Tag Archive for: staff

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

 

How Do You Know If Your Staff Is Retaining The Info In Your Training?

 

As business owners, we spend countless hours per day dealing with all things staff. This could range from hiring and training to just answer staff questions through phone calls or text. Managing your staff is a never-ending routine, and I see it leading to burnout all too often. Maybe you’ve even had one of these thoughts cross your mind recently?

 

“Why don’t my staff just know how to do their job?”

“I cannot believe my staff didn’t know how to do XYZ”

“Are they really calling me about such a stupid question?”

“Why don’t my staff have any common sense?”

 

There are a few potential reasons why you and your staff are having this disconnect. First, your staff may not know how to find the information. Or, perhaps maybe they lack the confidence to do what they think is the right course of action. Perhaps they know the answer, but they’re so afraid of upsetting you that they just aren’t 100% sure.

Today we’re going to explore a few proven methods for how you can ensure that your staff is retaining your training materials, which will ultimately build their confidence within their role while freeing up time for you! 🙂

 

Testing & Training

What type of tests do you have for your staff? There are many kinds of tests, but some of the most popular are in-person, written, and on-the-go.

A popular method that I’ve always recommended (and used in my own business!) is to give newly hired pet sitters a written test during their orientation. My pet sitting employee handbook and training manual used to be 60+ pages long, so it really wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to expect them to remember every piece of information on every page. That’s where my 10-question written test came in – to help hone in on those key areas I really wanted my staff to remember.

 

Employee Handbook and Training Manual

 

Another type of test, the in-person test, is perfect to use during training and ride-along. Having a newly-hired pet sitter aimlessly shadowing can be overwhelming without a clear sense of direction. It’s important to be realistic and understand that the human brain is really good at retaining a few pieces of key information, but isn’t always so good at remembering all of the tiny, minute details.

One way to really drive home those important hitters is to come up with a “10 Point Visit Checklist” or something similar that you can demonstrate and walkthrough during your training visits.

Last but not least – testing is not only reserved for new hires! A great method to use for seasoned employees is testing-on-the-go. When you’re asked questions, try to refrain from just feeding them the answer.

I know that can sound a little strange, but always answering every single question point-blank can hurt your staff more than it’s helping them. You want to encourage them to think critically and teach them how to find the answer themselves, instead of reinforcing the idea that you’ll serve as an open-book of information.

 

Check out this example:

Pet Sitter: I need some help – I’m currently at a client’s home and I don’t see one of their cats. What should I do?

You: That’s a great question. What do you think you should do?

Pet Sitter: Well, first I think I should fully search the house, including all potential hiding spaces. Maybe then I can bring out some treats to try and entice the kitty to come out.

You: Perfect – give that a try first and let’s see how it goes 🙂 

 

See how much more fruitful that is for your staff? You allowed the employee to think through the problem and come up with the solution themselves, instead of you telling them outright.

 

Onboarding

Here comes the big question – how often within 3 months are you reusing your training materials? That’s right – I’m looking at all of the people who whip out their employee handbook/training manual for orientation, only for it never to be looked at again by your staff.

I get it – being a business owner is busy.

However, it’s really important to get away from the mindset that training is “one-and-done.” Training is an ongoing, never-ending learning process, so we want to make sure you are consistently reintegrating your training materials into your staff’s routine.

Let’s take a step back and do some thinking.

How many staff meetings do you have per month, quarter, or year? Of these meetings, how big/small are they? Are they mandatory, expected, or optional? What kind of meetings are they? Are they meetings over a meal, or a group Zoom call? How do you communicate with your staff? Do you use email, texting, or Slack?

Take some time to really think about these questions and determine what you’ve found to work and what you’ve found not to work.

To help with this, Liz Illg, pet business powerhouse, and myself are coming out soon with a brand-new series of 12 professionally-shot videos that you can reuse again and again for staff meetings. Stay tuned for more information on this project 🙂

 

Ways To Learn Your Training Info

It’s also important to recognize that people learn in all different kinds of ways. A one-size-fits-all approach is just simply not effective for ensuring your staff retaining your training information. In fact, research shows that there are 7 different learning styles:

  • Visual/Spatial: Using images or visual cues to process information.
    • Examples: Pictures, videos, and demonstrations.
  • Auditory/Musical: Responding primarily to sound
    • Examples: Audio recordings or audiobooks
  • Verbal/Linguistic: Learns under both verbal instruction and through writing.
    • Examples: Handbooks, training manuals, and tests.
  • Physical/Kinesthetic: Going through the motions of what is being learned.
    • Examples: Hands-on training, ridealongs
  • Logical/Mathematical: Learns through understanding the reasoning behind content and skills.
    • Examples: Dog/Cat behavior guides
  • Social/Interpersonal: Natual group workers that are engaged with others and love working within teams.
    • Examples: Group training sessions and activities.
  • Solitary/Intrapersonal: Individuals who prefer to learn on their own and keep to themselves.
    • Examples: Employee Handbook/Training Manual self-study

It’s important to understand and keep these different learning styles in mind so that you have training content that can meet the needs of any type of learner. A great start is to implement video training within your pet sitting business.  and to develop an employee handbook/training manual.

 

Ask Clients

Another way that we can make sure your staff is retaining information is to simply ask your clients! Here are a few questions that can help:

  • How clean was your house when you returned?
  • Would you recommend us to your neighbors?
  • Was your dog visibly tired after his/her walk?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how safe do you feel with us coming and going from your home?

On one hand, it makes clients feel good that their opinion matters and on the other hand, you are obtaining valuable feedback. Don’t feel pushy asking for feedback! If you do it on a regular basis, it will come to be expected and your clients won’t mind at all 🙂

Overall, pouring into your staff and a fun and resourceful way, not in a dominating way, can go a long way towards training retention. It’s important to recognize that training is not just a 2-hour orientation, but an ongoing process that’s implemented into your long term plan with employees.

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hiring

Episode 123: Solving The Hiring Problem In Your Pet Business

Abbie Hawkins is the Senior Channel Account Manager for JazzHR, the best hiring software in the pet industry. Listen in to see how over 60 pet sitting companies are turning their “I don’t have anyone to hire” problem into “I have too many qualified applicants to sift through” This is a great episode you will want to hear!

 

hiring

 

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • The two problems you will always be solving in your pet sitting or dog walking company is getting more clients and getting more staff. By having a consistent, on-going hiring funnel, we can solve the problem of staffing once and for all. By always having an abundance of staff that are able to step in at any moment’s notice, you are preventing yourself from being held hostage in your business. Hiring isn’t a means to an end – it is an on-going process!

 

Show Highlights

  • How do we change the mindset from hiring one person to having an actual hiring funnel? [5:00]
  • What happens if you don’t have the right amount of staff? [6:45]
  • How does JazzHR solve the hiring problem on a global scale? [8:00]
  • What are some tips to having a strong hiring ad? [11:00]
  • Can you describe what a knockout question is? [14:00]
  • What are some sample hiring flows you’ve seen in other businesses? [18:00]
  • How do I proceed when I have resignations and new positions to fill? [18:45]
  • Any suggestions to bring in more applicants? [23:00]

 

Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
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Links

mompreneur grouth

Episode 83: Balancing Business & Family With Mompreuner Katie Westerfield

mompreneur

Joining us today on Bella in Your Business is Katie Westerfield of Homeward Bound Pet Care out of Historic Centerville, Ohio. She is an entrepreneur (and mompreneur) in the Pet Industry. She is well versed in juggling life and business ownership as a mother of four and wife. In this episode, Bella and Katie discuss the struggles she has faced and how she became a success while managing to raise a family and be a superstar mother!

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • The moment you realize you need a staff is when you are turning clients down. They will always find someone who will be able to fit their needs if you can’t. That is when you need to grow to a point where you can hire someone to fill in the gaps.
  • Knowing how to hire and retain staff is key to success. You need to fully invest in them as a person, support them individually and in the workplace. Motivate them to do the job, coach them instead of harping or nagging. You want them to feel like they can come to you. You don’t want to always be a slave to your phone, but you don’t want to miss clients and hurt business. That’s why you need a reliable management team to pass along some of the responsibilities.
  • Being open to change is important to growth. It’s a privilege to be able to have a staff and it can be scary to grow, but it is extremely important. A staff is not a burden, but a great asset to your business. Your business will never grow unless you can delegate your workload. 
  • Don’t forget to separate your emotions from your business. You have to know when to move on from things that aren’t working, regardless of how much time you’ve spent on it. Always keep in mind where you want to go and continue to move towards it. Do not lose your positive mindset no matter setbacks or naysayers, just go for it. If you fully believe you will succeed, you will.
  • You want to have options, you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. That’s why you need to have more than one person that you rely on to help out. You could have one bad egg hold your business hostage. You may have to fire someone who is not a good fit, or you may have a worker or their child may fall ill. That’s why you need to have more than one option. You never want to have your hands tied in a situation because a staff member didn’t work out or is unavailable.
  • Show your staff you appreciate them. It’s easy, a simple text message if you know they are upset. A little gift for special occasions like wedding anniversaries, their kid’s events, or birthdays. You need to be able to separate a barrier between staff and friendship, but still, let them know your door is open and you are there for them. Knowing that someone cares goes a long way in helping them succeed.

Show Highlights:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of running a business from home with children [4:45]
  • Struggles of hiring and retaining staff [7:20]
  • Delegating your responsibilities to your staff [8:40]
  • Being open to change [14:30]
  • How mindset plays a big role in growth [17:30]
  • The business success and the importance of having a staff [20:00]
  • Ideas to reward your staff and show them that you care [22:30]

Tweetables:

[Tweet “”If something is not working in your company rewrite what you’re doing, change your process.””]

[Tweet “”It feels great to be able to extract money from the economy and insert it to these awesome people that work for you.””]

[Tweet ““You have to constantly keep looking forward.””]

[Tweet ““Everyone controls that mindset. If you think you can’t, you won’t. If you think you can, you will.””]

Links:

Get to know Katie and the Homeward Bound Pet Care team!

Find them on the web at HWBPetCare.com

Follow Homeward Bound Pet Care on Facebook!

Share The Show:

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’
pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gift Ideas To Give Your Staff

There’s nothing quite like the squeals of excitement when your surprise someone with a gift. It’s even better when you’re rewarding your hard working employees with heartfelt appreciation. Day in and day out our employees put in their effort, energy, and time away from their home and family for our businesses. That’s why these 5 holiday gifts to give your staff are the perfect ideas to really show just how much they mean to you.

 

Think about it: Our employees are the backbones of our business. They are the faces our clients see, they are the ones we trust to show up as scheduled. This holiday season make sure your staff knows that you really care.

We talked with some of our closest pet sitting and dog walking business owners and here are 

pet sitting staff gifts

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gifts To Give Your Staff:

 

Take Them Out On The Town

Our friend, Cheryle Meyer Stadler took her 6 Employees to a  VIP party at the Improv. They all enjoyed  dinner, drinks and front row entertainment with a guest of their choice. Even more, they also got a bonus, personalized wine glasses complete with a dog-inspired wine tags, plus a goodie bag full of awesome things like candy, hand sanitizer, flashlights, lanyards, nail polish, & lip stuff.

 

Send Them On a Getaway

Another great idea we got was from Krista Cugno Lofquist. She decided to give her hardworking Office Managers a trip or a cruise. Start searching now for a Groupon or Expedia and give them a much needed vacation. Our office managers work endlessly running the day to day tasks needed for a successful business, that’s why they truly deserve it! Sometimes even a stay-cation would do the trick!

christmas gifts to give your staff

Personalized Gifts

In previous years Krista also got each sitter and groomer a piece of pawprint jewelry, some with a birthstone, others with diamonds. How sweet is that? Try to find a local jeweler to get a great deal on a bulk order. This is such a wonderful idea that Katie Westerfield also gave out personalized jewelry one year. She gave pandora bracelets with the paw print dog bowl charm to her staff of three. Her staff posted about how great their boss was with pictures on Facebook. That’s how much they loved it!

Lindsay Licata likes to make things a bit more personal. She says, “I got one of my girls a beanie hat that has cat ears (Amazon $10), another one new cat dishes for her cat, a soap and cream set, a couple bath and body sets…..” What a great way to let your staff know that you put some personal through into what you got them. 

holiday gifts to give your staff

Bonuses

Sometimes when you have a larger staff it can be hard to do group parties. Pet sitting businesses aren’t set up like normal offices, where we all can break in the lunchroom for cake and punch for the holidays. That’s why Lucy Moore offers her employees cash by way of a bonus through payroll or even a year of membership at Costco. This is a perfect option for larger staffs and tougher schedules to coordinate. Speaking of Costco, they have great client gifts too!

Liz Chancey says  I always give cash. It’s not very creative, but I always loved receiving cash at Christmas. Plus, if they are having a hard time financially it’s helpful to them. I only have 3 employees and I give $50.00 to each.”

Samantha Busser also does cash with a twist: We do a girl’s day out every year (on their)  “workaversary” and Christmas with a nice lunch, a movie, and mani pedis, sometimes an old fashioned sleep over with girly movies and junk food lol, and for Christmas I also do a $50 cash bonus and some kind of gift, which I usually spend $25+ on.

 

Gift Cards

Everyone agrees that gift cards are a great way to go. For some, they can seem a little impersonal, so try to tailor the gift card to each person. Whether it’s a local boutique, pet store, or their favorite cafe, it’s more special when they know you were thinking of them specifically. Costco often sells them for 25% off, so check there first.

 

Even More Ideas… BONUS ROUND:

After I posted this article, I heard of even more awesome ideas that I couldn’t not add to the list. Take a look:

Christmas Lights and A Limo:

Sharon Jones says, “We are going out to eat this year and then a limo is picking us up and we are going to look at Christmas lights. We will have a gift exchange at the restaurant, we make it a game like white elephant but the gifts they bring are really nice. We limit to $25. Then we have for each of our staff members Holly Cook’s book “My End of the Leash”. We are celebrating this Sunday evening, I am excited!”   (BELLA NOTE: I have that book and I highly recommend it!!!)

Once you have picked out the best gifts for your staff let the fun begin!  Watching their eyes light up like twinkling lights and getting a big hug will make your day just as much as theirs. Plus, you’ll know your staff is assured of your appreciation, which is priceless. I always say, keep your staff happy, and they will keep your clients happy!

 

gifts to pet sitting clients

Employee Quick Start