How Do the Best Employees Learn Their Jobs?

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Onboarding new employees is a challenging process. New hires may enter your company with vastly different skill sets, a wide range of past experiences and a huge variability in their desire to learn and apply your teachings.

So what is it that makes one employee self-motivated enough to learn your company’s ins-and-outs while another languishes within your seemingly-comprehensive training program? In fact, there are a number of different things you can do to promote the successful introduction and education of new employees…

Utilize training programs that convey information in multiple formats

It’s not exactly a secret that we all learn in different ways. Some of us tend to be auditory learners, which means that we retain information we hear better than training content delivered in other formats. Conversely, some of your new hires will be visual learners, while others will be experiential learners who require hands-on practice in order to grasp your training materials.

Unfortunately, most companies utilize onboarding processes that feature one type of information delivery alone – regardless of the different learning types that may be present in the training.

And while it isn’t expected that you’ll create separate training programs to tailor to every unique learning style, try expanding your current system to involve each type of learning. For example, new hires could receive a set of printed guidelines describing how company procedures should be carried out, followed by a video that expands on this information and then a chance to practice these same processes with fellow new hires.

Truly, it doesn’t take a ton of extra effort to create training programs that appeal to all different types of learners – but the benefits you’ll see from helping your new hires be their best selves shouldn’t be underestimated!

Pair new hires with senior employees

Mentoring has long been used as a key component in corporate training programs, as it enables senior employees to pass on important pieces of information that a new hire may feel uncomfortable asking his or her supervisor about. This could include anything from the relationships between the company and its clients to the appropriate dress code for company events.

Traditionally, these mentorship arrangements have been carried out in-person, with a new hire being assigned a specific mentor and encouraged to form a meaningful connection during employer-sponsored events.

However, many of these programs have been falling to the wayside, given the increasing demands on existing employees to do more work in less time. This occurs to the detriment of both new hires and the companies they serve, as limited mentoring prevents new employees from receiving the vital information they need to be successful within your organization.

One alternative to in-person mentorship arrangements that all companies should consider is a service like Quandora, which facilitates internal communications by giving senior employees a defined structure in which to provide important information to new hires. Adding information to a Quandora database requires less time than traditional meetings and also offers benefits in terms of the enduring value of the information gathered for future new hires.

Try a certification process that measures employee progress periodically

In the most successful companies, onboarding isn’t a process that happens once. Instead, new hires are required to follow up on their initial training sessions with subsequent progress reviews at 30- or 60-day intervals. Doing so gives supervisors the chance to determine whether appropriate progress has been made and, if not, what disciplinary actions should be taken to bring the employee’s abilities in line with expectations.

Many businesses choose to structure these training milestones as “certifications” by requiring that new hires be able to demonstrate their aptitude on key company-specific concepts in order to pass. Not only does this process help to make expectations clear (preventing potentially strong employees from falling through the cracks), it also gives employees and their managers something tangible – and highly motivating – to work towards.

Certainly, overhauling your company’s onboarding process isn’t something that will happen overnight. But given the difference in your businesses bottom line that an extraordinary employee can make compared to a run-of-the-mill new hire, it’s clear that investing in implementing the techniques above in order to help your employees reach their best potential is a positive trade-off for your organization.


Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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