How to Train New Employees

how to train new employees

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Efficiently training new hires is integral to saving time and driving your business’s success. According to Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey, nearly 12% of employees plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. This exodus creates a challenge for business owners and managers. They spend resources onboarding new talent and miss opportunities to maximize employee contributions.

You can set up new hires to succeed by implementing clear, impactful training methods. Research shows that poor employee training leads to 40% of employees leaving a position within the first year. Investing in higher retention can lead to greater output and happier employees — and that’s a win for everyone.

How to turn new hires into productive employees

Managers have been trying to identify the best methods to train employees for as long as work has existed. Having a streamlined recruitment process is the foundation for successful employees, but training remains a close second. As the nature of work and technology change, so too does training. However, certain concepts remain true and can guide your training, regardless of your industry.

Indeed breaks training into types or methods, citing these eight training methods as the best ways to boost employee morale, productivity, and overall job satisfaction:

  • Tech-based
  • Simulations
  • On-the-job
  • Coaching or mentorship
  • Instructor-led, classroom-style
  • Roleplaying
  • Prerecorded lesson videos
  • Case studies

We can classify these eight training methods into two overarching categories:

  • Informational training gives new employees everything they need to know about your business and how their role fits into it. The employee can then develop their own way of performing their duties.

  • Relational training doesn’t focus so much on the specifics of the business or the position but rather on the people in the business. Employees are introduced to fellow employees who help guide the new hire’s learning.

Of these two approaches, relational is typically more effective at quickly bringing people up to speed. Trainees can digest information at their own pace and rely on trusted colleagues when they have questions.

But five problems can minimize your training effectiveness:

  1. Companies assume the best employees can figure things out on their own. New hires know this and become reluctant to ask questions in an attempt to prove their competence.

  2. New hires are often given too much information at once. The intention is to give them everything they need to succeed, but it becomes overwhelming.

  3. Not enough time is spent introducing people to their new colleagues. Instead, quick introductions take the place of meaningful relationship building.

  4. New hires are often given “easy” tasks to experience early success. This can ingrain poor work habits and lead to false expectations about the work.

  5. Mentors are often assigned to new employees. This leads to a dynamic where new hires feel uncomfortable asking questions of someone they see as a mentor. This relationship works better if mentors are replaced by “buddies” who new hires feel more comfortable with.

With these potential pitfalls in mind, you can develop your training. There are three categories to focus on: onboarding, technical skills, and soft skills.

Onboarding best strategies

Onboarding, where you have new hires fill out all necessary paperwork, is important for business purposes but has little effect on performance. As such, accomplishing onboarding quickly allows you to focus your efforts on more important elements of training. Tips include:

  • Have an efficient system in place. Creating an onboarding checklist can be helpful.
  • Use automation tools to speed up the process. According to Indeed, automation tools are key in the onboarding process.
  • Use remote self-onboarding or employer onboarding tools to handle everything ahead of in-person training. Easy-to-use systems like Square Team Management help you keep track of employee scheduling and everything else it takes to run a successful business and staff.
  • Invest in intuitive POS solutions and tools. These business tools can make employee onboarding and training easy.
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Technical skills best strategies

Technical training includes teaching new employees your internal systems, such as your POS. To best do this, remember that different people have different learning styles. Learn Alberta breaks these styles into categories, including:

  • Visual: Learning by watching someone else perform a task.
  • Repetition: Learning by repeatedly doing something by yourself and adjusting to any mistakes.
  • Reading: Learning by studying a guide or manual.

The best training implements every learning style. You can also look at restaurants for examples of technical training, as even experienced servers need to learn new menus. This can be accomplished with a mix of all three learning styles:

  • Explain menu items to new servers. Also, let them see and taste items.
  • Allow new servers to take orders with support from a trainer. This helps them identify and answer typical menu-based questions.
  • Offer take-home study guides. Provide copies of the menu and ingredient lists for take-home study.

Tests can also be used to aid learning. According to Indeed, though, some testing can actually hinder the ability to learn. Testing is a useful tool but shouldn’t be overly relied upon. Focus on slow, flexible training that can be adjusted to suit each trainee.

Soft skills best strategies

Beyond technical systems, new employees also need to learn about your company so they can feel like a part of the team. You can retain more employees by communicating a strong company culture. Developing your company culture will lead to happier, more loyal employees.

We can again look at restaurants. Rather than simply training a server in their job, carve out time for them to shadow different employees:

  • Kitchen staff
  • Food runners
  • Bussers
  • Bartenders
  • Hosts
  • Managers

By understanding how the entire restaurant runs, they will understand the company better. Also, by giving new hires time with different trainers, you provide them with a chance to start forming co-worker relationships that will help them as they grow.

Collaborative design

Understanding your goals is the first step to designing an effective training program. Don’t be afraid to talk to your current staff and see what worked and didn’t during their training. This collaboration can help your training be as effective as possible today and into the future.