Eastern Industrial Supplies, Inc. (Eastern), headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, has come up with a best practice for recognizing the achievement of their employees, to encourage them in their pursuit of additional training, as well as to encourage others to pursue their own training track through ASA University. At review meetings held quarterly throughout the company, awards recognition is first on the agenda, including Senior leadership recognizing employees who have achieved their training goals through ASA University, who are presented with a framed Certificate of Achievement, individually customized per employee.
Certificates coming directly from the company tend to have a more positive impact on employees, affirming that the company takes a personal interest in their achievements. According to one Eastern Inside Sales Representative, “Being recognized and awarded a certificate upon completion of ASA University is a good reminder of the kind of appreciation given when one puts in significant time and hard work to a particular task. It continues to motivate me to give 100%, knowing that I am appreciated for the time and commitment that I am putting in. ASA helped me to become more confident with my work, and I am continuing to use the knowledge gained on a daily basis.”
Eastern has designed their certificates that highlight the designated track the employee has successfully completed. The company’s logo is prominently displayed at the top of the certificate, with the employee’s name and position, as well as a listing of courses completed, evenly displayed. Kip Miller, President and CEO, signs each certificate to give it that final personal touch. Certificates are designed and presented to employees to let them know that the company proudly recognizes their achievements, and taking it a step further, presents them in a suitably attractive frame for employees to proudly display, if they so choose.
By presenting the certificates at the beginning of each meeting, the company is publicly recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work in front of their colleagues. This, in turn, encourages other employees to either complete their training, and for some, to get started on their own training track.
To ensure your new employees have an effective and positive onboarding experience, you’ll need to prepare and plan for their arrival! It’s critical that you make them feel both welcomed and prepared to start in their new role, giving them the resources and confidence to make a positive contribution to your organization, and to ultimately carry out your company’s mission both now and in the future. ASA University’s New Hire Onboarding and Orientation Roadmap will assist you to be well prepared to do just that – warmly welcoming your new hire to your team showing him/her that you care about their success! You can click on the link provided or go to Additional Resources to find the Roadmap and other helpful resources.
This week's training article has come from the Harvard Business Review. Help Your Team Spend Time on the Right Things, focuses on a soft skill that the majority of us could use some help - Time Management. The authors open with, "What is the most common resource that’s always in short supply? The answer, of course, is time. This applies not only to your time, but to your team’s. It’s the one organizational resource that is neither expandable nor renewable. Therefore, making sure that time is spent in ways that will have the biggest impact is a critical determinant of organizational success." Read More.
Harvard Business Review has another great article about Best Practices. Stop Believing That You Have to Be Perfect is by Dorie Clark who is a strategy consultant and speaker for clients such as Google, Yale University, Microsoft, and the World Bank. She is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. A great quote from the article is,
"Failure makes success possible, but not because of the eventual possibility for lucrative exits. Rather, failure opens the dialogue to show that we don’t have to be perfect; in fact, we can’t be. We need to speak honestly and openly — to let ourselves be known, so that failure and mistakes are put in their proper context. We can’t be afraid to acknowledge that, if we’re growing, failure isn’t an anomaly. It happens every day."
The Importance of Employee Training: 6 Reasons Why It Saves You Money is a great article from Business2Community that demonstrates the importance of training. It not only helps your employees, but your overall company. A great quote from the article which brings home the importance of training is: "If you were given the choice between two different pilots—one was trained, the other not—which one would you choose? But what if there was no “up-front” cost for the untrained pilot? You still wouldn’t do it? Yet many business owners do not recognize the importance of employee training."
We are always encouraging members to send or post best practices and other educational items that they have found interesting. John McKenzie From WinWholesale, Inc. is on ASA Education Foundation's Board of Trustees and has come across an article that has tremendous value for all of our members. The article, To Change Employee or Customer Behavior, Start Small, is from Harvard Business Review and discusses best practices on changing employee or customer behavior. Check out this article and please send or post any other best practice articles you may come across in the future.
Aaron & Co.’s Lindsey Portnoy-Rodner, Marketing Manager, is a strong advocate for training and education within the industry. She is on the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees and is always looking for ways to help employees learn and grow for both her company and the Industry. Aaron & Co. has a year-long training program that allows selected new employees to gain knowledge about many facets within the organization. Those new employees selected for this program begin on the night crew loading trucks and work their way up through the organization’s job structure, getting a feel for what the different positions accomplish within the company. By the time they finish this initial program, they are actively selling products to customers at an Aaron counter. This process allows employees to really understand how the company functions and learn from their peers. Many current Aaron supervisors, managers and executive themselves started their careers ‘in the warehouse’. This program takes those individual candidates with obvious potential to move up into the organization and puts them on a formal tract.
As part of their year-long training, these program participants are enrolled in Aaron University. The curriculum of Aaron University is actually offered to ALL employees. The courses are all from ASA Education Foundation Training. Arthur Franklin, Training Administrator explains, “Management at Aaron & Co. feels strongly that an educated employee is a more valuable employee. All employees are eligible to participate, from warehouse workers, to drivers, to employees with sales related responsibilities.” The program includes base pay increases for each of the four Units in the Curriculum and an additional base pay increase for an above average overall grade. Employees have a timeframe in which they need to complete certain sections and tests to make sure employees are staying on track. Every student’s supervisor gets a written monthly progress report so they can monitor and encourage timely completion.
The training program has been a huge success for Aaron & Co. and they have every intention of continuing to grow and expand it to make it even better. Portnoy-Rodner says, “Training is a very important part of our philosophy here. We strongly believe in continuing education, employee development, and leadership training.”
ASA Education Foundation has added an Additional Resources page to help aid ASA Members in their Education and Training. The page features help in the categories of Job Descriptions, Performance Evaluations, Starting a Training Program, Why Recruitment and Retention Matter, New Employee Orientation Program, and the Mentoring Handbook. Each category provides specific help in organizing that area for your company with supporting documents that you can customize and make your own. To find the link go to the Education Page, it is the bottom tab on the left hand side of the page labeled Additional Resources. The picture below shows the top of the Additional Resource page. When you go to the page you can click on the pictures and they will bring you to the different categories.
ASAU representatives are "talkin' training" at the WinWholesale Vendor Showcase this week in Dallas, TX. Win company representatives can see how ASAU eLearning courses are now accessible internally through the WinUniversity learning management system. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth to see the new course registration process live!
For those ASA Members in Region 5 (Wholesales Association of the Northeast), make plans now to attend the Executive Leadership Conference June 11 - 13, 2014 in Cambridge, MA! ASAU will be facilitating a presentation entitled "A Proactive Approach to Succession Planning in your Business." This session is geared toward owners and managers who want to see a proactive Succession Planning model to implement for their teams. We will look to add this topic to events in other regions as demand dictates. Let us know your thoughts!