How to Help and Effectively Train New Employees

Having new employees in the work place can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding events for a business. This new blood has been hired to help improve your company, your product and your culture. That is why the training period for these employees is so crucial – they need to learn about the company right away and how to work within it, otherwise it’s possible they will become discouraged and lackadaisical in their day to day job. Here, we are going to go over four simple processes that will help ensure that as you train new employees they will enjoy the process as well as remember what they learned for longer periods of time.


Step #1: Get Them a Binder

Three Ring BinderOne of the biggest challenges with training a new employee is overall confusion over specific requirements.  Lack of clarity, or a clear understanding of what is expected, is the most common problem that keeps employees from performing well.  To fix this sort of simple problem, make sure that each new hires has their own three ring binder, usually given to them on their first day, to help them through the day to day processes of working in your company. This binder will hold everything that they need to succeed.  In addition to their co-workers and managers, any time they feel lost or confused they will have a fixed resource to consult.

An easy way to lay out their training binder is with five separate tabs. The tabs might focus on the areas that the employee needs to know the soonest to complete their job. An example could be:

Tab #1: Forms

Tab #2: Processes

Tab #3: Locations of Important Items

In addition to these tabs, there should be simple instructional steps to help guide the employee to know what to do.  Let’s use the example of Tab #1 above; Forms. Included with each form in that section, on the left side of the page (essentially the back of the previous form), there might be a step-by-step guide for filling out that particular form. The instructions might discuss when the form needs to be filled out, what each field means, where to file it or who to turn it into to. In this way there can be no confusion on what the form is and how to use it. Also, allow them space to write their own personal notes. You can follow this same practice for other sections or tabs within the binder as well.

Think of the training binder as the ultimate source of training information for them.  It is easy to update and simple for them to refer to.  It is a simple tool but highly effective.


Step #2: Find a Video

RemoteSome businesses hiring front line or entry level staff on a frequent basis.  Sometimes the hiring and training process can be very time consuming and tedious for managers.  If not managed carefully, the hiring and training process can become ineffective for both new hires and managers thus creating more problems down the line.  One way to streamline portions of the training might be through the use of videos.

Training videos can be used for most any purpose such as training on processes, products, procedures, policies, company background, target clients, sales and marketing strategies, etc.  Any training that a new hire goes through that is exactly the same for all employees, regardless of their position, might be a good candidate to be done via a video.  Many companies will do in person training and then take a break and show a 30 minute video on Sexual Harassment or other Policies and Procedures.

But what about current employees?  Should they get the same training or at least be aware of any company policy updates, etc?  Certainly!  Managers can find short periods of time each day to have their new or existing employees sit down and watch a short video about some important topic.  The video could be 5 minutes or 50 minutes.  This sort of practice will save managers time, insure the right information is being covered the right way, and it gives the employees a chance to take a break and stay up to date on important topics related to the company.


Step #3: Train the Trainer

Most new hires dread new hire training.  Why is that?  Because it is dull and boring.  Sure some of the material is exciting because it relates to a new job with a new company.  But studies show that 30 days after a new hire starts working for a new company, they have forgotten 87% of what they were trained on during the first week.  You won’t have much success training new employees if the trainer or manager is boring, unorganized, uninterested and/or not up to date on what they should be training. This, as a manager, is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle in making sure new hires have the best on boarding experiences possible.

One suggestion might be to spend some time on YouTube. Research different aspects of training that you think apply directly to your organization and hiring process.  Examples might be: mentoring, coaching, training preparation, training delivery, post training follow up, training evaluation, etc.  Understand these and other important topics will help your manager/trainer be better prepared and more engaging for the new hires.

Good managers and trainers are also good students and learners.  It is highly recommended that the manager/trainer have their own three-ring binder as well.  This binder might contain information on advanced tips for being a better manager and trainer. The tabs might focus on different sections of the training and ways to make the material engaging, interesting and useful to the new hire.  A train-the-trainer binder becomes a valuable resource to the manager for other types of training they might do as well.  Most managers get involved in other kinds of staff, product or systems training.  This training binder can help them avoid being boring and dull.  It might take some time to develop the training binder, but it will be well worth the time for those who will be learning from them.


Step #4: Follow up & Follow through

When the trainer has completed training, one of the best things they can do is help the new hire put together an Action Plan.  An action plan is something that helps the learner take what they have learned and actually implement it.  Someone once said that “Knowledge is power”.  While that is certainly true, we have found that “Knowledge put to work is powerful”.  Most people do a poor job at getting started on new ideas or things they learn.  They simply get distracted and busy and go back to the way things used to be done.  We are certainly creatures of habit.  However, as managers and trainers we cannot let new hires (or current employees) take that route.  We have to encourage them to implement and make changes.  There are three questions that will help the new hire focus their new knowledge on the doing and implementation part.  Here they are:

  • What do you want to start doing?
  • What do you want to stop doing?
  • What do you want to continue doing?

These questions will cause the new hire to put together their action plan.  Encourage them to share with you what their action plan looks like.  Encourage them and support them as they work to implement their action plan.  Be sure to follow up with your new hire and see how they are coming with the action plan.

It is not uncommon for trainers or managers to get together with their new hire once a week, for the first three months in order to check up on them. Most people view this sort of follow up and follow through as evidence that they are noticed, appreciated and cared about.  This sort of consistent follow up will certainly lead to improvements.  Do not be afraid to continue asking the three questions from above to further help the new hire refine their action plan as time goes by.

Having new employees in the work place can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding events for a business. These four steps that we have covered will help managers who are responsible for training their new hires and help insure that the process isn’t boring and that the new hires start their new careers off on the right foot.


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