How exciting! You just hired a new pet sitting employee for your company and now comes the training period. But how exactly do you teach someone and ensure that they not only understand but will agree to all the policies and procedures you have created for your business? How do you make sure they respect the boundaries that they are working in and your position as their boss?
Every day you’ll fight an uphill battle if the rules and boundaries of your pet sitting company aren’t properly set up. That means having a training program that teaches your staff members the employee handbook and training manual.
If you don’t have these things, prepare for your foot to hurt a lot – and often – as you’re basically shooting at it as soon as you pop out of bed.
Just having rules isn’t enough, though.
They need to be clear, constantly updated and taught in a way that ensures employees
A) understand and
Requirement #1 When Employees Understand:
For new pet sitting employees to understand rules, you’ll need a few different things during training such as:
- Funny videos, pictures, and good personal stories stressing the importance of certain policies.
- Handbook and policies are written in language that is simple, easy to read, and to the point.
- An effective shadowing process to tie up loose ends at the culmination of training.
- A process of about 1-2 weeks. It should be drawn out over a few days (and up to a few weeks) and may include shadowing in the field too.
- Ultimately, the best way to make sure they’ve satisfied your company’s “understanding” requirement is that you could administer an employee-exam covering important policies and things employees frequently mess with.
Requirement #2 When New Pet Sitting Employees Agree:
When it comes to agreeing, we aren’t just talking about signing on the dotted line. When your employees don’t just know the policy, but truly agree with it, you’ll have an easier time offering them constructive criticism and giving out consequences. It’s your job to make sure they agree. You’ll want to go out of your way for this one.
Include Your New Pet Sitting Employee To Get Them To Agree
During training, let them engage with you about policy and keep open the possibility of you tweaking or changing the rules based on their advice. Verbalize to them that you’d truly do something like that.
Create multiple opportunities like this to give them skin in the game. Hear their concerns and make them feel as comfortable as humanly possible to offer such wisdom back. Stay strong when you must.
Be ready to defend and explain the reasons why certain policies mean so much to you. If you write policy with a strong moral and safety background, you’ll have little to debate.
Create and Discuss Hypothetical Scenarios To Get Your New Pet Sitting Employees To Agree:
You should make sure that you go out of your way to ensure they agree with all the policies. Help your new pet sitting employees come up with issues they might experience.
Come up with separate hypothetical examples of employees where mistakes were met with constructive criticism,
A) getting a strike
B) being suspended
C) getting fired
Show them how, in each example, you didn’t get upset, but simply gave the consequence. Ask them if this type of system they can be happy operating under. Get them, beyond all doubt, to say “I 100% agree to how this company runs.” Then, you can finally have them sign on the dotted line of your company’s employment agreement (that was looked at by your employment lawyer!).
The Business (You) Will Come Out The Good Guy:
When you get your new pet sitting employees to understand and agree, you preserve the relationship; the system does the consequence giving, not you. Giving consequences are already awkward enough.
Giving consequences in a, non-confrontational manner, with as little words and interaction from your part, is how it’s done right. Do, however, tell them to please voice their concerns if they have any – and hear them with unconditional empathy and a refusal to argue.
Don’t offer any more than you must on your end though – let the system do the talking. When you do it this way, you simultaneously preserve your relationship and boundaries. Then, the only thing you’ll have to focus on is giving the rewards – something that is much more powerful and wayyy more fun anyhow.
David Steinberg is the owner of David’s Pet Services (DPS) – a Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Co. based out of West Hartford, CT. In his last profession, he was a certified psychotherapist where he worked 1-on-1 with children and young adults and provided psychoeducation to adults on parenting.
David feels the transition from therapist to dog trainer and business owner was seamless – with lesson learned including conflict resolution, positive reinforcement, and relationship building, he now feels equipped to ensure obedient doggy-clients, satisfied human-clients, happy employees, and a healthy business.