September has actually meant quieter afternoons at the daycare, especially compared to the frenzy of summer, but it’s perfect because this year we had a staffing switchover as well. September is training season, and as much as Sarah sighs that it always dies down when you hire new staff, they’ll have their chance for hectic days. Getting them up to speed is a process.
We want new staff to contribute to the centre as soon as possible, and we know what questions they’re going to have. That’s why we have a documented “new staff training program.”
In our industry, cleaning frequency and care standards, and even training areas, are prescribed by licensing. (Check Westcoast’s Daycare manual for a list of what you need to cover.)
But even if meeting minimums is all you aspire to, a gigantic 3-ring binder is not going to train your staff. You are. With whatever tools you have available.
So create an online training program. Here’s why:
1. Stop repeating yourself
Documentation takes time, but once it’s done, you can use it forever. Hiring is supposed to free you up, and when new staff can access the material anytime, from home or elsewhere, they can train while you… do something else.
2. Live up to expectations
Your training program is more than just a list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s your opportunity to introduce an outsider to your inner workings.
Expanding on “the rules” to include the reasons, and the values behind them, not only guides performance, it gives a clear description of who you are, as a business (read: your brand), and who your employees are working for, and representing.
Plus! It’s aliiive!
When you establish new protocols, your manual is easy to update. Since everyone has access to the same, live, version, there’s no room for confusion. Let them know about the change and refer them to the page. Following the training program is the teachers’ job.
Keeping the training program alive, and active, is your’s.
3. Tracking performance… and evaluations
Let employees know that materials in the training program are the basis for performance evaluations, raises, and promotions. If mistakes are being made, bring it to staff’s attention discreetly, and as soon as possible, and send them to review the training manual, or a specific section.
The analytics of an online training program let you track progress, quiz results, and even compliance with instructions. When evaluation time comes around, employee interaction with the training manual can be a tool in your assessment.
Good manager tip: After providing guidance to a staff member, always be sure to set time aside to follow up, to answer questions and confirm understanding. Make a note of both meetings to refer to at evaluation time.
You’ve got options
Capterra has dozens of options for your online training program software, and your needs, budget, and programming skill may all come into play in your decision. Regardless of the format, creating courses “in minutes” comes down to your ability to outline your ideas, and organize them. This will take time, but it’s worth it.
Click here for the course description of the New Staff Training Program we created for Vancouver’s flexible occasional centre, Budding Children’s Garden & Daycare.