Ok we’ve talked in depth about choosing and training your staff so let’s wrap it up with the two remaining categories we talked about last time. We covered team building and we talked about work, so we’ll look at information and experience this time. Both are important parts of staff preparation and can save you time when your season begins so that you’re not having to train as you go.
Information is just as it sounds. Unfortunately, it sounds boring and it can be if it is presented in a boring way, but the reality is, it needs to be communicated.
There will be multiple levels of understanding among your staff as it pertains to grasping information. Some will just need to hear it and they will understand. Some may need to hear and see it and they will know what they need to know. Some may need to hear and see multiple times throughout the season before they fully grasp. In any case, use a variety of teaching methods so that you use both verbal and visual whenever you can.
All your activities have information that pertain to them, but not all your staff need to know about every activity. It can be best to split up your staff on training day so that you can focus on those areas that they need to know. For instance, your entry level staff will probably run the entry level activities including your maze. Make sure they know the ins and outs of how they work and the pitfalls of each. Your cashiers need to know how to run your registers and make change. Someone will need to work closely with them to teach them how to operate the machines before you open. If you have a greeter that is stationed at the info board, they will need to know what is expected of them.
I could list many more areas, but you can see what I mean. You will need to have enough upper management people available on training day so that you can make sure that those who need to know certain aspects of the business can focus on that. Concessions are another specialized area. You may need to go over the specifics of your food service with a very specific group of people. Bottom line, when it’s time to divide and conquer, make sure your leaders are available to train.
Of course, there will also be times when you keep the entire group together to cover the information that everyone needs to know. This brings me to the final point.
If you can help your staff experience what they will be doing, it can be a great teaching tool. One of the greatest way to teach is to allow for a bit of role playing. This can be fun and educational and will most likely help the information to “stick” a bit more. In role playing situations, you recreate what may happen during a typical day at your venue. From guest check in to corn maze to cow trains, every aspect of your business can benefit from role play.
Let’s start with the maze: get someone lost so that your staff can work through the best way to locate them. Help them understand the reasons why you require guests to check in and out of the maze. Throw in some discipline issues and see how they deal with them.
Take some of your staff on a cow train ride and have one of them cause some problems or simply be unsafe in the process. Watch how they deal with it and use it to teach them proper procedures.
Throw some curve balls at your cashiers and see how they deal with the logistics they may face on a busy day. These are issues they need to learn to resolve under pressure so better to help them build confidence before the chaos begins!
Corn Cannons, Petting Farms, Concessions and every other aspect of your venue present opportunities to build experience. Pick a few and let your staff practice what to do in a fun environment. If you’ve never tried role playing in a training session I think you’ll be surprised how much your staff enjoys pretending to be a guest! Of course, you will need to make sure that it stays realistic so that the rest of the staff doesn’t get out of hand!
Hope some of this helps as you prepare for this year’s busy season. Call on us anytime with questions and have a great week!