Training New Employees
You have hired who you think is the perfect new addition to your sales floor at your new retail home improvement store. No matter how perfect the fit is, the next step is making sure to train the employee effectively to help them feel comfortable in the position, and to insure they are meeting the requirements of your company. Each company will have a specific method to train their employees. These plans may be set up in an excel workbook format for consistency. Small companies may have one employee training the new employee. But whatever the size of your company, the goal is the same, to insure a well trained employee who knows the tasks and requirements of their position.
Orientation must happen first, and includes the basics of hiring a new employee. All payroll paperwork needs to be completed, including the W-4, I-9 and any state forms that may be required. It may also be necessary to obtain direct deposit information from your new employee, or to have them complete paperwork for insurance programs or other employee benefit programs. This process should be done first, prior to beginning any training programs.This process will also include company overview, policies and procedures, compensation and basic safety rules. Depending on your organization, you may put other components into this process.
Once the employee has the general company overview, orientation for their particular job should begin. This will include department orientation, job duties and responsibilities outlined, policies and procedures clarified and tours and introductions to other employees. Again, depending on the size of your company, this may be over a few hours or over several days. Make sure you have an orientation plan in place, so new employees feel welcomed and comfortable in their new role.
Training can also be called “onboarding.” Some large companies have entire online systems set up with checklists to onboard new employees. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has excellent resources to use in implementing an onboarding process for new employees. If you decide to work in the human resources area of your company, it is strongly encouraged to join SHRM to be kept current on all aspects of human resource management, due to frequent changes in the laws and guidelines surrounding employment.
Training is the process of learning the steps and processes of the job. It is like a course to learn the position. Training is also a continuous process, as new equipment, machinery or processes develop. Training is a complex and ongoing process, which starts when an employee is hired, and continues through the length of employment.
Starting with a training needs assessment, which helps managers determine what training needs to be provided is a good idea. Then programs can be put together to meet the needs of the employees and departments. There are several different ways to offer training:
- Lectures. Can be effective, but not a good way for all learners or all positions. Some people have the ability to learn by listening, but others need a more hands on approach.
- Practice. This method is more effective for most learning processes. Imagine you are hired to work at the checkout terminal of a retail grocery store. Would it be more effective to have a cart full of groceries to practice with, or listen to someone walk you through the process? Most people would learn better by practicing!
Adults may need a different training process, especially if an adult is already skilled in the area they will be working in. Treating adults as partners in the learning process, rather than as passive participants is important. Offer practice situations to help them see how your organization does a certain task. Make sure to offer assignments and practice that encourages critical thinking and effort to learn the process, and that correlate closely to the work they will be doing.
Training is a very important component of the onboarding process. Make sure to put together a good program that helps employees feel confident in the tasks needed to fulfill their job roles.