5 Things You Can Improve When Training New Hires
When you’re hiring new employees it’s likely that they are bringing you something unique with their experience and abilities. However, you will have to carry out all training yourself or have them shadow another employee as a form of on-the-job training.
There may come a time when the new hire asks a question that you know you have answered, or they do something backwards that you know you’ve trained them to do in the correct way. This can lead to you feeling frustrated and thinking that they “just don’t get it”. This probably isn’t a cognitive problem, more of a communication issue. If you adjust how you communicate with your new hires, you’ll probably find that the worker performs really well.
What can you do to improve how you carry out training?
1. Take a step back
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you were once in their shoes. You fall into a trap where you think that because you understand it, everyone else should as well. You need to remember that this isn’t always the case.
A key to successful training is to slow down a little and take a step back. Remember that people don’t want to look stupid or feel embarrassed, so when they nod to say they understand, this may not necessarily be true. Let the new hire know that you can stop at any time and go over the ground that you’ve already covered and encourage them that you would rather them ask questions now than be confused further down the line.
2. Have more substance
Because you have been doing the job for so long, it’s likely that you can summarise some very abstract concepts. It’s important to give these concepts some substance so that the new hire understands what you’re talking about and can visualise it in the correct way.
For example, if you’re a dentist and you need to explain to a patient what a dental implant is and how it works, it may be best for you to give them a scale model that they can see and feel. This gives them a better understanding of what you’re talking about and what you’re going to do.
The same thing can be said when you’re training new hires. You need to figure out what they do and do not know and use tools to fill those knowledge gaps.
3. Lessen the learning curve
Imagine you’re teaching in a school and you’ve just covered basic maths, 1+2=3 kind of things, then you go straight into quadratic equations. It’s likely that your students won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. The learning curve is just too steep to go from one concept to the other.
The same things might be happening with your new hires. You might be jumping from one thing to the next while they’re just sat there wondering whether they can escape to an easier job. Check-in with them at regular intervals and if they’re lost, ask where you lost them and what you need to do to get them back on track.
4. Clear up any misunderstandings
Your new hire may only understand certain terminology in the way the person on the street does, whereas in your industry it may mean something completely different. This may get frustrating for you because you’re there thinking that they’ve checked out of their training when, in fact, they just haven’t understood a word you’ve said in the last 10 minutes.
Instead of forcing your new hires to try and work out what you mean from the context of the conversation, encourage them to ask you about anything they don’t understand. If they are stuck, try using the word in a few sentences, or by using different phrasing. This should give them a good grasp of what you’re trying to say to them.
5. Remember that you don’t know everything
When you enter the mindset of thinking you know everything, it can be hard for you to accept that your new hires may know things that you don’t. You may not want to listen to their viewpoints because “they’re wrong and I’m right”, but remember, you hired these people for a reason. You need the experience they’re going to bring to the table. If they have opposing viewpoints to yours, it’s an experience for you to learn from them.
If you’re in charge of training any new hires, remember that you need to have good communication with them. If you feel as though your new hire just isn’t getting it, then you might have to change how you’re delivering the training to them. And don’t forget, you’ve been in their shoes before.
If you manage to get it all right, your trainees will be performing at their best for you soon.
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