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Amy Campbell,

Is It a Training Issue? Factors to Consider Before Firing Self-Storage Staff

By Amy Campbell Comments
Posted in Blogs, Staffing

By Amy Campbell

Recently, a friend of mine was fired from a new job after just 70 days of employment. It was a difficult job in which my friend had little experience but she was willing to work hard to be successful. After just a four days of training, she was deemed “ready” to work.

However, the complexities of the position proved to be many, and she made quite a few errors in the first few weeks. Nothing catastrophic, but mistakes just the same. After six weeks on the job, which included logging 55 hours or more each week with a single day off, she felt like she was finally beginning to master it. In fact, her supervisor told her at her 60-day review she was improving. Then came the dreaded, “We’re going to have to let you go.” Her supervisor's only remark about her performance was that she wasn’t “at the place” where they needed her to be to perform the job. Bye-bye.

Now, my friend isn’t a slacker. She’s a really hard worker and gives it her all. Jumping into a new career took a lot of guts, and she truly tried. But over the past few months she kept telling me, “I’m not sure I’m doing this right.” During her very short time in the job she worked with five different supervisors. Five in just two months. While the company had some policies in place, each supervisor had a different way of doing things, adding to her frustration. When she approached one supervisor around week three to relay her concerns about needing more training, she was told, “It will get easier. You’re fine.”

We all know training is an essential component to being successful in any job. What often falls through the cracks is “how much” training an employee needs. Truly it all depends on the job and the employee. One job may only require a week of training while another could be stretched out over three or four weeks or even months.

In the self-storage industry, training covers many facets including learning the management software and security system, sales, maintenance, reports, etc. Of course the goal is to hire someone who can jump in and learn quickly, but what do you do when it doesn’t happen on the timetable in your head? Are you quick to pull the plug and give the employee a pink slip, then start the hiring process all over again?

Let’s not forget the money and time lost if you’re too quick to fire a new employee. It’s often been said that the cost of hiring and training just one employee is about $4,000. Even if you didn’t spend this much, you still need to consider the value of your time.

Of course, there will be instances when a new employee looks great on paper, interviews very well, then isn’t up to the rigors of the job. Then it’s a matter of taking a hard look at your hiring process and see where you can make changes so this doesn’t happen again.

But if you have a new employee who’s on the border of being capable or not, you should ask yourself will more training help push this person where I need him to be? If the answer is yes, take that leap and put forth the effort. Here are some great articles on employee training from the ISS archives to help you build your employee-training program.

You’ll also find dozens of resources in the Inside Self-Storage Store, including manager-training materials from some of the top self-storage operations consultants in the industry.  

While there’s no cookie-cutter approach you can take when it comes to training new employees, one thing is certain. If you hire the right person, then log the training hours, your new self-storage manager will have a better chance at being successful. After all, that’s the ultimate goal. You don’t just want someone to man your office. You’re looking for a partner who will help your self-storage facility be the best in its market.

What’s your training method? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk.


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