There have been hundreds of pages written about how to hire effectively. It’s rare that I see an article on how to train effectively. I believe that hiring is truly an important activity. At the same time without great training you can often have great hires not do as well as you had hoped they would.
Too often I see people being trained on the job. New hires either shadow someone else or a trainer is shadowing the new hire with real customers.
The problem with shadowing is your new hire won’t learn anything. They’ll watch, but humans don’t learn well from watching. We learn well from doing.
The second scenario has your new employee working while being shadowed by a trainer. Your new employee will likely learn more this way, but often at the expense of great customer service. I find that when new hires train with live customers there is a great deal of stress on the new employees part.
Find a way for new employees to practice on present employees. In many companies this is a real challenge. Unless you have people dedicated to training new employees your trainers will be trying to get back to work. If you do have people dedicated to training you will find your initial training costs go up.
If you look at great customer service companies they always invest the money in a dedicated training program. First they often teach new hires what’s great about the company they just joined. Then they have a dedicated training process where the new employee gets to learn their job outside the pressure of dealing with customers. They are trained by people whose only present job is to successfully train the new team member.
Many people think the extra expense for having a dedicated training process is something they can’t afford. My own experience was the opposite.
When we had our vending company and we used the traditional method of training it would take us six weeks before a new service person was allowed to fill machines on their own. Even after six weeks they would make tons of mistakes that cost us a significant amount of money to fix.
Eventually we established a dedicated training process for our route drivers. This change reduced training time from six weeks to two weeks before our new hire could work on their own. We also found the number of mistakes our new team members would make was significantly less the traditional method of shadowing.
What are your training methods? Do you have a way for getting new employees up to speed quickly and with a high level of confidence?
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