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Boaz Amidor

WalkMe

Head of corporate marketing

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How to keep training short and still prevent new employees from crashing

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Getting new hires ready for the task at hand is one of the hardest parts of the HR and training cycle. But Boaz Amidor has a few good pointers.

Expert paratroopers can land on their feet and immediately start running towards the next target. In the business world it is very common to hear managers state that they will only hire employees that will be able to hit the ground running, straight after the shortest possible training period.

Reality bites

In reality only a select few can hit the ground running. Moreover, they have to be experts in the niche they are asked to master. Still, in order to minimise cost and maximise productivity, it is essential for companies to reduce the ramp time for all new employees. Ramp time refers to the time between when a new employee is hired and when he/she starts to become productive at their new job.

With that in mind, here are a few strategies any company can employ to ensure new hires will not only survive but thrive during their first weeks in a new position. 

Carefully define what productivity means to every role

First, be sure to define what productivity means to your specific company in order to provide new employees with the necessary information to excel. Additionally, goals must be both measurable and attainable. Remember that consistency is key, as new hires are bombarded with a plethora of new information. There are a number of available metrics that help measure productivity (and help manage consistency) - such as social reach tools - which lead to opportunity conversation and many others. Other components are necessary for training advancement like investment, innovation, skills, enterprise and competition. Integrate and foster each of these throughout the entire training process. 

Identify and prepare updated and relevant training resources and support tools

Once productivity is defined and measuring tools are in place, provide new employees with the tools and resources needed to succeed. A detailed overview of the company’s background, culture, strategy and customers are all relevant aspects of a successful training programme. Tailor training programs to meet the individual needs of each role in order to enhance both adoption and retention rates. 

Demonstrate applicability to actual tasks specific to the employee's role

Since approximately 80% of information learned during initial training is forgotten, it is imperative to highlight the applicability of each new skill being taught to actual tasks the new employee will be expected to perform. For instance, the best sales training programs incorporate both the classroom experience as well as either simulated or actual contact with prospects. It’s important to recognise that training is not something abstract or a '1st inning' event, but rather a process that will ensure that employees remember and apply what they learn. Using real-time guidance applications helps new hires by directly linking training to performance, reducing ramp time, lowering training costs, facilitating knowledge retention. 

Assign a mentor after initial training 

A proven way to reduce ramp time is to create a mentoring programme. Seasoned employees are paired with new hires in order to provide advice and guidance during this transitional phase. Having already gone through this introductory process, a mentor will help new employees truly understand the company’s goals and objectives. This strategy will help communication between employees and enhance team productivity. Janice Tingum from Demand Media discusses many of the long term benefits of mentoring and contends a solid mentoring program will allow a company to focus its attention primarily on growth instead of training. 

Gartner Analysts urge taking matters into your own hands: “Be a hero by sharing your insights and expertise and helping someone gain the needed skills, rather than doing it yourself. Don’t wait for a formal mentoring program, find an eager partner and pull them in.”

Motivate

Regardless of which strategies are used, it is important that every training manger conducts each training program in a way that motivates employees and maximises their productivity. Additionally, this approach will help enhance retention rates as it will help new hires understand the true meaning behind their everyday tasks. Employing a few of the simple strategies outlined above will reduce ramp time and help to ensure the individual success of each new hire.

Do you know of more techniques to help keep training short and still prevent employees from crashing on week one?

Boaz Amidor is head of corporate marketing and communications at WalkMea contributing author to Training Station, a blog dedicated to news and ideas on training, learning and organisational development. Follow the blog on Twitter, and on Facebook

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Boaz Amidor

Head of corporate marketing

Read more from Boaz Amidor
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