Training Up

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Running a lean and mean business doesn’t leave many owners much time to focus on employee training. Often times, until something comes up - there may be minimal training in a particular area.

Acclimation is key to keeping a new employee interested, motivated, and providing them with a sense of accomplishment that their contributing to the business.

"In small companies, it's really important for employees to know [what they're doing]," said Robin Jarvis, principal of HR solutions provider R.L. Jarvis & Associates in a recent Business News Daily article. "If you want to keep your new hires, you have to make them feel the way you feel about your company. [Training] is more than basic blocking and tackling. It's also explaining what the company is doing and why you want them to be a part of it."

The size, type of business, and job will likely determine the level of formal employee training new hires will receive. In addition to specific job function training, there should be an explanation of the basic policies and procedures in place that all staff members are expected to follow.

For owners of small businesses it’s easier to be involved in each staff member's training. However, as a company grows, personally devoting time to supervise and train new hires will diminish as the demands of running the organization increase. It is important to maintain a connection to new hires, but delegating some of this training to a valued employee should be considered. 

"The best resources a smaller business can utilize [for training] are its current employees," said Mark Newman, CEO of video recruiting platform HireVue in a recent article. "They can provide helpful tips and tricks that will help bring the new hire up to speed, and aren't built into training programs."

Typically, a new employee will ask a lot questions or require assistance from existing employees to get information needed to perform their job. It’s important to convey this (need for assistance), to existing employees so that they treat a new hire with an open, friendly approach, and exhibit patience. A great example is to have a veteran employee perform a “mentoring” function for a new hire – especially if the employee is taking on a big project.

Another aspect of training to consider with any new hire is that today’s workforce is very diverse and multigenerational. Now more than ever, the differences in work habits, learning, technology acceptance and experience levels come into play. A “blanket” approach to handling training will likely not work the same as it has in the past. Being flexible and adapting training to employee’s generational, or even cultural differences will help the new hire “fit in” quicker.

"Millennials are coming of age during a very different time than Gen X and baby boomers, and respond differently to training tactics," Newman told Business News Daily. "Harness [Gen Y's] tendency to engage with technology by offering online resources that offer additional training. Also, millennials crave feedback and advice, so help coach them throughout the training process, so they feel engaged, and whenever possible, give positive feedback."

Finally, an important aspect of the training process, no matter if the company has one or 100 employees, is to identify self-starters early in the hiring process. If a business can hire a resourceful self-starter who will seek knowledge and resources on their own – it makes it easier to train and acclimate them.

Encouraging this self-motivated learning begins with the employer understanding, and clearly recognizing the talents an individual possesses. When these talents are combined with the strengths of existing employees, and proper training is provided, the entire organization benefits.