In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses, both large and small, have needed to shift their overall training policies in order to become compliant with current rules and regulations. As small businesses, although it may be challenging, it is also imperative to educate, train and prepare our employees for a post-COVID world as we begin to phase out of this era, hopefully sometime in the near future. In order to prioritize their needs, as well as arm them with the most up-to-date information, here are some ways that you, as a small business owner, can effectively train your employees so they can perform their jobs successfully and efficiently.
Updating & Reiterating Sanitation Protocols
As a result of this pandemic, all businesses, in one way or another, have had to prioritize frequent sanitation protocols over all else to protect both customers and employees. In order to stay compliant, and safe while conducting in-person business, it is vital that employees are aware of all CDC guidelines as well as are trained around how to sanitize stations, work areas, items that customers touch, or any other frequented areas. In addition to this, employees must understand why and how to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at work and ensure to keep all spaces as ventilated as possible to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Controlling Person-Density & Social Distancing
In the earlier stages of this pandemic, there was a heavy focus on limiting person-density within establishments. Although living in a COVID-19 world has become somewhat of a “new normal”, it is important to still implement strategies to avoid high densities of people within the establishment at the same time. For example, it may be wise to designate an employee to stand guard outside of your establishment and monitor the amounts of people within the establishment as well as designate certain areas for customers to stand outside using tape or cones. As small business owners, it is your duty to train employees on the dangers of high numbers of staff and patrons within the space, and the proper ways to avoid those situations.
Establishing Daily Check-Ins
Since the outbreak, many of us have been left feeling unsure about the future. Your employees are navigating those same feelings, while being on the front lines serving customers in the midst of a global pandemic. As stressful as this time has been for businesses it is important, now more than ever, to train your employees in a manner that allows them to still connect with you as a person. As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to administer daily check-ins with your employees and understand their point of view as well as their mindset at this time.
In addition to this, it is also pertinent to administer daily health screenings so that your employees, as well as your customers, feel safe knowing that their health is of the utmost priority. To do this, administer temperature checks on all employees before their shifts start and observe for obvious signs of illness. If your small business is about to reopen, be sure to collect information around employees’ risks of potential exposure, such as traveling frequently.
Focusing on Overall Health & Well-Being
Due to the increased panic and worry around contracting the virus, many employees are struggling to keep it together and remain positive in the face of adversity. Because of this, be patient with your employees and allow them to take breaks when necessary. If an employee has learned that a loved one has contracted COVID-19, extend a hand and ask how you can support them. If an employee ends up contracting the virus, ask them how you can help them. Perhaps set up a plan to deliver meals to their houses as they recover or send them a card from everyone at the company. Undoubtedly, this era hasn’t been the easiest, but it is still important to show your humanity as we navigate through this together.
When you dedicate the time to effectively train your employees, it can only positively benefit your business. When employees are informed and are prepared for both expected and unexpected scenarios, it allows for greater trust to be built. This trust will decrease the need for supervision and thus cause employees to feel more confident in their work, leading them to become happier overall. Receiving validation and positive reinforcement from you, their boss, can also increase productivity and effort on their end, which overall, will help your business be more successful during this difficult time.
Kristi Melick is the co-founder of Small Business Employee Training, a San Diego startup that is offering a COVID-19 training course for small business owners and employers alike to provide their employees in order to become 100% compliant with all health and safety guidelines as set forth by the CDC. While her passion lies in helping small business owners, she also works as a math specialist in Piedmont, CA. She was able to create this effective course using her background in teaching, where she routinely develops and presents lessons to adults and children to confirm comprehension.