How To Make Employee Training Periods Effortless
Whenever you bring on a new team member there will inevitably be a period when they are learning the ropes, and employee training can be a challenge.
You may have heard it said that when you first hire someone it’s actually double the work for you. This is because it’s usually up to you, personally, to provide employee training and answer any questions.
Employee training can be a very stressful time for both business owners and their new hires. The business owner is stressed trying to teach things on a tight schedule while the new hire is stressed because they are learning how the business owner likes things done.
You can also assume that there will be mistakes made, balls dropped and a bit of a shaky period. Most experts estimate that it can take up to a month before a new hire starts feeling properly trained and up to speed.
And this doesn’t just happen with new-hire, employee training either. Any time you implement new systems, change things in the business, or get new software your team will require a bit of a training period as well.
Tips to make employee training process seamless:
My team and I spent a good part of the beginning of this year learning how to use new email marketing software for the company, and it took us about a month just to get the basics down.
The bad news is there is no way around this. It’s natural for these things to occur and you can’t just expect a new hire to understand everything off the bat—especially when it comes to your preferences.
You can’t just expect people to immediately understand new systems or procedures when they are changed. Employee training is a process—for a reason. The good news is there are certain measures you can take to make sure employee training periods are as easy as possible. Use our tips to help you out.
1. Make video tutorials
This is something I did before I even hired my first team member and it’s an idea I got from Carrie Smith of Careful Cents. Every time I did a task I was planning on handing off to a team member I made a screenshare video using Screen-o-matic and uploaded it as an unlisted video on YouTube.
For instance, if I was writing invoices I filmed my screen as I did it while explaining what I was doing. In essence, I was creating a sort of virtual, employee training manual where team members could actually see how to use something.
This is a method my team and I utilize even today every time we try something new, that way we already have a video to go should we ever outsource a new task to someone.
2. Create an operations manual and update it regularly
Most people wait until they have their first team members before they begin writing an operations manual, but you can actually start before that for more success.
Before hiring my first team members I created a document of basic policies and procedures. This helped my first team members have a better idea of what I expected and how I expected it to be done. Additionally, it’s important to continue updating this manual as you go along. For instance, when we upgraded email marketing system earlier this year we got rid of the old stuff and replaced it with new instructions.
It’s much easier to do it this way than it is to wait until you’ve hired the people you plan on outsourcing to.
3. Let them know they can ask questions
It’s much more important that something is done right than for your new hires to try and guess what to do. Let your trainees know that if they ever have any doubts to always ask you first—and this is important for more than just employee training. This opens the lines of communication for everyone. You are also better able to teach new hires, and you can avoid some costly mistakes during the training period and beyond.
4. Show encouragement and give feedback
You have to keep in mind that your new team members are probably extremely nervous and that it affects their ability to perform. Show them encouragement so they know when they are doing things right. This helps them feel more at ease.
Additionally, you’ll want to give feedback on their performance. The important part here is to make sure you’re giving actual feedback and not criticism.
This is where lots of business owners drop the ball and lose team members early on. So instead of saying “You did it wrong. Here’s how you do it…” you can try saying “I like how you did X but let’s try it this way from now on.”
5. Stop controlling so much
It can be hard to let go of the control and start letting people take care of tasks for you, but eventually you’re going to have to take the training wheels off.
You can do this gradually as time goes on. For example, perhaps the first week you’re always available to answer questions but the second week you step back just a little bit. The following week you step back a little bit more and by the fourth week you’re more comfortable with the new hire.
While there’s really no way to avoid an employee training period, you can make it easier on yourself and your team by following some the steps above. By taking action before, during and after hiring someone you’ll be able to ease the transition for everyone.