Like many human resource investments, training employees well upon hiring has been shown to improve retention rates and employee satisfaction.  There are many reasons to train your employees and just as many different techniques.  Larger businesses have developed in house ‘universities’ that function not only to train new hires but also to continue to develop workforces over the long term.   But as a small business you may not have the resources, or the desire, to adopt this type of model.

For smaller businesses with limited resources for training there are a few simple steps you can take to make your employees’ first experiences with your company positive and productive.  You may not have the ability to provide as much vestibule training but what you can do is extend and enhance on the job training for new hires.  Make sure that they feel welcome, all of their equipment is functional and ready for them, have a seasoned employee(s) engage and partner with them throughout their first few days or even weeks on the job.   The goal of training is not only to provide your employees with the technical skills they require but it also allows you to develop a relationship with your newest employee. 

In addition to the obvious reasons, such as culture integration, familiarization with systems and technical knowledge pertinent to job performance, there are other reasons to invest in a well-developed training program.  Forbes notes that this is an ideal opportunity for organizations to find ‘Brandable’ moments, in which employees are not only made aware of the company’s values but have an opportunity to embrace them.  Partnering a new employee with one his is well versed in your company’s goals and beliefs can promote a workforce that believes in your mission.

No matter the size of your business it is incredibly important that you are able to provide new hires with the skills that they need to do their job.  Training needs to focus on both breadth and depth.  Employees should be trained how to do their job well and be given an understanding of how their work fits into the business as a whole.  Practical skills should be taught alongside the business models and theories that drive the work.  As we are all aware, how things work in reality does not always match the way things are presented in the classroom.

Technical and professional skills are only the first component of the training process.   Make sure that the employee is aware how the office prefers to communicate, both formally and informally.  Encouraging their engagement with other employees helps to ensure that you are giving them the best opportunity to become contributing members of your business.  It’s important for you as an organization to build a level of trust with employees and a quality training program can go a long way towards that goal.

And remember, first impressions are just as important for a company as they are for an employee.

Previous Series Article: Continuing Education, A Wise Investment

Sources

1. Kelly, James. "Employee Training: 'Brandable' Moments." Forbes. December 6, 2010. December 4, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/06/employee-training-brandable-leadership-cmo-network-values.html

2. McGarvey, Rober J. "At First Sight: Will new hires love your company or leave it?". Entrepreneur. March 1, 2000. December 4, 2012. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/19376

3. Wartzman, Rick. "Why Training Employees Is Always a High-Wire Act". Bloomberg Businessweek. November 18, 2011. December 4, 2012. http://www.businessweek.com/management/why-training-employees-is-always-a-highwire-act-11182011.html

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