Training folks that aren’t your employees…

Hopefully you’ve hired motivated and ambitious employees to execute and be educated on your “why”.

But there’s also a contingent of others who need to know what you do. They need to know why you exist – how you do things – and how to engage. And I’m not talking about partners. I’m not talking about employees. I’m talking about the folks that are somewhere in between.

I’ll give you a few examples of businesses who’d fit this mold:

  • Odesk. They’ve got a number of employees who are executing on their mission to provide the largest online workplace, but they also have an army of people who aren’t consumers, they aren’t clients, and they aren’t partners. They’re freelancers who use the site to find work. And they need training.
  • Zirtual. Think virtual personal assistants. Similar to freelancers, there are a lot of them and they all need to know what on earth is going on – how zirtual does things – and how to be a good VPA.
  • AngiesList. Service Providers benefit from the platform Angie has built for a number of reasons, but in order to get benefit, and more importantly for Angie’s consumers to get benefit – they need to know what on earth is going on…

I think you get the point.

I’d posit that there are two points in which 1099 training is imperative for these tweeners: Onboarding and then Remedial.

Onboarding: In all of these situations, a non-employee has to put in effort in order to get benefit, so a consistent onboarding is crucial. It needs to be simple and easy and ASAP (as short as possible). Make the barriers to entry low, and the reward high to get stickiness out of the tweeners.

Remedial: For non-employees, remedial training will be more prevalent. It can be spurred by a number of things: poor customer reviews, improper usage of software/systems, inactivity, etc. Define what those points are and use relevant training to re-engage and make your service/product better.

In the end, you end up with a more consistent and effective contingent of “tweeners.” They’re happier with your experience, they get more out of it, and they make your business tick.

Holler at me: where are your tweeners and how are you training them?

Anthony Onesto Part 1: Training is Broken
Jenny & Jeremy Part 2: How to Give Customer Support Our Customers Actually Want

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