How to Train New Employees

Finally, help is on the way! The new hire will begin training tomorrow... Properly training newly hired employees is essential to companies and their employees. Failure to provide adequate training results in job dissatisfaction which leads to high rates of staff turnover.


Today's recessionary economy is impacting companies and their employees everywhere. Companies are downsizing their workforce, restructuring workloads, and reallocating duties among fewer staff, creating a shortage of resource personnel to adequately train newcomers hired to fill vacancies. Considered an unaffordable luxury by management in today's economy, adequately training new hires has become a dirty job that someone has to do, but who? And how?
1. Delegate training responsibilities wisely. Unfortunately, the job of training is often assigned to those within the closest proximity to the new hire and to those with the most available time. It's imperative that the individual(s) providing the training have the necessary skills to be effective. Educating the trainer(s) is an important first step in successfully training new hires.
2. Socially and professionally mentor the new hire. A friendly, knowledgeable and positive co-worker can be a valuable resource person for the trainee, bridging gaps that all newly hired individuals’ experience.
3. Put it in writing. Provide or create a written training manual that contains specific instructions and reference information. It will be a valuable resource for the new employee and will hasten his/her success.
4. Create a safe learning environment. It's the trainer's responsibility to create a non-threatening environment for learning. The most effective way to achieve that is to establish a relationship with the trainee. People skills are vital to establishing a relaxed and friendly learning environment. Take the time to engage in conversation with the newcomer, asking about his/her family, hobbies and interests, and don't forget to share your own. Professional business settings are comprised of human beings, so act like one...and treat the newly hired person as you would like to be treated.
5. Make allowances. Allow the newly hired employee some latitude in setting the pace of learning new tasks, particularly when the training is provided by numerous employees who must perform their duties as well as train the new hire. In a busy, hectic environment, that is a huge challenge for all to overcome.
6. Provide the tools to succeed. Present the newly hired employee with a notebook that includes a comprehensive job description. It's a valuable assessment tool. Measuring progress based upon the job description builds the newly hired employee's confidence through affirmation of the trainee's accomplishments.
7. Eliminate roadblocks. Negativity is a roadblock to learning. Praise and positive feedback reinforce and affirm the efforts of everyone. Expect and provide positive interactions and feedback. There are no training shortcuts, therefore, allow time and repetition to bring the results everyone wants. Avoid the temptation to dictate and micro-manage the learning timeframe. Setting and expressing unreasonable timeframe goals are among the biggest roadblocks to the new hire success.
8. Segment the training. As the trainee acquires the knowledge and skills to perform a complex task well, he/she will also gain confidence. Confidence is an empowering catalyst that enables the trainee to move on to mastering the next segment, accelerating the process.
9. Shelve cross-training ideals. Put cross-training on the shelf until the trainee has accomplished a measure of success performing the duties outlined on his/her job description. Cross-training within a non-union employee pool in which there are disparities in pay is the name of the game in corporate businesses clamoring for the bottom line in this recessionary economy. Ethics aside, pay disparities legitimize potential claims and negatively impact employee morale. Spare the trainee from becoming politically embroiled in the subliminal conflict cross-training evokes in a non-unionized working environment.
10. Be generous with praise, stingy with criticism. Grandma taught us that we catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Keep that thought in mind when dealing with a new employee's errors. Coming down hard on a new employee who's attempting to learn what it's taken the rest of the staff months and years to learn impedes learning. It's counter-productive.
11. Don't micro-manage. Micro-management is the biggest deterrent there is to learning and productivity. Formal monthly evaluations of newly hired employees are unnecessary stressors that alienate. Like all micro-management tactics, it sends the signal of a lack of confidence in the trainee's capabilities. Micro-managing sends many trainees out the door.
12. Enhance the safety knowledge and risk assessment capability for the whole delegates 

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