Management Matters

On-the-Job-Training

by Joanne Leitschuh

It would be interesting to know how many business people have been trained to do the job they are currently in. I know I sure haven't! Before starting college, one of my high school teachers said, "When you finally get a job, you will probably use only a small percentage of what you learn in your college classes. What you carry with you from your university years is learning HOW TO THINK!"

I recalled that conversation one day while at my current office job. I'm not using many of the theories that I was taught at school. However, from past experiences, I feel confident in approaching problems, new projects and working with others. (Chemistry labs or math homework couldn't have equipped me precisely with what I need today!)

On-the-job training is much more interesting than sitting at a desk dreaming of what may or may not happen in the future. As I have seen with myself and my colleagues, an on-the-job training program can be very effective. It does, however, need careful planning. Otherwise, costly mistakes or wasted time can eat up progress quite quickly.

There are four essential steps in successful on-the-job training:

1) define how the job should be done;

2) plan the training;

3) present the training and

4) evaluate the training.

This year our jewellery business has started a new sales force: Telemarketing. Selling completely via phone and post is quite different than what our five sales representatives have been used to "on the road". We first had to glean from their current knowledge the components needed to be implemented in this new sales system. In other words, the training began with what we knew and added the new techniques specific to effective telemarketing.

At first, each sales representative had to familiarize themselves with the procedures to "clinching the sale" in the training manual. Then, they had to practice using the scripts which would enable them to sound professional. Learning when to send the various brochures, letters and samples helped them make a professional impression. Each telemarketer quickly found that discipline and focus was essential to adapt to this new system.

I can see that training involves not only the "how to do it right" element, but the attitude that goes along with it. We all know from being on the receiving end of a telesales call that sometimes it is an inconvenience. Because the telesales person has just a few moments to "connect" with the buyer, their tone of voice and the words they speak can influence the outcome of the call. Therefore, on-the-job training can occur during every phone call!

We have soon realized that a relaxed, at-ease demeanour can not only be more enjoyable for both parties, but is essential to live a life of rest and peace. Fears of not meeting sales projections or facing rejection have no place with those who are trusting that Jesus can meet our every need. When we feel inadequate in the current jobs we are doing, it is His turn to show us that He can train us step by step, call by call.

It is rewarding to be part of a new telesales team when we each realize the potential that lies before us. Not only will the jewellery orders materialize, but each of us are being trained in professional and personal character. We have benefited from each of us sharing what we are learning. How does one present and evaluate on-the-job training procedures? By the clarity, patience and wisdom that only Jesus can bring into every new situation.

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