How To Create An “Automated” Training Program To Turn Mediocre VAs Into An A+ Player In Under 14 Days

Building a great team with great systems, processes, management protocol, and SOPs has always been a goal for ecom store owners looking to scale to $1 million per month and above constantly. They know that they need to build the right infrastructure that would enable their team to run with high efficiency and maximum impact.

Anyone who’s used to perform at the top level knows that the difference between having a talent performing at 60% or 95% often comes down to setting up an optimal system or environment that allows them to do their best work while minimizing bottlenecks, roadblocks and constant firefighting.

In one of our previous posts, we shared about our SARV Hiring System that our operations agency used to build a A+ team of VAs for 6 to 7 figures eCommerce store owners who want to scale quickly to the next level. Since then we have received many messages asking how we help our clients to build an effective training and onboarding system.

You probably already know that the right onboarding and training system will determine whether your new hires will be able to produce great results or struggle to be useful for the first few months. In other words, it determines whether they will be making you lose money, or give you great Return On Investment, or ROI, as soon as they are hired.

Here’s a pro tip: If they don’t generate high ROI within the first 1 to 2 months, then they are not a good fit. So, if you want A+ players, besides hiring the right people, you also need to hire them into the right system. That system is your onboarding and training process.

In this post, we will be sharing with you our “plug-and-play” 7D Training System for onboarding new hires.

The best part is that once it is set up properly, you can automate the whole thing like clockwork. Combine this 7D Training System together with the S.A.R.V. Framework and you will have a “super system” to consistently hunt down and train A+ players to join your team!

So, what is this 7D Training System and how can you implement it into your business?
7D Training System

The 7D Training System is a training program that spreads throughout 7 Days. This is the system that we use in our agency to turn our client’s new hires and existing teams into A+ team members. 

In this post, we have broken down the 7D Training System into days so that you can have a clearer understanding of what to do for your team. Feel free to plug and play into your own business!

Let’s get started.

Day 1: Introduction

Most people just go straight into the training or getting new hires to work immediately. However, what we have found is that setting the right context and culture is much more important so that they can fit easily with the rest of the team.

In Day 1, we will be going through the following:

Company values: It’s important to have a clear set of values that helps your employees understand what you stand for.

Your company values act as a guidance for their work and a sense of security, so that they are more likely to make the right decisions that can help them to achieve the company’s vision and goals.  

This is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the onboarding system, but the benefit of it is huge, especially once you automate it.

Company Reporting Structure: Again, often overlooked, the company reporting structure is to let the trainees know who to look for whenever they face an issue, or have a question.

Oftentimes what most business owners do is to get everyone to report to them. Imagine if you have a team of 20. Just how much time will you spend solving problems for them?

By having a clear reporting structure and letting them know to go to a team leader whenever they have questions — it saves you, the business owner, a bulk of time and not to mention head space to focus on higher level tasks.

(Another Tip: The majority of them will be asking the same old question over and over again, so just get them to report to a team leader instead of you.)

Daily Huddles: If you ever find yourself asking whether your team is working on the right thing, or being productive at their work, then you will find this extremely valuable.

In our agency, we like to implement something called a ‘Daily Huddle’ or ‘Stand Up’ in our client’s team.

For those who don’t know, a daily huddle is a short 15 minutes meeting where we have team members sharing what are the 3 tasks that they have to complete for the day, what are the potential challenges that they face when completing the tasks, and if they need any help from anyone else.

Why do this? This is so that the team leaders, or the business owner, can check up on what everyone is doing. Also, this is done to make sure that their priorities are correct.

From our experience, clients with teams who are not implementing daily huddles are constantly finding their team members working on tasks that are not urgent. In the end, this is only causing them to panic and firefight whenever an urgent task is due.

Access to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): In the Day 1 of the 7D Training System, we also give access to all SOPs, and related Excel and Google Sheets to the trainees.

For example, if the trainee is a product researcher, we provide them access to the product research SOP, product research criteria, and product research Google Sheet and/or Excel Sheet.

The purpose of this is for them to familiarize themselves with the role, before even starting to work on it. 
(Here’s Another Pro Tip: We help our clients to automate this by putting all the resources and SOPS as part of the onboarding system where they can refer to easily.)

Day 2: Onboarding

On Day 2, we onboard the trainees by going through their roles and responsibilities with them, and tutorial on communication tools.

Roles And Responsibilities: One of the most important parts of the 7D Training System is going through their roles and responsibilities. Specifically, state the importance of the task.

Most people think that by stating the roles and responsibilities to a team member, it just means telling them what’s their role and what they should do. That’s not enough. The most important thing you should do is to also state the importance of the task, and how it affects the company.

For example, let the product researcher know that products are the lifeblood when it comes to product research. This shows them how important it is to get their work done right. It’s also a way of letting them know that they’re important and treasured because we all like to feel important that way.

More importantly, showing how their work affects the bottomline will give them a great sense of purpose, ownership and responsibility.

By applying this in our client’s training program, we found that this also gave the team members a greater reason to stay whenever things get tough, usually up to 5X longer than usual.

Communication & Management Tools: Together with roles and responsibilities, we also teach the trainees how to use our project management tools and communication tools. This can be as simple as how your team uses Slack or Clickup.

What most business owners do wrong is that they assume that the trainee will be able to figure out the communication tool themselves. That’s where miscommunications like these occur:

  • Not knowing how to update the next team member from another department that their task has been completed, and that they can now work on causing unnecessary delay in launching products
  • Not knowing the specific channel to use to find someone from another department
  • Not knowing the due dates for specific tasks.

With these may sound like a small thing, it can get very disruptive and leads to a lot of bottlenecks with the rest of the team. Like a Porsche engine that gets “choke up” once every thirty minutes, definitely not a fun driving experience.

So what do we do? We create SOPs and video tutorials on how to use these tools.

We then show them what should be done if they wish to contact or update a person from another department. Just this alone would speed up and smoothen their workflow significantly
(At our agency, we usually recommend our clients to use both Slack and ClickUp as they can both be seamlessly integrated together).

Day 3 & 4: Education

On the 3rd and 4th Day of the 7D Training System, we start to teach the trainees on how to perform their roles. This is to ensure that the quality of the training is maintained while you don’t waste too much time with each new hire, make sure to automate everything.

For this, we need to prepare the following assets:

1. Books, Blogs, Articles, Case studies relating to the specific role.

For example, providing a case study on Amazon and Zapos’s customer service to the customer service trainees.

2. Segments of Dropshipping courses related to the specific role.

For example, providing the product research segment of a dropshipping course to the product research trainees. This is important to ensure high quality.

Run them through the assets and get them to write a learning report to you. The learning report is one of the best ways for you to see their understanding of the courses and the assets that you’ve provided them. It will also help them to conceptualize whatever they have just learnt.

If the learning report is not done well or has a lot of gaps, it means that either your training is not good enough, or they are not good hires. It could also be because they didn’t put in a lot of effort — which is a huge red flag.

Day 5 & 6: Shadowing

On Day 5th and 6th of the 7D framework, we will get the trainees to shadow the existing team members in their department.

Sometimes, there may be too many context or scenario based questions for the automated training to cover. So, getting the trainees to shadow the existing team can help to cover that.

For example, getting a product research trainee to shadow a product researcher.

The main purpose of this is for the trainee to understand how to solve a certain situation when faced with a problem. This will train their critical thinking skills and teach them how to become a “problem solver” instead of a “problem presenter”. No one wants to have someone in the team who only tells about a problem without trying to solve it!

By the end of the Day 6, issue them with a task to note down their findings and learnings into a learning report again.

Day 7: Examination

Lastly, no training is completed until we can be a hundred percent sure that the trainee is now an ‘expert’ of his role.

At our agency, we help our clients to conduct examinations as a way to be sure that the trainee has sufficient knowledge in his role. In the exam, we test them on the various topics:

Company values: List down all of the company values.

Roles and responsibilities: With options given, pick what’s the desired outcome for your role,

Communication: With options given, which communication channel to use when communicating with another department?

Education: For Product Researchers, what are the criterias to look out for when finding a winning product?

Scenario based: For Media Buyers, what should you do when your ad gets disapproved?

In our tests, we have a total of 20 questions mixed from the various topics above. The passing score for this examination is 80%, that is 16 out of 20. By having at least 80% for the examination, you can be fully confident that the trainee is ready to take on his role. Anything below that, they’ve failed the test, and will be let go immediately.

You may be wondering why we let them go instead of training them more.

The reason why we let go of the trainees who failed the examination is because this training is designed to filter out people who have way too little experience and understanding of dropshipping to join the team, or that they did not put enough effort when it comes to learning.

(Pro Tip: You can use the app “Typeform” or “Google Classroom” to create these examinations.)

Now, we know what you’re thinking… where’s the automation in this?

At our agency, we automate this entire 7D Training System by building it inside Google Classroom, which is a knowledge portal where we put the videos, assets and examination for each module.

Each new hire will be placed in that training and by the end of 7 Days, the project manager or HR manager will be able to see if the new hire has passed or failed the examination. Anybody who passed the test will be added into their specific department.

To put it simply, well, it is kind of like a car factory and assembly line. It goes in as car parts and comes out as a fully functioning car.

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