When it comes to training employees, there is no way to do it right, but there are some ways to do it wrong. Using outdated materials or not recording enough may not be intentional mistakes, but they could prevent your employee from succeeding as quickly as you would like them to in their role.
However, after years of training new employees, business leaders are bound to have picked up a few lessons along the way. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are here to share some of the lessons they’ve learned throughout their careers on how to train effectively and the advice they’d give to other business leaders training new employees for the first time.
1. Take advantage of updated SOPs
Use and update your Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents. The easiest way to stay consistent with your onboarding and training processes is with comprehensive documentation that your new hires (and their managers) can follow. This minimizes the risk of deviating from what is needed for that particular role and allows the new employee to learn at their own pace. It also provides confirmation and reinforcement in case someone forgets. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep mattress
2. Put yourself in their shoes
Think about your training experiences as the most junior employee in your industry, or even your days working really thankless jobs in high school or college. You’ve almost certainly had bad coaching experiences (or just bad managers in general). Go back, if you can, and learn from the mistakes of your former bosses. On a related note, don’t try to hit a home run the first time. Teaching is a skill anyone can learn, but it takes time and failure to get it right. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
3. Be patient and understanding
When it comes to training new employees, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to be patient and understanding. Each person learns differently and at their own pace, so it is crucial to tailor your training approach to their individual needs. I would recommend breaking the training into manageable chunks and providing hands-on experience whenever possible. This helps the employee better understand the material and feel more comfortable in their new role. – Rachel Beider, Modern Massage PRESS
4. Match the new hire with an experienced employee
In the hustle and bustle of running a business, it’s easy for managers and owners to assume that new employees have been onboarded into processes and operations more quickly than they actually have. You explain it once, maybe twice, and then get back to business, but a lot of information has fallen through the cracks. This can lead to frustration for you and other team members when the new hire makes mistakes you thought were covered. It also causes frustration for the new employee who is really trying to do their best, but wasn’t given enough information and tools at the beginning. The best way to avoid this is to pair them with a more experienced team member who they can look up to and ask questions. Give them the tools, resources and time they need to be productive and a valuable team member. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
5. Create a clear and concise outline of tasks
Being extremely thorough in outlining what tasks will be delegated to them before they start not only helps the new hire, but also helps other team members understand what role they will be fulfilling more clearly. Level setting along with transparency is also very important to build a clear channel of communication with the employee. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
6. Give them the context behind their work
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned when it comes to training new employees is to make sure they understand not only what do but Because it is important To do this, you need to give them context and explain the company’s values and how their role fits into the company’s overall mission. Also, you need to be supportive and patient and make sure they understand how each task of their job contributes to the success of the entire business. Remember that investing in the success of your employees will surely pay off with a motivated and committed team to ensure the success of your business. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
7. Also use training for relationship building
After years of training new employees, one lesson I’ve learned about getting it right is that you need to use that time not only to train them, but also to build a relationship of trust and mutual understanding. Create an environment for them in which they can come to you with their thoughts, queries, and concerns without fear of being judged or criticized. Give them the resources to learn and grow and set realistic goals. This will help them become a solid team member in the long run. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
8. Communicate (even if you think it’s too much)
One lesson I’ve learned over the years is that you can never overcommunicate when bringing a new team member on board. So when training an employee for the first time, my advice would be to prioritize clear communication, be patient, and give frequent feedback. Start by setting clear expectations and goals for the new employee, and provide them with the resources and training necessary to achieve those goals. Throughout the training process, be supportive and provide constructive feedback to help them learn and improve. Also encourage them to ask questions. The more questions they ask, the faster they pick up all the internal processes. – Solomon Timothy, OneIMS
9. Remember to be human
You can talk all you want about expectations and roadmaps, but really, just be nice. Be human and don’t give automated answers. Sure, you should have a list of things to go over and hit, but don’t be robotic with your training. Have fun with training. Meet the person with whom you will spend between 30 and 40 hours a week. See if you think they’ll be a good fit for your company in the long run. What do they like to do? Can they be adapted? Do they have career goals? In general, a roadmap and expectations are helpful, but be kind and have fun with the training. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
At Ikaroa, we understand the importance of training and orienting new employees to your organization. It’s essential to make sure they know your mission and values, understand the job duties and tasks they’ll be expected to complete, and have a good outlook toward the company and its people.
When it’s time to welcome a new employee on board, there are a few key lessons to follow in order to do it right:
1. Set Clear Expectations. Before employees even start, give them a clear objective of what is expected from them. Explain the job duties, the expected performance standards, and other expectations like attendance, punctuality, and customer relations.
2. Focus on Basics. Give your new employee a firm foundation in the basics. This can include things like how to use the company software and tools, job-specific processes that must be followed, safety information, computer system commands, and other such items.
3. Take Small Steps. A comprehensive plan for learning all the ins and outs of your organization can be overwhelming for new employees. By breaking down learning into manageable chunks, the employee can focus on one task or procedure at a time and be successful while they learn.
4. Show and Tell. Demonstrate the various processes and tasks the employee will be expected to complete. Then when they’re ready, have them take the lead and teach these same processes back to you to ensure they have a full understanding.
5. Cultivate Relationships. Introduce the new employee to their colleagues, and to key stakeholders in the organization. Encourage your new employee to ask questions, to sincerely build relationships and understand how their role fits into the big picture.
6. Assign a Mentor. Assign an experienced employee as a mentor to the new hire. They can provide their personal experience, guidance and advice, and can be a great source of support as the newcomer navigates their own learning journey.
7. Offer On-Going Training. Make sure the employee has a complete set of materials, either on-line or off, so they can refer back to them as needed. Also, provide on-going training throughout their employment to ensure they keep up with any changes and new information.
8. Encourage New Ideas. Part of orienting a new employee is to encourage them to think outside the box and suggest new ideas and solutions. This is especially important for larger companies where process improvement and innovation will be essential for success.
9. Monitor and Assess. As your new employee gets settled into their job, periodically review their performance, answer their lingering questions, and correct any behaviors or mistakes that can be improved.
These nine areas should provide a good starting point for orientation and training an employee. Doing it right will help ensure your new employee is quickly assimilated, and fully prepared to carry out their job responsibilities. At Ikaroa, we understand the importance of training and orienting new employees and helping them become successful.