Don’t procrastinate

If you’ve been waiting to create a training manual, don’t put it off any longer, says Matt Gohlke, president of Gohlke Custom Pools in Denton, Texas.

As the pool and spa industry continues to evolve, so will the lessons required to train a staff. The more information there is, the more overwhelming it may seem, so he says do it sooner rather than later — or never.

Keep it simple, accurate and professional

When teaching someone the ins and outs of a business, there’s a lot to cover. Sticking to the fundamentals helps, says Alex Antoniou, director of Educational Programs at the National Swimming Pool Foundation, Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Don’t be overly verbose,” he explains. “You can say something in one sentence. You don’t need to make a whole page out of it.”

To get your points across quickly and concisely, avoid essay-type verbiage and replace it with bullet points, diagrams and flow charts. Some businesses may choose to create one manual for the entire company, while others may create different ones for each department or job, as well as a separate guide for new hires or general operations. Either way, the key is to present the information clearly.

Utilize your resources

If you’re not sure where to begin, try going to your manufacturers or trade journals first, Gohlke says. Both provide up-to-date and relevant information that can contribute to a more complete training manual.

In addition to product brochures and Websites, many companies even have training videos and seminars available. Of course, there are industry Webinars and training certifications as well, and material can be gleaned from these, too.

“There’s tons of knowledge out there. You just have to get it to your people,” Gohlke notes.