Careers & Education

How to train staff

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Here are tips for how to train staff to be effective and happy workers

Starting a new job, or taking on new job responsibilities, can be a stressful experience. There are so many unknows and everything is unfamiliar. Fortunately, there are several things that employers can do to make the transition easier.

Here are several tips on how to provide training for employees to help make the experience more enjoyable and less traumatic for all concerned.

Getting Off on the Right Foot

Jitters on training day are to be expected. New people, new faces, and new names often bleed together until you can no longer recall which name goes with what face. Providing employees with an employee directory, which includes the names, photos, jobs description, and contact information for the employees with which the they are likely to work with can help to take off the pressure of trying to remember everyone the first day at the new position.

Position Notebook

Every employer will have different ideas of the responsibilities for a given position. In order to help the new employee meet your expectations, you need to let them know what those expectations are. A "Position Notebook" should set forth a job description outlining their responsibilities, and it should also provide detailed descriptions of how to accomplish the tasks expected of them.

Making sure that all the parties involved are "on the same page" will help to reduce anxiety and disappointment due to non-articulated expectations.

Employee Handbook

In addition the the "Position Notebook," every new hire should also be given an "Employee Handbook." At the minimum, this handbook should contain the following:

  1. The name and contact information for the office administrator, as well as the the employee's immediate supervisor(s)
  2. Information regarding wardrobe requirement (including any exceptions to the normal wardrobe expections, such as Casual Friday, if applicable)
  3. Information regarding parking (including any fees, permits, and maps)
  4. Details regarding health insurance plans life insurance plans, retirement plans
  5. Information regarding performance evaluations, if utilized
  6. Information regarding bonuses, if offered
  7. As listing of company holidays
  8. Sick day and vacation day information
  9. Pay schedule information
  10. How the worker should handle and concerns or problems in the work place


A worker should also be provided with equipment that is in good working order, and they should have access to all manuals and guides related to that equipment. If the worker will be utilizing a computer in the course of his or her duties, the computer should be set up and have all applicable software installed prior to their starting date. Each employee should be provided with basic office supplies, including the obvious items like pens, pencils, tape, paperclips, stapler and staples.

By planning ahead, there is less "down time" and the employee can start training without unnecessary delays.

Encourage Questions

It is important to encourage an environment where workers can feel comfortable asking questions. The individual training the new employee should offer opportunities of inquiries on a regular basis and should provide a method for the new hire to take notes during the training process. It can take a while for a new process or procedure to become routine, and these notes can be a valuable resource to the worker.

Learning Curve

Every new position has a certain "learning curve," a period of time that it takes for the worker to become proficient in that position.

For some jobs, the employee can be working "hit the ground running" and work independently within a day or two, but for other positions, the worker may need to work under a mentor in order to gain the experience necessary before working independently. Employers should be realistic about the learning curve for a position, and the new hire should be advised of the learning curve in order to avoid feelings of either over confidence or inadequacy.

By incorporating these suggestion, an employer can help train employees while reducing the stress and trauma often associated with taking a new position.

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