S M A L L - B U S I N E S S - P R O B L E M - N U M B E R - 5


Handling difficult employees, using training programs, and complying with labour laws

If you want your business to grow you must train your employees. Training is necessary both to induct new employees, and to help your existing ones upgrade their skills. Good training will help your workers to become more productive. Further, by training your employees, you are encouraging them to stay with you.

Training may take the form of:

  • Induction training, when you train someone to do a job he has not done before.

  • Remedial training, where you attempt to correct errors or mistakes made by workers in a particular job; and

  • Development training, where you train an employee to do his job better and faster, but with safety rules in mind.

The need for induction training is obvious. When you employ a new worker, he will work well only after you have shown him what he has to do, and how. There is room for much more remedial training in most countries, especially developing ones. Many periodic errors and oversights appear in the work of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, who, in many African countries are the poorly educated. Ignorance or prejudice then often makes the White boss think that this is due to design, or sloth, and the worker is then paid off. More often than not, remedial training could save the situation. Improvement training is becoming more and more important as the pace of technological changes quickens. New methods; new markets; and the computer. All these things call for new skills, which can be obtained only by training. We recommend to our clients that they read the book, "What Managment Is." Check our online book store and read this fine book, What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business

Whatever the type of training you are using, you must ensure that you do it in the fastest and easiest way. Take time to plan your training. During the Second World War the Training Within Industry Program of the U.S. Government had the task of training millions of people to do the jobs of men who had gone abroad to fight. The training program was based on the latest scientific knowledge about, how people learn, and succeed spectacularly. The procedure outlined below s is based on that program, and is successfully used by a number of South African mines and chain stores. The following two sections give you the core techniques.

  • Get ready to instruct. Here are four "get ready" points it would be well to take care of before the new worker appears for instruction.

    • Have a timetable showing how much skill you expect him to have and how soon. Answer to yourself this statement, "Employee should be able to do what job and do it well by what date."

    • Break down the job. You know that there is one standard way to do every job. You know too that there are "key point" in every operation that make or break it. There is an easy, quick way to get the job done clearly outlined in your own mind. Fill out a "Break down Sheet" for each of your operations. It only takes three to five minutes. This is for you own use. It is not to be given to the worker.

    • Have everything ready. Be sure you have the right equipment, materials, and tools.

    • Have the work place properly arranged. Have it just as the worker will be expected to keep it. When you have everything right, the worker is more likely to follow the same pattern

  • How to train. Here is what you should do every time you instruct a worker or correct his work.

    • Put him at ease. Remember he can't think straight if you make him embarrassed or scared. Find out what he already knows about the job. Don't tell him things he already knows. Start in where his knowledge ends. Get him interested in learning the job. Explain to him how his job or operation is related to the final product so that he knows his work is important. Place him in the correct position. Don't have him see the job backwards, or from any angle other than his own working angle.

    • Present the operation. Tell, show him, illustrate and ask him carefully and patiently the "key points" which will make of break the operation---maybe make or break him. Put it over in small "doses ". He, the same as all of us, can catch but a few new ideas at one time and really understand them. Repeat the job and the explanation if necessary.

    • Try out his performance. Test him by having him perform the job. Have him tell and show you how it is done; have him explain the "key points" Be patient and go slowly. Get accuracy first and speed later. Ask him questions and correct his errors, but don't bawl him out or indicate that he is "thick" or "dumb". Continue doing all this until you know that he knows his work thoroughly.

    • Follow-up. Put the worker on his own. He has to "get the feel" of the job by doing it himself. Designate to whom he should go if he needs help. Encourage questions and check frequently, perhaps every few hours or few days later on. Be careful not to take over the job too soon or too often. Don't take it over at all, if you can point out what his error is and how he should correct it. Taper off this extra coaching until he is able to work under normal supervision.

Apart from the above rules, which apply to all types of training, you should also remember that there are various situations in which you can do training.
  • On-the-job training is the most usual method. It requires a great deal of the supervisor's time, but does not take the employee away from the job into a classroom. Its main advantage is that the worker produces while he is training. One disadvantage is that it tends to be haphazard because the supervisor has to attend to his own job as well while he is training the new man, so that the training may not be orderly or comprehensive. Another disadvantage is that on-the-job training may lead to costly production errors and interruptions, if the trainee forms part of a production team while being trained.

    Still, the method is useful for training new employees whose training would not take more than a few days at most, or where the skills to be taught involve a few days at most, or where the skills to be taught are simple and acquired easily. You may also use it to retrain present employees from doing one job to doing another that is very similar. Finally, on-the-job training can help you cut out or decrease the continuous repetition of certain mistakes.

    Handling problems with difficult employees, who are resistant to being trained or retrained? Our partner "Bacal & Associates" have a range of excellent products, such as books, guides, seminars, and training programmes, with special reference to "Defusing Hostile Customers" and "Conflict Prevention in the Workplace", plus more important issues. Check this site for more information and free services, and you will find it makes managing a small business that much easier.Buy Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - The Book (Electronic Delivery) or Buy Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook - Electronic Version

  • Group training by means of discussions, lectures, and role-playing are especially useful when you introduce a new machine, or a new method. Also when you wish to teach sales techniques {and you can then use role-playing for practice purposes}, or; when you wish to develop high morale and a strong team spirit.

    Use factory representatives to lecture you salesmen on the products they sell. Invite instructors from makers of office machinery to teach your staff how to use, maintain, and repair their equipment. Training films,videos and programs are also available, visit this website for details about obtaining material to use and help your staff to become qualified.

  • Outside training takes the form of sending your workers to follow formal courses run by outside organizations. Many large companies enroll their employees in courses at universities, business schools, and technical colleges. There is no reason why the small businessman should not follow suit. Even if you don't pay the full cost of the courses, you may still encourage your employees by paying part of the costs, or by offering salary increases in recognition of exams passed, especially if your employee has to undetake study in his own time. In this case, online or study at home programs are ideal, and our associate Delamere Institute of Online Learning offers a wide range of almost 400 different courses to chose from.

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