4 Ways to Enhance New Employee Training

Published: January 15, 2015 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner, News, Working and Workplaces

Training is a must for new employees. When you're onboarding new team members, you want to make sure they get up to speed as quickly as possible, without sacrificing the quality of their training. In addition, your employee training program needs to cover both new and existing employees to ensure they have the right knowledge and skills to succeed.

Employee training is among the most effective ways to help employees maintain skills and improve performance, ensuring that your company retains a competitive advantage. New and existing employees typically appreciate training, since it leads to better performance and greater long-term job security--which in turn leads to improved employee retention and loyalty for your company. In fact, a recent survey from HR firm Robert Half found that on a scale of 1 to 10, employees ranked in-house training as 7.2 in terms of importance.

Having the right training program in place can make a substantial difference in terms of training quality and the benefits your company receives from employee training. Here's how you can enhance your employee training program to maximize your investment and realize gains in productivity and profit.

Start with a quality foundation

Highly effective training programs begin with the right resources. Make sure you choose high quality instructors who are professional and experienced educators, with strong knowledge in their fields of expertise. The best employee trainers will often provide training materials that will continue to serve as valuable resources for your company.

In addition to great instructors, ensure that you have a great training location. Your training area should have sufficient space for both employees and instructors, as well as all the necessary equipment your employees will need to complete their training.

Have a strategic plan

Just like any program, employee training initiatives are most successful when they're backed with a comprehensive plan. To start, identify the specific skills and knowledge you need to have your employees learn or improve upon, and specify the time frame for the training to be completed.

You should also clearly identify the goals of the training program, both in general and how they relate specifically to your company's goals and performance benchmarks. Make sure both new and existing employees understand how the training will help them within the context of the business--this helps to increase enthusiasm and participation in employee training programs.

Finally, determine how you'll track the results of your training program. Monitor the progress of your employee training, and choose a metric or set of metrics that will help you establish results and determine the return on your investment.

Remember that one size doesn't fit all

Successful employee training programs take into account that people are individuals, and learn at different rates in different ways. If you opt for a one-size-fits-all training program, you're likely to end up leaving people behind, resulting in poorly trained employees--or in losing employees altogether.

One effective way to combat the uneven learning curve is to encourage your more seasoned employees to share their own training experiences. You can also encourage a "buddy system" for training, by pairing experienced staff with new employees during training programs and exercises.

Mix the job into the classroom

For many companies, new employee training involves anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks in a learning setting, often for eight hours a day. Once the training period ends, they're expected to jump right in and understand how to do their job effectively. This type of "cold start" can be a struggle for many, even when they have the skills and knowledge they acquired in training.

Instead, allow time for your new employees to "job shadow" more experienced staff during the training period. By gradually introducing them to the business in action, and showing how their jobs will fit into the company's culture and day-to-day operations, they'll be more ready to perform out of the gate--giving you heightened productivity and a greater return on your employee training investment.

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