handmade success

Training and managing staff for your maker business

Once you have your new handmade hire in place, what next? We cover how to train and manage your employees to get the most out of this relationship.

Now that you have hired new staff to help your growing maker business, the next thing to do is to know how to train and manage them. Hiring help is a great way to increase efficiency in your business, especially if they have sufficient training.

Once your staff has the chance to be trained with skills which they may need during this role, they will be able to help run your business smoothly. As mentioned in the previous article, you should create a training plan to help determine what you want you want your employees to get out of this training, while keeping the training process structured and efficient.

It is also important to set attainable goals for your staff and your business. With these goals, you will then be able to measure the productivity of your employees and monitor their quality of work.

Need to get your raw material and product inventory under control?

Try Craftybase - the inventory and manufacturing solution for DTC sellers. Track raw materials and product stock levels (in real time!), COGS, shop floor assignment and much more.
It's your new production central.

Start your 14 day free trial

Setting Goals

As mentioned, setting goals for your employees as well as your business as a whole is important to help your business grow. Setting goals do not need to be complicated — it gives you an opportunity to sit down and figure out where you want your business to head.

Think about how your business did over the past year and what you want to achieve in the next year. With this, you can create smaller milestones to help you achieve your bigger goal.

There can be multiple goals for your business, including financial goals, project based goals, marketing goals and more.

A goal should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

These goals are also known as SMART goals. While your goals do not necessarily have to follow this format, it can be a good foundation to help you with set effective goals.

Once you have created these goals and milestones for your handmade business, you are able to set goals for your employees to attain. Alternatively, you can get your employees to set their own goals. This will provide them with ownership in their work and can lead to higher engagement in the business.

Similar to setting goals for your business, your employees can have individual SMART goals which they will need to attain. A smart goal can be: creating 25 products a day each week or packaging 15 orders a day.

Once you have set goals, it is important to constantly go back to review your progress in achieving these goals. This will allow you to understand more about your business’ progress and tweak your milestones accordingly.

Measuring Productivity

Productivity is a key factor in measuring how well your business and employees are doing. Measuring productivity efficiently can help to improve on your business’ progress. This can also give you the opportunity to identify weak areas of your business and fix them efficiently.

There are many ways to measure your employee’s productivity. As a handmade business, one way to measure productivity is by products per hour. This means measuring how many products each employee is able to complete in an hour, or day, or week.

Monitoring Quality of Work

Measuring productivity also consists of monitoring your employees’ quality of work. Monitoring their productivity can help you stay on top of your staff while holding them accountable.

There are different ways to measure their quality of work including:

Monitoring their performance

This is the most effective way to measure their quality of work — by monitoring their performance with your own eyes. Observe how they are creating products and interacting with customers. This will give you an idea on how they are progressing and if they need any additional help.

Reviewing their progress

Reviewing their progress on a regular basis can keep your employees accountable and responsible for the products they produce. For example, if the employees are creating pins, spot check their products while they are working on it. While you may not be able to keep track of everything they are doing, you are able to check samples on a regular basis to ensure that they are producing quality work.

Regular meetings

Schedule in group and individual meetings with your staff to keep them on track while assessing their completed tasks. Having group meetings can help improve communications and expectations between you and your employees — getting to know more about how they are progressing with their tasks and what problems they are facing.

Measuring KPIs

Another way to measure productivity is through a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). According to the Oxford dictionary, a KPI is a “quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee etc. in meeting objectives for performance”.

To develop a KPI, you will need to consider how this KPI will help your business attain its goals. Some steps you can take when creating a KPI include:

  • Writing clear objectives for your KPI
  • Sharing this KPI with your team
  • Reviewing the KPI on a regular basis
  • Ensure your KPI is actionable and attainable
  • Adapt and update your KPI to fit the needs of your business

When creating a KPI ask yourself what the desired outcome of your business is and what steps are needed to get there. Some examples of KPIs are:

  • Monthly sales growth
  • Average monthly sales
  • Percentage of new customers each month
  • Total revenue

Final Thoughts

Training and managing your employees well is essential in helping your business achieve success. On top of training and managing them, you should also provide them with goals to help your business achieve success.

Remember that as you create goals for your business, you should regularly look back at it and evaluate the progress of your employees and business as a whole. Goals should be adaptable to each circumstance and performance of your employees.

Nicole Pascoe Nicole Pascoe - Profile

Written by Nicole Pascoe

Nicole is the co-founder of Craftybase, inventory and manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers. She has been working with, and writing articles for, small manufacturing businesses for the last 12 years. Her passion is to help makers to become more successful with their online endeavors by empowering them with the knowledge they need to take their business to the next level.