Bringing on a new team member can be exciting, but also stressful. It’s sometimes hard to strike the right balance between effective employee training and making sure your business continues to run smoothly during the transition period.
In this post, we’ll discuss why employee onboarding is so crucial and how it can benefit your business. Then we’ll share some helpful tips for creating an employee training program.
Let’s get right to it!
The Importance of New Employee Training
It probably goes without saying that well-trained employees are necessary for a high-functioning team. After all, if your team members aren’t sure what tasks they need to complete or how to complete them, their overall productivity will be fairly low.
A pre-meditated onboarding process can help with this. By providing new employees with all the resources and information they need to perform well, you can increase the effectiveness of your business as a whole.
Plus, your team members will benefit from the confidence and personal satisfaction that come with feeling knowledgable about their roles. These elements are helpful for preventing burnout. Job satisfaction will also increase an individual’s productivity at work.
Having a plan in place for bringing on new team members can also help current employees. Building structure into the onboarding procedure will prevent them from having to pick up too much slack when a new employee comes in.
Additionally, some level of employee training is usually required by law. Education regarding relevant health and safety considerations – as well as on topics such as sexual harassment and ethics – can promote a better, safer work environment.
New Employee Training: 4 Key Onboarding Tips for Success
There are many ways to implement new employee training. The internet abounds with courses, online modules, and other tools you might consider applying. However, the tips below cover some key features you’ll want to incorporate into any onboarding procedure you decide to implement.
1. Communicate Expectations to Get Everyone On the Same Page
The first thing any new employee needs to know is what’s expected of them. If they’re unaware of tasks they’re supposed to complete, skills they need to have, or resources available to them, they won’t be capable of performing their job well.
A good first place to start is by sharing the position’s job description. This should include a list of tasks the employee needs to complete regularly and a summary of the ideal skill set for the person filling the role. It’s usually best to include this in the job listing. Then applicants know what they’re in for before they’re even hired.
You should also mention any potentially strenuous physical requirements, such as standing for long periods, heavy lifting, or even extended time in front of a screen. The hiring process can be a long one. Applicants don’t want to learn about barriers to their success after they’ve already accepted a position.
Additionally, you might look into creating a new employee manual. This could contain a wide range of information, including each role’s job description. A manual is also a useful location for information on how to use certain tools, such as a specific computer program you utilize.
This way employees have an easily accessible reference if they get stuck while learning new technology. It will also save time for other team members, as they’ll have fewer questions to answer throughout the workday.
2. Use On-the-Job Training to Build Relationships Between Team Members
Some businesses will put their new employees through an online training program before ever bringing them into the office. While this may work for some, there are significant benefits to implementing on-the-job training in addition to (or instead of) independent training.
For starters, it can help new team members start to build relationships with their co-workers from day one. Creating a solid mentorship system where new employees are paired with experienced ones provides ongoing support and rapport throughout your team.
On-the-job training also requires new hires to spend more time doing work that propels your business, and less time doing ‘busy work’. While educational, independent training modules may not have a direct impact on their teammates’ workloads.
However, setting new employees at tasks related to your business helps everyone mark items off their to-do lists while also teaching the newbie. This can help prevent existing employees from becoming or remaining overburdened during the onboarding process.
3. Break Training Into Digestible Chunks to Improve Retention
When a new team member comes in, it can be tempting to throw a lot of information at them all at once. After all, you likely hired this person because your team’s workload has become unmanageable. Or perhaps there was a significant gap in your skillset you needed to fill quickly.
However, you need onboarding to be effective as well as fast. If your latest recruit doesn’t retain any of their training, the time and effort spent trying to educate them will go to waste. Plus, you’ll be missing out on all the benefits of training we’ve already discussed.
Providing an accessible reference employees can turn to when they’re unsure – such as a new employee manual – is helpful. However, to decrease the amount of time your team spends looking up instructions, it’s wise to implement memory retention techniques in your training.
‘Microlearning’ is a concept that promotes breaking information down into small, highly targeted segments. This helps the learner focus intently on a single concept at a time so they can understand it fully, rather than dividing their attention and asking them to learn several concepts at once.
Additionally, in order to learn skills and information deeply, we have to access them on a regular – usually daily – basis. In some cases, employees will use the skills they learn during onboarding in their day-to-day work, helping them retain and improve on these concepts over time.
However, other equally important tasks and skills may be used less frequently. Providing ongoing training for these aspects of an employee’s job is necessary if they’re to be expected to retain the information.
4. Provide Opportunities for Ongoing Training to Build Your Team’s Skills
In addition to helping with information and skill retention, ongoing training provides opportunities to improve upon your whole team. As new technologies come out, better and more productive ways of accomplishing tasks will evolve.
Continuous training will keep your team up-to-date on relevant industry standards, techniques, and news. It can also be useful for team building. You may even discover some of your employees have hidden talents that could be useful to the business.
Workshops, seminars, and other formal training events are a common and effective method for ongoing training. Bringing in leaders from outside your company can help provide fresh insights to your team.
You might also consider implementing less formal ‘lunch and learn’ style training sessions. Cater in a meal and provide a group activity that refreshes certain safety and ethical guidelines, for example. This can be an enjoyable time for your team, while also keeping them up-to-date on core business policies and practices.
Some businesses also incentivize or fund employee participation in conferences, or other professional development opportunities. Awarding prizes such as gift cards for extra efforts made by your employees to better themselves (and therefore your company) can create a spirit of friendly competition among them. This is vital for long-term growth across the board.
Though it can be a little extra effort up front, training your new employees correctly can save you a lot of headaches down the line. Plus, you’ll end up with a more satisfied, better-performing team in the long run.
Remember these four tips when designing your team member onboarding process:
- Communicate expectations to get everybody on the same page.
- Use on-the-job training to build relationships between team members.
- Break training into digestible chunks to improve retention.
- Provide opportunities for ongoing training to improve your team’s skills.