Ok let’s talk about another phase of staff training where we communicate our vision for our business-that day (or days) we set aside to gather our staff and prepare them for a very busy and tiring Fall season. Give them plenty of warning so they can put it on their schedule, make it mandatory and put it on a day when most can generally make it. Perhaps pick a couple days so there is more than one option. And maybe include some projects that need to get done. It usually works well to have some time to learn and some time to work. Both are vital parts of your preparation. You may have to run two different types of training if you are open at night. Anything that includes a haunted venue will require some specialized training with instruction that pertains to the challenges of a night business.
Important topics to Cover:
The details of each part of your venue and how they all work.
The safety aspects of each part of the venue and what to watch for.
The expectation levels for each activity and who will be assigned and allowed to run them
The lay of the land. Simple layout for those who are new to your venue.
Expectations for employees and scheduling
Opportunities for Advancement
How to deal with different issues such as:
We talked earlier about how to communicate effectively what might be perceived as tedious information! This is your business. You live it and breath it for a good part of the year so you’ve thought through every detail repeatedly. You want it to be successful for many reasons!
Your staff walks in and they think it’s cool but they are probably not nearly invested as you are. They know what they are going to get paid and they are fine with that. They are willing to put in their time, but anything over that simply means more pay. They probably do not know what it means to be an entrepreneur and probably do not aspire to ever be one! If they do understand, they will probably be your best employees!
So, let me encourage you to plan your training day with several components:
Let’s cover the first two this week and the last two next time.
1. Team Building
Because of the nature of this business, people skills will always come in handy. Team building games and activities are teachable moments. They help the shy to interact and come out of their shell and reveal a whole lot about your staff as a whole. These can be as simple as working through some of your venue activities like the maze or something similar. Using teams to accomplish designed goals will lend itself to good conversation. There are also many simple team building activities that only take a short time to complete but are effective.
I would use these throughout the day and mixed into the instruction and work times. These are the smaller activities like: knots, blob, skis, and the many games that help your staff to get to know each other. There are hundreds of them on the internet and we can help you out as well. Use these as a foundation for uniting your staff around your goals.
Since this training day is also a paid day for your staff, we like to get some things done also. (Keep in mind that projects can be finished up once you have opened as well. The first weekends of the fall season are typically slower so you can operate with a smaller crew and have some of your staff ramping up for the busy times. We usually have our work crew netting the maze after we open and working on haunted stuff while other staff are running the day to day.) Before you open there are hundreds of things to do as far as set up, clean up and fix up. Training day allows you to have a big crew finishing up some of those necessary projects. The amount of stuff left to do will determine how much of training day it will consume, but don’t let it become the primary reason to gather the staff before opening. Make it an important part of the whole.
When it comes to projects, delegate. Designate some of your more seasoned staff as crew leaders and have them head up certain projects. Most of these projects will probably be low skilled, but it saves you the time and money of having to do it all yourself.
Work is a great teaching tool. It reveals a lot about who we are and can ultimately help us to develop important character qualities. As we get farther from the farm, we get farther from knowing how to do hard work. For some of your staff it will be very evident that work is a foreign concept. Press on! Despite the complaints, most people have experienced greater satisfaction in life from hard work over leisure!
Lastly, and kind of unrelated, eat together! Plan a cookout and enjoy one another’s company! It’s all part of the plan.