A friend of mine was recently hired and is suffering through the initial lack-of-training phase that distresses most employees who work for small businesses or entrepreneurs. It sounds like:

“I feel more positive about it today … we’ll see.”

“I feel like they are paying me WAY more than I’m worth – I mean, I’m not doing anything yet and they won’t stop to give me anything.”

“I don’t know if they are happy with me or think I suck.”

“Maybe I’m being paranoid.”

He is in a state of completely over-observing and over-analyzing everything his bosses say and do – or don’t say or do.

Like many entrepreneurs do, his boss hired him because he desperately needs help getting things followed up on and done – so he hired an assistant. And like most entrepreneurs, he has no job description, no systems or processes and no plan for how to train his new employee or even really explain what his key duties are. Because he really doesn’t know in a concrete way, he just has a vague list of things he needs help with.

Here is a solid rule of thumb: If you are too busy to handle your calendar and email communication yourself, then you are too busy to train your new employee without a PLAN to do so. You can’t just have an idea; you need a real plan that includes how you will carve out time to execute it. I mean, if you were great at finding time for things that aren’t revenue-producing or urgent, you would probably be able to handle your email and calendar. Wouldn’t we all!?!?!

All you are doing is putting your new employee through a confidence-sucking torture chamber. And P.S., you are not really getting a great or fast ROI on what you are paying them, either.

Before you hire:

  • Carve out at least THREE specific job duties – the top three things this employee will contribute to your company. This isn’t an exercise to limit the scope of their job responsibilities, but to FOCUS them. Yes, they will do more than that, but these are the top three things you need them to learn to handle ASAP.
  • Share this with the employee when you interview them, or if you already have done the interview by the time you read this, share it NOW.
  • Share WHY this is so critical that you need them to learn it and take it over.
  • Determine who can train the employee in those three things. You? Someone else?
  • Carve out time to train them. Even if it’s just on one key responsibility, let them get that under their belt and start contributing to your company. Not only will you start getting an ROI, but their confidence will increase tremendously knowing they are doing SOMETHING other than running around behind you trying to figure things out.

I get it. We ALL need help and we, especially us entrepreneurs, have eternal optimism that, by the sheer force of us really wanting to do something in a better way, we will have “time” and “systems” and “follow up” to onboard a new employee. But honestly, have you ever had any of those without making a CONCRETE plan and carving time out for it? And I’m not talking about time you blocked out on your calendar, because you can blow that off when “work has to be done.” I mean a real plan.

That’s not always what you are great at (me either). But that doesn’t make it less necessary. Free your new employee from the torture chamber and let us help you with your hiring process, including a 90-day training plan.

And if you’re struggling with onboarding and empowering a new team member, click here to schedule a FREE 30-minute call to see where we can support you.

Laney Richardson

employee playbook


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