The window of time available for training and onboarding new employees is shrinking. As companies lean out and individual workloads rise, there’s nobody available to pick up the slack when a position is vacant or when it’s just been filled. New employees have to be able to hit the ground running, and trainers have to figure out how to get them up to speed more quickly than ever.
What’s worse is that this isn’t a phenomenon. It’s a trend. Going forward, the training window for a new hire is just going to continue to shrink. How can trainers handle it? Here are five solid suggestions:
Make Training Constant
Every new employee is going to have some questions after they start, regardless of how much training they’ve had up front. By building a culture of knowledge-sharing inside your organization, you can push much of the training burden off onto fellow employees, shortening the time needed specifically for training and getting a new hire into his or her desk more quickly. Correctly done, this can also help to promote teamwork and healthy collaborative relationships within the staff: when helping becomes cultural, lifting someone else up becomes the best way to advance.
Focus on Process
Presumably, your new hire has the core skills needed to do her new job. Presumably, she was chosen because her personality seems compatible with other employees and with the corporate culture. If those statements are true, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on minutia. Focus on the processes that make your office run; orient the new hire in her environment; train her on any unique situations she’s likely to encounter on this (and only this) job. Then let her do what you hired her to do: fit in and get her job done.
Hire a Consultant
There’s a new phenomenon in HR called knowledge transfer, and there are consultants who specialize in creating KT curricula. At its essence, the knowledge transfer process involves defining the critical knowledge that a new hire needs to have to onboard successfully and then creating a training program to deliver that information as efficiently as possible. A good knowledge transfer consultant can cut training time down substantially.
Lean on Computer-Based Training
Today almost every job connects with computers somehow and requires new hires to learn some software protocols. Computer-based tech training (also known as e-learning) is a booming industry, and curricula are becoming more and more efficient. So you don’t need to reinvent the wheel: just buy the training that will deliver the knowledge your new hire needs as quickly as possible.
Hire Bright Employees
The simple fact is that the higher a person’s IQ is, the more able they will be to grasp new concepts, learn new procedures, and acquire new skills. By focusing on the intelligence of your new hires (even over more pragmatic prerequisites) you’ll increase the pace at which your employees can learn. That is the best way to reduce the time needed to teach them.