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How to provide training to new employees

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You can effectively provide training to new employees with some HR pointers

When you are welcoming a new employee into your company, it can be a bit hard to know just how you want to get them to understand your goals and what their personal work goals should be. It can be especially hard if you have been a member of the company for a long time because everything you need to show someone how to do is now second nature to you. 

Trying to start over and show someone else how to do it can be a bit of a task.  Knowing how to provide training to new employees becomes even more difficult when you are trying to standardize job protocols for longer periods of time.

Establish an Environment for Learning

The best way that most employees will learn their job is to watch it being done by someone else first. Just how long you have someone witness the job they are supposed to be doing is up to you, but there should be enough training that should a problem arise they can deal with it. Shadowing is the first step but as their training process goes forward, they should be quizzed and allowed to deal with issues that come up while they are observing. Throwing them to the wolves isn't going to work, but neither is never preparing them for the inevitable problems that come with the job.

You should also make sure that the training environment is a friendly one. If a new employee is being trained by someone who doesn't really want to be there, they will know fairly quickly. Being trained by someone who is basically hostile to you isn't going to earn yourself a very well trained employee. The person who is assigned to training new employees must understand the best ways to teach a new hire and they must be willing to employ those techniques as best they can.

Have the Right Staff as Trainers

In the small business world especially, there is an instinct to assign mediocre employees to the job of training, because you want the better workers spending their time actually working.  While that premise may be sound on its face, there is also a real argument to make for allowing the best employee show the others how its done.  The best time to start that is at the beginning of an employee's stay when they are the most receptive to changing how they view things should be done.

There is a real danger that if the middle of the road employees are allowed to teach, they will teach others how to become middle of the road. You certainly don't want your new hires being taught that while your company only allows 15 minute breaks, "no one really cares" if you take 25 minute breaks instead. Allowing a new hire to slip down that slope is going to end in having the employee end up with a less than stellar record.

Piece by Piece and Extended Learning

Learning a new job can be extremely stressful on the hire. They can feel like they are trying to absorb a ton of new information at a break neck pace, even if you believe the training process is moving too slow. The best way to counter this is to have a training program that moves piece by piece or is segmented. Make sure the employee feels as though they fully understand one task they are expected to do before you move onto the next one.

Extended Learning is exactly what it sounds. This basically means that new hires will continue training in one degree or another even as they slide out of the official "trainee" moniker. Weekly or monthly recaps is one way to make sure they are still learning as new hires. Another is to have weekly or monthly training sessions over one day that will continue to instruct the newer members of the staff on the company policies.

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