5 ways to better train a new hire

Would you be surprised to find out many of our teachers and trainers never received any formal guidance in how to effectively teach? We tend to model instruction after what we’ve experienced as students ourselves.

Studies show that science-backed methods of training can reduce the timeframe from when an employee is hired to when they reach full productivity, by weeks! You don’t need to be an expert to use these methods and when done right, they can actually reduce your workload as a manager.

Set Your Training Outcomes

Sounds trivial? Think again. A training outcome must be measurable and achievable.

For example, Learn how to use the company’s CRM system is not a training outcome, because it describes a process and it’s hard to define when it has been achieved.

Ask yourself: what task can only be successfully completed by a person who completed the training you’re designing? For example, Reach out to a group of 10 customers and ask about their experience is a good training outcome since it requires a new employee to use a CRM system to properly find and reach out to customers.

The first step in designing any effective training is defining training outcomes. After that, it’s simply a matter of listing the abilities and skills needed to achieve these outcomes. The result is a map to your training.

Use Active Learning

What is a better method to memorize the way to a destination, by reading a map or physically following a path? Science shows that active learning can be up to 50% more effective than passively listening to instruction. Are you spending too much time explaining things your employee could learn by experience?

Most training outcomes can be achieved faster by taking small active steps. You just need to find what small tasks build the skills needed to achieve the learning outcome. Letting a worker accomplish tasks will not only free valuable time for you, it will also promote a culture in which your employees are not dependent on you to figure things out.

Give your employee basic guidance and let them find the different department heads in your company and schedule an introduction with them, for example. Or direct your new hire to the resources needed to learn how to use an internal system and give them a simple task to complete when they feel they are ready. Achieving training outcomes actively demonstrates success to both you and your new employee.

Active learning is not limited to physical actions. With a proper prompt, even watching a video can become active. All you need to do is to ask a question beforehand. For example, ask your worker to write down the mission of the company in their own words before showing them a video of the CEO discussing it. They will listen to the words more carefully with a task at hand.

Let Your Team Do The Heavy Lifting

Many managers see it as their own responsibility to fully train a new hire. But training is actually best shared among the coworkers a new employee needs to interact with while doing their job. This will not only reduce time spent for management, it will create powerful bonds between coworkers, while also being more effective and fun.

For example, onboarding usually involves covering a company’s history, goals, and mission. If every department head in your company has the responsibility to explain one piece of this subject, your new hire can get the full picture by meeting different people they will ultimately need to work with to be successful at their job. This method has been proven to increase worker retention as it promotes emotional connections between coworkers. It also promotes a culture of knowledge sharing among employees.

Use A Mentor

New employees often find themselves confused or overwhelmed. Having a designated person to ask advice can be an invaluable resource. A mentor should initiate contact and not just be “available for questions.”

Regular check-ins by someone who has been there themselves can make all the difference for a new hire and set an important example for them. Not everyone can be a good mentor so choose wisely. Create a simple outline describing what this responsibility entails and what the expectations are as far as availability. After all, the mentor also has a job to do.

Trust should be created between a new hire and their mentor. A new employee should feel free to ask questions they may not want management to know they asked, and this should be encouraged, with certain exceptions. Make sure to periodically check-in with both the mentor and the new hire to ask how the process is going.

Always Strive To Improve

Feedback about training should be requested during the process and not years later. A new hire will answer honestly if they feel a question is genuinely asked. They will feel seen and that their opinion matters which will turn to higher motivation and retention over time.

Different people will take your training over time, so giving them the same kind of instruction makes no sense. Effective training must continuously grow and evolve. Ask a new hire about their expectations before training begins, and their conclusions once it is done. Is it more difficult than they thought? Was there anything surprising? What was the most boring part? You’ll be able to improve your process and make it even better over time.