Training Your Team
By Teena Patel
The significance of staff training cannot be overstated; it is one of the most important components of growth and development of a successful dog daycare or boarding program, whose focus is on providing more than just supervision.
Doggie daycare programs are evolving rapidly, and as their focus becomes more behavioral, owners of doggie daycares and boarding facilities seek to provide their dogs with more meaningful stimulation in an attempt to defeat boredom and keep high-energy dogs from “bouncing off the walls.”
Regardless of the type of intervention, with the focus becoming more and more centered around the “whole dog”, staff training has to become an integral part of enhancing your program.
Educating your team is a responsibility in and of itself. There are no shortcuts around this. Many people try, and even avoid the process entirely, but there is no getting out of this commitment if you want to decrease staff turnover, build a rock star team and lessen your responsibilities.
No matter who you speak to in our industry, whether a small doggie daycare averaging 15-30 dogs a day or a large doggie daycare averaging 150-200+ dogs per day, it’s not uncommon to hear them describe their new-hire training process as “on-the-job training”.
While the initial investment of time and loss of money can be huge, this is a temporary sacrifice and well worth it for adopting a proper, step-by-step, sequential staff-training plan.
We take for granted that our subjects want to learn; that they are eager for our assistance. But without a careful and considerate approach to facilitate learning, members of your team are likely to experience anxiety, lack confidence, become frustrated and even defensive.
Here are five preliminary questions you can ask yourself as you evaluate the efficacy of your new–hire on–boarding regimen:
- Do you have a plan?
- What does it entail?
- How long is your new hire training program/protocol?
- Ultimately, after the training, what will this prepare your new hire for?
- Will what they have learned be fulfilling for your needs and your team’s needs?
It is imperative that each member of your team fully understands their role and that role’s relevance to your goal. Then, it becomes very clear for them to focus on the why, and develop proficiency in the how (in time, with training).
Think of each team member as a gear; each gear functions in a particular way, doing specific things that help move all the other gears, giving us the momentum to do more, offer more.
Now you are ready to address the next two big questions:
- Who will be responsible for your new hires’ learning?
- When and how will you evaluate their learning as well as your teaching?
Training your team and not leaving them under–resourced is truly the most powerful and impacting contribution to growth. And, it’s an important way to honor the people who bring your vision to life by helping them grow in confidence, aptitude and leadership.