Part of the reason people wait too long to hire staff is because they dread the idea of training new employees. I understand that feeling completely. I run a small business and I cringe when it’s time to add staff.
It’s expensive to take on new people. You have to pay them of course and pay your seasoned staff to train this new person too. Then all you can do is hope there is enough time left over to actually get some work done.
The solution I found is to be focused and clear about what new people do, when they do it and how they do it. Here is the strategy that works for my company.
At first, we train new people on daily tasks only. We don’t train new people on things that only need to be done once in awhile . And we never train for a task that doesn’t have to get done right now. I believe in “just in time” training. I’m not running a college; I’m running a business after all.
I strongly suggest that you don’t ever show anyone how to do anything. Rather, guide them as they do it. Of course you can guide them more than once (but once should be sufficient). In other words, let them get their hands dirty. Put them in front of the keyboard or jackhammer (as the case may be) from the start and let them go for it. (Obviously you should only do this if the damage from a potential mistake is minimal.)
And let them make mistakes of course. But train them “hands on” rather than “eyes on”. This step will save you inordinate amounts of time. Showing someone something is almost always a complete waste of time. Having them actually do something is much more productive.
Ask your new hire to keep a daily log of tasks he or she has performed. The log should include what was done; start time, end time and how much work was completed. Also, ask the person to note any difficulties, questions or roadblocks they encountered while on task. This will help you streamline the process for future staff members.
If your work is computer related, use a “screen capture” software package to make training easier. You can easily find a good package for less than $100. It should record both the screen and your voice as you narrate and explain what you are doing. I do this with the new hire sitting next to me so I can also record questions and answers.
By doing this, the person can come back and reference the training videos next time he or she has to compete that task in the future. This is important because many times people have work to do that doesn’t have to be repeated every day.
If for example you only do an audit once a month, your new person can come back to the video you record next month to get a refresher on all the steps. It’s too much to expect new folks to remember how to do everything after guiding them through the process only one time. By recording the screen as you narrate and guide them through, you won’t have to repeat yourself.
The last step in training your staff is to be willing to admit when you make a mistake. If your new hire doesn’t work out, “graduate him”. It’s time to let this new hire go. Free up his time to do something he’ll be successful at.
Training new employees is a process that must be well thought out. By using the steps outlined above you’ll save time and a great deal of expense.
What tips can you share to help train new staff quickly?