In our last e-newsletter we outlined how to recruit the best route service rep or RSRs. These ideal RSRs are satisfied, motivated and determined. So what happens after you have chosen the right person? We recommend a ten-week onboarding process, with the first week building a strong foundation. This article will outline the activities for a successful first week of onboarding.
The onboarding process begins at the job offer and acceptance. Most companies underestimate how important it is to begin building momentum with the new hire right away. The goal is for the new RSR to say, “I made the right decision” after their first day. From the first time they walk in the doors, it is important to continually meet with the new RSR to ensure their satisfaction because as we know, satisfied employees are more motivated and more successful. (To learn more about what to look for in a new RSR hire, click here.)
Onboarding Process: Week One
• First Class First Day
We recommend literally rolling out the red carpet or the red mat for the new RSR on their first day. Since a RSR manages a $500,000 per year business for you, they deserve the red carpet treatment. The department manager should greet the new hire with welcome coffee and donuts as well as treat them to lunch. Lunch is a good time to discuss any questions the new RSR has thus far and go over what the RSR can expect during their first week.
Everything should already be prepared and ready for the new RSR when they arrive. This includes: a welcome letter from the CEO, their uniforms (we are in the uniform business after all), their business cards and cell phone if applicable. It is imperative for the new RSR go through a company and safety orientation on their first day as well. It is important for the new RSR to fully understand internal operations so they can best communicate and explain those operations to customers. This should also be the time when the new team member not only meets their co-workers but also is educated on your specific processes and expectations. The new RSR should have your undivided attention as you introduce them and show them around. They should be able to spend the next few days in the office gaining exposure to all departments and the plant getting acclimated to all aspects of the company.
Prior to departure on their first day, ensure that the new RSR has been introduced to their mentor for the upcoming training period. Every new hire needs a mentor that is different than a boss or supervisor. Their mentor should be a top-performer who has the most knowledge in order to guide the new RSR – the mentor should not just be the most likable guy. Mentoring is the most cost-effective way to invest in a new hire.
• Week One
After their first day, the new RSR will begin their ten-week training program specific to your particular company. Though the training will be unique to your processes and procedures, it is integral to remember that RSR feedback is very important during this process.
Week one builds the foundation for their career as a RSR and the ten-week training program. Week one begins with office and plant training. The RSR should know the ins and outs of the company before hopping on a truck to continue their training on actual routes for weeks two through ten.
Training should not be a one-way transfer of information. This is where the RSR’s mentor will be especially valuable.
We recommend paying the mentor $250-500 for each RSR they mentor to ensure successful training of the new RSR. This is a wise investment based on the amount of your business that each RSR oversees. We strongly encourage spacing this payment out in two installments. The first is given on the new employee’s first day and the second one is payable when the new RSR passes their certification at the end of the ten-week program, to ensure the mentor’s investment in their mentee.
The new RSR should also complete an end of week debrief with their department manager every week. The most successful training programs continually ask the RSR if the team has made them feel welcome. During the ten-week program the mentor will spend most weeks with the new RSR guiding them through specifics of routes and troubleshooting.
It is imperative to remember that onboarding does not end until the new RSR is certified to do the job that they were hired to perform. Training and two-way conversation are the engine in the RSR car. The more powerful the training, the faster and more efficiently they can perform.
In our next issue we will address weeks two through ten of the RSR training program.
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