Advice for Training New Employees

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 in 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 and aren't bogged down in business as usual. You don't have to accept their ideas for changes, but you do need to listen to them.

Protect Your Senior Employees

Employees that have been with the organization for awhile are a valuable resource. Much like the effect on older children when a new baby is brought home, you need to be sensitive to the needs of your experienced team members. While new employees will take up a big chunk of your time, make sure you don't neglect the rest of your team.

Use Senior Employees As Mentors

Another way to make sure that the senior members of your team continue to feel valued is to elicit them to serve as mentors for the new employees. It's also a good way to reduce the amount of your time you have to spend training new employees. It also fosters a sense of comradery and 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. Remember, the training phase takes time, but if not properly trained, employees will end up losing time asking questions and attempting to figure things out. When you set goals for new employees make sure they match their experience and skill level.

Provide Frequent Feedback

This is key. New employees especially need frequent feedback because you want to correct any mistakes before they become bad habits. Also, if employees are making mistakes it becomes 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

While managers need to be fair and treat employees the same, it's especially important when working with a new employee on your team. Showing favoritism always results in employees competing for your attention and breeds competitiveness among team members. And, while you have a different relationship with the more senior members of the team, don't let that cause you to be less than fair 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 for them 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 Team and Individual 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 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. And don't forget to celebrate the success of the senior members as well.