Melissa Piper NelsonWhat employees need to know

As a business owner or manager, you no doubt spend a lot of time working with and training employees. You need employees to be knowledgeable, courteous, efficient and productive. Beyond the basics of job descriptions and daily tasks, three factors are essential to add in the mix — mission, emergency resources and quality customer service.

If you asked your employees about your company’s mission statement, how many would be able to outline either the statement or its intent? Many times, the mission statement is recited in employee training, but not really linked to how this affects all the decisions that are made and implemented. A mission statement should not be regarded as a static statement, but seen and referred to as the over-arching reason why the business exists and how it will relate to customers and the community. Yet mission and vision statements tend to get glossed-over during routine training often due to time constraints or emphasis on tasks versus a company’s background.

A business plan outlines how the operation will be run, but a mission statement is the foundation for why a business exists at all. It may seem inconsequential to place importance on a philosophical ideal, but without helping an employee understand the foundation of a business, that worker makes decisions based on work skills at an operational level alone. Remember that the mission statement is really a statement of purpose. Employees who understand this purpose and work toward the goals and objectives outlined in a mission statement are better equipped to accomplish tasks and serve customers.

You cannot plan for, or train for every emergency contingency that may arise, but you can provide employees with a strong outline and the resources for making important crisis decisions. Many companies have now added serious crisis and emergency training to employee orientations. Employees should also be able to identify alternative and nearby safe locations to send other workers and visitors to in case of an emergency. And, employees should be aware of the local resources (first responders) who can assist and how, when and where to summon them. It is helpful to have local responders and law enforcement provide emergency training as well as you equipping workers with pocket cards or other reminders to reinforce emergency policies. Review your emergency plans and work with community leaders, other businesses and responders to update policies to fit your own operation and develop strong initiatives to keep workers, visitors and customers safe.

Attention to quality customer service should always be a training requirement. Even if an employee does not have a direct connection to customers, she must know who your customers are, what they expect from your business and how to provide the quality service that builds loyalty. Each job reflects back to providing a customer with a great product or service experience. This link is vital for workers to understand and employ.

Customer service revolves around building relationships and understanding how people wish to be treated. Customers can go anywhere or shop by many means to get what they want. The question then becomes, how to encourage potential buyers to either come to your operation directly or select you to purchase from? Often it is the experience they have, or think they will have with you. Employees who project confidence and commitment establish these pleasant and fulfilling details.

Training requires a lot of basic “nuts and bolts” about the company and the specific job an employee was hired to do. To incorporate other issues takes time and an emphasis on more encompassing business and worker principles. In your unique operation, you need to establish those components which will help employees work at a top level but with the understanding of why to do so. When you review your training materials this season, look for ways to incorporate more messages about your mission, how to respond in crisis situations and how to deliver the best in customer service. By doing so, you provide employees with specialized skills to help your business reach its full potential.

The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.