want to develop our people to be the best that they can be.”
10. See No. 1.
It has to be a fundamental part of your corporate culture. I know this is a repeat of No. 1, but that’s because I believe in this so strongly!
Heidi Jehlicka is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Employee Development at The Bainbridge Companies, Wellington, Fla.