Tips for First-Time Employers: How to Coach Employees to Success

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If you’re a first-time employer, you might not have the first idea about how to coach employees. You’ll need to think about how you can get the most out of your employees, from setting them up for success as soon as they join to offering plenty of growth and development opportunities over the course of their career.

No matter how experienced your staff members are, you can’t just throw them in at the deep end - particularly if you’re running a franchise and there is a strict code of conduct that everyone in your business needs to stick to. Here are some of our top tips to help you set your employees on the road to success. 

1. Offer comprehensive training

You can’t expect employees to turn up on their first day and understand your business, even if they’re highly experienced in your sector. Developing a comprehensive training template that can easily be adapted based on staff experience, role seniority and staff personality will make the whole process much easier. It’s also a great idea to develop a structure for staff probation periods, if you’d like to use them, so you know ahead of time how to address new-starter niggles.

You can also make life easier for yourself and your employees by preparing handy new starter packs that can be given to everyone that joins the business. That way, you’ll know exactly what you need to run through during induction sessions, while giving staff the chance to read through the information in their own time and work out any questions they have. It should be simple enough for everyone to understand, from your cleaning staff to senior management, yet extensive enough to answer most common questions. 

2. Identify existing skill sets

You will have seen your employees’ CVs and know about some of their professional experience from the interview process, but that doesn’t mean you know everything they’re capable of. They may have spent time briefly in other roles and accumulated wider knowledge that could really help them succeed in unexpected ways. 

Also, external interests and hobbies could make your staff an asset in unexpected ways. Your admin assistant may have a real flair for design, or your pot washer could be a whizz at creating dishes as well as cleaning them. 

Take the time to get to know your staff, personally and professionally, to find out how you can get the most out of them. The more you effectively utilise the talent you have, the better you’ll be able to scale, rather than grow, your business - here are 10 foolproof ways to scale a business if you need more inspiration.

3. Gauge how ambitious employees are

As an ambitious business owner, it’s likely you’re always striving to take on more responsibility and learn everything you can about, well, everything. A curious, restless nature is common among entrepreneurs. However, many people who opt for employment over self-employment are seeking a less stressful life. 

Pressures outside of work, such as a demanding home life or poor physical/mental health, could mean your employees would prefer not to take on more responsibility or worry about learning non-essential skills. That’s not to say they’re not hard working and committed; putting in 110% for them means carrying out their role efficiently or saying yes to overtime, rather than seeking out new challenges. 

If you want your employees to perform to the best of their ability, it’s important not to put pressure on them or make them feel as though you expect more than their job description asked for. Unless career progression was advertised as a key part of the role, you need to respect your employees’ wishes. Letting your employees concentrate on fulfilling their responsibilities and feeling happy at work will get more out of them than piling on unnecessary pressure to do more. 

4. Monitor performance 

In order to see if your efforts are paying off, you’ll need to monitor how well your staff are performing. Pick KPIs (key performance indicators) that are both easy to monitor and give you a strong picture of the productivity of your workforce. For example, if you’re running a fast food franchise, you could look at how many customers your staff are serving per hour, or track how long it takes for customers to receive their order after payment. 

Alternatively, if you’re running a business where customer satisfaction is more important than the volume of work, such as an education franchise, numbers might not be the best metric to track. Instead, looking at the results of customer surveys or observing your staff member at work could give you a better picture of their performance. 

If you spot that your employee’s work isn’t up to standard, careful monitoring will allow you to intervene quickly. It may be that your staff member needs more training or guidance to resolve silly mistakes, or it could be that they’re simply not right for your business. Either way, you can take steps to address any problems before they affect your operations. 

5. Make them feel appreciated

Studies have found the impact of praise on employees can make a staggering difference. Gallup discovered employees who have received praise in the last week can be up to 20% more productive. Another study, which looked at more than 200,000 participants over a ten year period, found that 79% of employees who left their jobs said a lack of appreciation was a key reason for their decision. 

Showing your staff you genuinely appreciate their efforts is one of the easiest, yet most effective, ways to coach them to success. A simple thank you, especially when they’ve gone above and beyond for the business, will make them feel motivated to continue trying their best. 

You could even reward them with small gestures for exceptional efforts or if your business has had a great month. A bottle of wine, £10 gift card or even a heartfelt email will show them why it’s worth putting in the extra effort.

Nail your employer debut

Guiding your employees to success can be tricky, but it will be so worth the effort when you’ve built a reliable and knowledgeable workforce. If you’re struggling with other aspects of being a first-time employer, we can help. Take a look at our other articles to learn more about how to be a better business owner and employer. 

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