6 tips to improve new hire training

Whether you’ve hired an entry-level worker or an industry veteran, they need to be trained for their new role and understand how to meet your specific expectations.

Putting a new employee through an organized training process is essential to setting them up for success. In fact, one study shows that 77 percent of new hires who achieve their first performance milestone went through formal training during the onboarding process.

Don’t neglect your new hire training process — use the tips below to ensure it’s in good shape.

1. Select trainers carefully

Dory Wilson, founder of Your Office Mom, says who you choose to train new employees has a significant impact on their learning. Large businesses may have formal, full-time trainers, but many small and mid-sized businesses pull employees from their normal job duties to take on the role.

However, adding training to a current employee’s responsibilities can lead to issues: “You don’t want new hires paired up with a trainer who is too busy, who doesn’t like to train others, or can’t teach in a logical, patient manner. You have a small window of opportunity to create a good experience for new hires, and it starts with the right training and trainer,” Wilson explains.

2. Acknowledge variance in new hires’ skill levels

New employees will have different skill levels depending on their work experience, educational backgrounds, and learning styles. Mark Evans, founder of Summer Camp Hub, says this isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something you must consider as part of your training process.

“Some people might be more skilled in communication, while others are more technically inclined,” he says. “Acknowledging these differences will not only aid in tailoring your training, but also help you identify the best ways to employ your new hires’ strengths.”

3. Go beyond sharing information

It’s essential for employees to absorb pertinent information so they can perform their job duties, but they also need to form productive relationships with their coworkers. Evans says training is the perfect opportunity for new hires and veteran employees to meet and begin developing bonds.

“People often worry about how they’ll get along with coworkers,” Evans says. “Getting current employees involved in the training process is a great way to help new hires more easily connect with others and adapt to the workplace.”

4. Have new hires shadow current employees

“New employees often learn best by observing others performing tasks for a given role,” says Stephanie Lane, HR manager and lifestyle coach at SafeSpaceHub.

New hires who shadow current employees get a sense of how the work is done in practice, helping them better understand what to focus on as they do the work themselves. Have the new hire shadow multiple people when possible, as different employees work differently and can share unique insights on work processes.

5. Avoid overwhelming new hires with information

Lisa Chu, CEO of Black n Bianco, says trying to cram too much into new employees’ heads too soon can make the whole training process less effective — and the new hire less productive.

“They won’t absorb all the necessary information, which wastes time in the long run since you’ll have to reiterate information multiple times,” Chu says. “Be realistic about what employees can reasonably learn in a given time period, and develop your training accordingly.”

6. Confirm new hires’ understanding

“Anyone can simply nod or say yes to indicate their understanding,” says Wilson. But you need more than that to accurately determine how well a new hire has grasped the concepts introduced during training.

Even if you’ve done your best to cultivate a welcoming environment, new employees may still be apprehensive about asking questions or otherwise indicating they didn’t understand what they’ve been taught. Wilson recommends asking the new hire to reiterate key concepts in order to gauge their comprehension.

Evans, of Summer Camp Hub, adds that having a new hire perform a specific task can provide a reliable knowledge check to indicate what aspects the new hire needs to work on. “This is helpful to their learning process since they now have experience to pull from,” Evans says. “It can also help you refine your training process by identifying gaps or clearer ways to teach new hires in the future.”

This article is originally published on Jun 12, 2020, and updated on Jun 23, 2020.

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