As a former remodeler, Joe Zanola knows how difficult it can be to effectively train employees. That's why, as president of St. Louis-based consulting, training, and research firm Zanola Co., he developed this training program for his clients to use.

“Remodelers pay a lot of attention to hiring practice, but I've noticed that once someone is onboard, their training isn't focused,” Zanola says. His program mirrors a traditional education system where you are given information, you study it, and you're then required to show you have learned it. “This should double the likelihood that someone will succeed,” Zanola says, adding that “if they're not succeeding, then you'll be able to recognize it a lot earlier.”

  • The new employee should be trained in how all areas of the company work. “Even if they work in the office, they should understand how the production is done,” Zanola says.
  • In a small company, just one person might do the training, but in a larger firm, Zanola says that five or six trainers for each new hire is ideal. Each trainer is responsible for some part of the employee's training, so he or she is also accountable if something goes wrong. “Traditionally, part of the problem has been that people begin to abandon new employees if they aren't working out,” Zanola says. This method addresses that problem.
  • Under this program, new employees actually have two sessions with each trainer. In the first session, they learn the company policy. In the second session, new hires go over what they've learned.
  • The trainer must sign the form after the second session, confirming that the hire has retained the information from the first training session.