Onboarding New Team Members: Developing Personalized Training 

By Ryan ONeil
So you've already introduced your new team member your story and company culture, now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty details of the onboarding process, including the legal stuff, how we market the company, special things we do to book new clients, and the 19 softwares we used to run our floral studio
The Boring Legal/Technical Stuff
As exciting as the growth of having a new team member is, most floral shop owners and managers hate bringing in new people for one reason--the paperwork. So let us just get this all out of the way up front: sign the contract, fill out any legal forms necessary for them, discuss the hours and how to log them, payment schedule, and what time off looks like (taking large events into consideration).

Don’t forget to give them a list of any desktop or mobile apps you may use that requires a download--for us, that includes Dashlane, Instagram, and Facebook Pages. We also find it helpful to offer a list of designers to follow on Instagram to encourage personal growth and find inspiration for their own designs.

Training on the various programs we use is provided further on in our onboarding process but it is worth mentioning now. Our team members don’t only need to have access to the tools we use, but they need to know how to effectively use them. We may be a bit biased but, for us, the most important tool that all of our team members need to know how to use is Curate. The core of everything we do is built into Curate from our preliminary questionnaires, to the creation and pricing of the proposal, to the quickbooks integration. We use Google Apps for our email and Google voice for our phone line. We’ll use Pinterest from time to time but for the most part, new hires know how to use it and it’s a simple drag and drop from Pinterest into our proposal software so we don’t have to spend a ton of time teaching them.

One good point on the training side, be sure you’ve planned out ahead of time what tools a person needs to use. They might not need to learn Instagram if they are one of your delivery team members. If they’re a designer, they need to have it so that they stay up to date on trends. Once you've determined which principles and softwares are applicable to each new team member, you can more effectively train them to fulfill their new role in your floral company. We have four major divisions where our new team members may fit in: design, event execution, administration, and sales/marketing. All of the principles we teach to our new team members center on the key tenets of our company culture that we discussed last week.

Design Principles
When it comes to design, we need our new team members to understand that our top priority is to make arrangement to fit the style the client desires and still look good. Sometimes a client may ask for an over-the-top arrangement but only have a very small window of time for setting it up. Our priority is to develop a design that will fit their vision but still look incredible while fitting all the other parameters needed. This is less of a book study and more of a hands on approach. Some people just don’t have it. We’ve hired team members who had never designed florals before but they had an eye for design. But rarely the other way around.
Event Execution
Event execution covers everything during the week of the event. In training a new team member, getting them used to our workflow is crucial. Whichever team member is taking point on the event is responsible for making sure everything is done (again, re-emphasizing our GTD principle). Because getting things done with excellence is a priority for us, we don’t have an issue hiring some extra help to make an event come to life. We introduce the new team member to everything we do throughout the week of the event and where they fit into that picture.
The administration portion covers most all of the non-floral side of the business. We want to help the new team member understand that while their task may not be arranging florals or cleaning up after an event, there is a leg of our business that has to deal with all the details. We’ve booked the client now we need to coordinate everything to make sure our execution team can do tremendous. All the emails, texts, and the twenty-second version of the proposals are a part of our administration. This also covers general administration of our company. Keeping the shop clean every day and doing basic maintenance such as fluffing pillows, checking the rug and window cushions, and adjusting the displayed vases keep us looking in shape in case a client decides to pop in.
Sales And Marketing
The last division we have in our shop is in sales and marketing. When we’re talking to a new team member about this, the most important thing to emphasize is that we need to make sure the client has a fabulous experience with us from very quick responses to their emails to an incredible experience in the consultation. We walk them through our entire process - even if they aren’t directly on the sales team.

With that in mind, we respond quickly to new inquiries and do all we can to book qualified clients in the consultation (we qualify them by using the budget calculator on our website). We also use the Curate software to create our proposals during the consultation because speed is super important if you want to retain the connection you had.

Our marketing efforts range from wedding shows to our social media presence. Throughout every marketing channel, we recall our mission of offering a premium experience for clients. We have defined standards for photos that are shared on our Instagram and Facebook pages because we know that clean and professional pictures are what will generate the overall premium vibe we want. Because our mission is a central point throughout our onboarding process, our new team members come to think of everything we do in terms of the standard of excellence our clients expect.

Final Thoughts
Onboarding a new team member really is a tedious process. But we’ve learned from having several people rotate through positions, it’s much better to address all these logistics ahead of time than having to deal with a conversation later in the relationship about why they aren’t following up with client quickly enough.

When you break it down, as we have, and focus on training the new team member in one area at a time, it becomes much more palatable for both you and them. It takes time, certainly. And honestly, it feels a little awkward the first or second time you do it. Yet you gain an incredible team member retention rate and have to train people less because you spent a little more time.

You might be asking: “What if we do all this training for them and then they leave?” The only thing worse is you don’t train them and they stay.

Want to see how easy it is to train your new team members on Curate? Sign up for a personalized live demo to see the software in action.
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Tags: Tips, Small Business Sally, Curate, Corporate Cate, Established Ed

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