8 Guidelines for Training New Employees

Get Your New Hires off on the Right Foot

Two employees working on a project
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Managing new employees takes time, patience, and a lot of communication. You need to train them on the specific procedures at your company, what is expected of them, how they will be evaluated, and how to avoid common mistakes. You also have to remember that all individuals learn at different rates and in different ways. While the task can seem overwhelming, with the right kind of focus, the rewards can be great, for both you and the new employee.

Listen to Their Ideas

Even as you train new employees on how things should be done, don't forget to listen to their ideas about how to do things differently. By listening to them, you encourage creativity and innovation. You also demonstrate that you value them as individuals and as contributors, and in the process may get ideas from them that would actually improve the department. New employees are in a unique position to bring fresh eyes to a situation since they aren't yet bogged down in "business as usual." You don't have to accept their ideas for changes, but you do need to listen to them.

Don't Neglect Your Senior Employees

Employees that have been with the organization for a while are a valuable resource. You need to be sensitive to the needs of your experienced team members. Introducing a new employee into the mix has much the same effect as bringing a new baby home does on older children. While new employees will place demands on your time, make sure you don't neglect the rest of your team.

Enlist Mentors

Another way to make sure that the senior members of your team continue to feel valued is to nominate them to serve as mentors to assist with training new hires. This also reduces the amount of your time you have to spend training new employees and fosters a sense of camaraderie and a team spirit.

Set Realistic Goals

You need to set specific goals for new employees and communicate those goals clearly. Just make sure that the goals you set are realistic. If you rush it or are too aggressive with your goals, employees will end up backtracking later and attempting to figure things out that they should have learned during training. Start by taking a detailed assessment of their experience and skill level so that you can set a realistic pace.

Provide Frequent Feedback

This is key. New employees especially need frequent feedback because you want to correct any mistakes before they become bad habits. Besides, if employees are making mistakes it will become increasingly difficult for them to learn related tasks. Be sure to keep your feedback positive and focus on the behavior, not the employee.

Don't Play Favorites

Managers always need to be fair and treat employees the same, but this is especially important when working with a new employee on your team. Showing favoritism always results in employees vying for your attention and breeds competitiveness among team members. And, although you'll have a different relationship with the more senior members of the team, don't let that make you unfair with all of your other employees.

Focus on Team Building

As you train and develop a new employee, you also want to help them become part of the team. Make sure their schedule includes time to interact with others. Beyond the mentoring you offer, provide opportunities for people from both groups (senior-level employees and newbies) to work together. Give all new employees ample notice of upcoming team events and explain beforehand the parameters of the event and how they can participate.

Reward and Celebrate Individual and Team Success

As your new employees become better trained and more productive, they will begin to meet the goals you have set for them. Be sure to celebrate those successes at the same time that you increase their goals. As they begin to contribute more and more to the overall results of the team, be sure to recognize and celebrate the improved performance of the entire team, including the work of its senior members.