Essential Employee Training
My new favorite Facebook status: "It's too bad you can't gift-wrap common sense." You can't gift-wrap it, but common sense could become one of the elite few useful employee-training topics. For the record, I'm not big on mandatory employee-training efforts. In most cases, I believe they are worthless. Cases in point: safety training and CPR. You learn how to use a fire extinguisher and how to perform CPR once a year. Unless you are routinely using a fire extinguisher or CPR, proficiency is lost. If you are trained in January and called on to perform the skill for the first time in July, you will not likely be able to execute it with any level of competency. But, an employee-training on common sense could be implemented immediately and used every day!
My first orthopedic doctor's appointment for a broken ankle was the catalyst for this blog post. I arrived on crutches provided by the urgent care I had visited a few nights earlier. After I managed to wobble to the front desk, the receptionist handed me a clipboard and told me to fill it out. With a look that had to have conveyed a mix of disbelief and derision, I said, "I'm not going to be able to carry that." She was dumbfounded. The "deer-caught-in-the-headlights" look in her eyes conveyed shock at the thought of having to stand up and move from behind her desk. Looking about the room frantically and fumbling for a solution, she finally offered, "Well, would you like to sit in that chair and I'll hand it to you?"
The receptionist is a frontline employee: Someone who influences the client's first impression of the business. There are certain behaviors that she should be trained to carry out and others she should know to avoid. In the case of an orthopedic doctor's office, the receptionist should never ask a patient on crutches or a walker to carry anything. The front desk employee's trained response should be, "Please take a seat, and I'll bring you the forms to fill out." That would be Common Sense 101.
There are basic common-sense measures that should be taught to all new employees, and revisited often. The example presented in this post should serve as a red flag that you cannot assume anyone possesses the smallest kernel of common sense. In what common-sense areas do your employees excel? What elements are lacking? Can you think of times when you have dealt with businesses that could have used employee common-sense training? Your comments - both positive and negative - could help others serve their clients more effectively.