When you employ someone new there can often be the danger of expecting a little too much too soon. While someone may look great on paper and indeed be a highly skilled individual, by failing to put emphasis on the importance of employee training you can sometimes miss their full potential and cause a few bumps in your business along the way too.
Even employees who feel they are ‘experienced’ within your field can’t be expected to know the finer points of your particular business straight away. This is where a quality training and development program comes in – where training sessions last for more than an hour and really help a new staff member get to grips with your business.
Pick a good trainer
We can all probably relate to a time when we were trained by someone who wasn’t fully up to the job. Whilst someone can be excellent in their role, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will be a good teacher. It’s important to make this distinction when choosing a trainer for a new team member to ensure employees have a consistent and positive experience and they are properly trained:
The best employee to train your new starter should be:
- Patient: There is nothing more crippling to the learning process than feeling as though you’re irritating people.
- Clear & concise: The employee you pick obviously needs to have the required knowledge and skills in order to teach someone new; they also need to be able to adequately vocalise and elucidate that knowledge in a way that’s accessible.
- Approachable: If your new starter is clearly a little nervous, it may not be best to team them up with the loudest character in the office. The ongoing training process is all about learning and it’s important your new starter feels comfortable in asking for clarification.
- Happy to train: An employee who is overworked or stressed about their own deadlines will not make for a good Trainer. Unintentionally, training may become rushed and fumbled over, leaving the new starter no better off and the trainer even more behind with their workload.
Cover the basics
Job training should involve many things but the one thing it definitely needs is the basics of the business.
The basics entail:
- Who does what: you have an admin team and an accounts team and seven managers and endless other people who make up your business. In order for employees to learn from the best make sure your new starter knows who they need to go to in various situations. If there’s a problem with account X then which manager should they be reporting to? Does anyone in the administrative team need to be made aware? These basic things can sometimes get lost in the day to day running of a business but are important to job satisfaction and can save a lot of bother later on.
- Processes: Your business will have a series of processes, all a little different from each other most likely. It’s important to emphasise these nuances to a new starter rather than hoping they’ll pick it up as they go along. If you have a CRM system that’s a little out of date and so you simply skip some bits, be sure to let the new starter know, saving them from twenty minutes of staring at the screen and trying to make sense of it.
- The office life: How do the coffee breaks work? Where do people go for lunch? Is there any special Friday tradition like ordering in breakfast or leaving early? These little things can get picked up in time of course, but for someone new on the scene, it can help them over the initial awkwardness.
Put yourself in their shoes
We’ve all been a new starter before, it’s always a little nerve-wracking, most especially at the start of our careers. Remembering what it’s like to be a new starter can often help you to help them.
A new starter often is:
- Eager to impress: Of course they want to make a good impression and this can sometimes mean they want to dumb down the things they’re struggling with. Persist in your enquiries that they are up to speed, addressing any weaknesses and gently vocalise that there’s nothing wrong with NOT being up to speed at this point.
- Nervous: Nerves can account for many things, including messing up a task. For example; most of us can type accurately and fast, but if someone’s watching us, our years of keyboard mastery become redundant and we may as well be typing with hooves. If your new starter is messing up a lot leave them to their own devices for a while and then come back and see how they’ve fared, what looks like incompetence is often just self-consciousness.
- Wanting to integrate as quickly as possible: Investment in training is important and most successful when it’s one on one. If you can, make sure training can take place where your new starter isn’t the centre of attention in the middle of the room. It’s a given that if they feel like they’re on show they aren’t taking on board the training and you only succeed in eroding employee confidence and making them feel awkward whilst also reducing the efficiency of the training course.
Training new employees requires an investment in time and money so that you have a solid group of people in your company that are in sync and know your business model like the back of their hand. While a few days of training may seem excessive it is always going to pay off in the long run and let’s not forget, training doesn’t necessarily have an end date. If you have a transparent business where people feel confident to ask questions you will inevitably ensure that no one ever gets lost or left without the necessary workplace skills.