Small to mid-sized business owners sometimes do not have the necessary budget and/or resources to effectively train employees. Lawsuit concerns also loom in terms of potential negligent training claims against employers. So, what to do?
Following these five steps for one-on-one training remains an effective and manageable way to get employees on board and up to speed.
Define The Job
Itemize the main duties and tasks of the job. Ideally, the primary responsibilities have already been documented in the job description you have on file.
Review your employees’ knowledge, skill, and ability levels to customize your training. Your interview notes will come in especially handy
Prepare To Train
List the areas of responsibility and procedures to complete each task. A good way to communicate this information is to create a training syllabus. Too many managers fall back on the “oh, yeah” style of training, reflecting a manager’s common response when an employee asks about duties that were never covered in the training. Without a record of the important duties, the employee gets the unfair burden of assuming problem areas, and a new employee is not in a good position to know what information has not been given.
When preparing to train, it is also important to select the right trainer. Managers frequently choose their best performing employees to train other employees. Those who do well at their jobs, however, are not necessarily good at explaining what makes them so effective. After all, if the skills come naturally to them, they may not have given much thought about how to develop them.
Communicate & Demonstrate
Clearly communicate the purpose, relevance, and value of the employee’s role within the company. Often, a manager will quickly talk an employee through his or her responsibilities. Although the manager may think this is the most efficient way to cover the material, it usually ends up being more costly in the long-run.
Employees will have different learning styles. They learn by hearing, seeing, and/or by doing. The savvy trainer can best ensure mastery by effectively integrating a variety of methods for communication. For instance, the trainer could demonstrate the procedures and steps while the employee watches, explain how the tasks relate to each other and to certain business needs, and then encourage the employee to give it a try.
An employee should also be given a manual capturing important terminologies, administrative procedures, and best practices. Most likely, the same or new questions will surface each time a new employee is being trained. So, view the training manual as an evolving document—revising it to address any questions the trainee has not currently addressed as well as any changes in business operations. Providing each employee with this first-step resource will save you, the new employee, the colleagues, and much of his or her manager’s time.
Encourage employees to ask questions, share feedback, and continue practicing. A new employee with a fresh perspective may identify ways to improve your business operations. Your interest in their comments will help strengthen their contributions to the team.
In addition, arrange time for the employee to complete a training session satisfaction and effectiveness feedback form. The feedback you gain can provide invaluable information for improving the training sessions and the designated trainer.
Follow Up Frequently
Schedule post-training check-in meetings to assess how the employee is performing in the new job. Once the employee has settled in, consider scheduling another short training session to address higher level skills or duties.
Also, remember to document the individual’s progress which is critical in your employee performance review process, and give special recognition when he or she performs especially well.
By applying these steps, you can train your employees efficiently and effectively. Along the way, you will foster an important mentor-mentee relationship as well as a stronger sense of teamwork. Meantime, your business will be on its way to building a staff of stars!