- Richard Keehan
4 Common Mistakes When Training Employees
Part of being a manager or supervisor is training employees. Too often, though, training employees fall short of expectations. Trainers are disappointed because
The staff "just doesn't get it."
Staff are disappointed because their trainers went too fast, assumed too much about previous knowledge, or didn't listen to their questions.
1) Forgetting "the why"
Most training programs centre on HOW an employee should do their job.
The how is clearly important — a new employee needs to understand the nuts and bolts of their responsibilities, the tools their will use to do their job, and the expectations of the role.
But the employee also needs to be trained on the why. Understanding "the why" gives them a deeper understanding of their role in the organisation and what the organisation is all about. It empowers them with problem-solving skills and allows them to evaluate processes and root out inefficiencies.
Trainers also must communicate expectations from all levels to the trainee: the company's expectations, the department's expectations, and the supervisor's expectations. Make your Process Training cards having Expectations set out for each task
BEST PRACTICE: Start with the "why" and explain expectations from a high level, gradually bringing it down to a personal level for the greatest context.
Build out a process card so all staff are taken through the WHY. (and set it reoccurring to remind them why)
2) Rushing the learning process
[or telling employees everything at once before letting them get their hands dirty]
The goal of an onboarding process is to get an employee up to speed as fast as possible, right? But hitting them with all of the information upfront can make it difficult to digest.
There are five basic steps in the learning process:
Communicate: Verbal, written, and through discussion of the task at hand. This can he detail on a training task
Experience: Doing the task.
Practice: Doing the task over and over.
Feedback & Adjustments: Here the trainee receives constructive criticism and insight about how to stay on the right track. - Re check the process Task
Expanding Skills: Getting better at a task fuels more questions about the task and its mastery. - Next level Process Task
The learning process is cyclical and never-ending
The long and short is that "telling" alone isn't training. Until trainees gain experience, trainers must be prepared to keep sharing knowledge and reminders until trainees have a skill under their belt.
BEST PRACTICE: Don't rush the learning process, and incorporate hands-on learning as early as possible.
Use Process Tasks to communicate the task, systems, procedures and expected outcomes and then follow up on the task over time. The system will prompt for reviews and checks
3) Picking the wrong trainer
Communicating and learning are only as good as the trainer. It may seem obvious, but choose the right individual to lead the process of training employees.
Keep in mind the best teacher is not necessarily the person that's best at the role themselves.
The trainer should be accessible to the trainee. This means that the trainer needs to physically be around, and the trainer's door needs to be open. What's more, the trainer needs to be emotionally and mentally available to the trainee — that is, the trainee shouldn't have reservations about approaching the trainer for help.
BEST PRACTICE: Pick the right trainer. High aptitude does not guarantee the patience required for the role. Use Process Cards to prompt re training and ongoing training. Sometimes one staff member passing on info to the next looses parts of the training process required. Formalise the training through Process
4) Missing an opportunity to continuously improve
Your newest hires and the teams they join can offer some of the best feedback on your training program!
Don't forget to retrain and adapt your processes
Check in with the new employee to get a sense of their experience, and review with their team whether they effectively learned what they were supposed to learn.
Training programs that don't undergo regular review never will improve, which means your staff — and supervisors — will remain underdeveloped. Is that a risk your organisation can afford to take?
BEST PRACTICE: Stay commitment to employee training and regularly review to identify areas for improvement. Process will re train and re check staff are applying the training over time. But you need to re check your Process Cards to ensure that the information is current and up to date