Your new hire is eager to get started and so are you, but there’s a lot of learning to do! As you work on getting your fab new person up to speed, here are six ways to make sure the training is as efficient and fruitful as possible.
1. Train with a purpose
Take a moment to think systematically about the inevitable knowledge gaps that will exist for your new employee. What skills are easily transferrable? What skills will need to be learned or re-learned? Even if your new hire is completely over-qualified for the job, there will be plenty of things they don’t know about working for you. Prioritize the need to fill the gaps and use this as your guide for more focused learning.
2. Be the teacher
There’s a reason teachers have lesson plans. Daily planning keeps the class organized and cuts down on wasted time. Make sure there is a detailed plan for how your new team member’s learning will be structured and make notes as you go through each phase to keep on track. Sure, you could just wing it. But your results will suffer.
3. Be the student
The surest way to learn something new is to teach it to someone else. A great technique to make sure your new employees are catching on is to have them “teach” you something they’ve been trained on. The object here isn’t to make this a high pressure situation or pass/fail test. What you really want to see is how well they have processed the information. If things aren’t getting through, try using a different technique.
4. Mix it up
If your training system consists of 40 hours of videos, your new hires will either be falling asleep or pulling their hair out to stay awake. Make sure to incorporate various forms of learning into the training phase, keeping in mind that some individuals are visual learners, some are auditory, and others are tactile. In fact, most people are a combination of the three. Use various training techniques to keep the information flowing and the new hire engaged.
5. Analyze early wins and losses
What is working well with training and learning? What learning style is your new hire responding best to? Is he a voracious reader? Is she a more “hands on” kind of gal? The more your training style aligns with your new hire’s learning preferences, the faster the progress will be. Celebrate small milestones and victories as they happen. If something isn’t going well, address it early and change course immediately to avoid having to correct bad habits later.
6. Make learning permanent
Once your employee is up to speed and thriving, the temptation will be to focus on performance rather than increased skills and knowledge. There will always be tasks that seem more urgent than taking the time to learn something new, but constant skill building is no longer optional. It’s not just for those who wish to push forward; it’s for anyone who wants to maintain the status quo. Make continued education part of every job description. Schedule time on your respective calendars and commit to making it happen. It’s not just a great investment in your staff. It’s an investment in your business.
This is the second post in a series of blogs about how to effectively onboard new employees. For more information on this topic, read How to Effectively Onboard New Employees. Subscribe to this blog to receive new HR-related posts each week.