Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make When Training New Employees

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Training new employees is the first step to laying the foundation for success. Get it right, and you set your employees on the right path. Get it wrong, and you set your employees and your company up for a long record of correcting mistakes. You teach bad habits, set the wrong expectations, and set the wrong tone. In addition to learning what to do right for training, you also need to learn about the mistakes to avoid. Here are some of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when they train their new employees:

Asking the Wrong People to Conduct the Training

Not everyone makes a good trainer. Just because someone knows how to do the job doesn’t mean that they know how to teach others to do the job. Some people are too inexperienced to provide proper training, and some are too experienced and feel either jaded with the job or resentful for being taken away from their other duties for the training. Employees who work on commission or tips will especially resent losing money to perform the training. You should choose enthusiastic and talented people for training new employees, and you should pay them properly for the work they perform. You’ll get better training, and you’ll make all your employees happier.

Presenting Training Materials that are Boring or Fail to Inspire

No one wants to sit through hours of training that is flat and boring. Not only will that kind of training fail to inspire anyone to do a great job, but it will also make them feel like their time is being wasted, which will make them feel resentful. That’s not a good way to start your relationship with your employees. When you are training new employees, you should consider it not only an opportunity to set the tone for what they should expect from the job, but also to make a great first impression. The materials should be interesting, funny, insightful, inspiring – in short, they should be engaging. Employees should not feel like they are going to nod off in the middle of your training, nor should they have their thoughts on something else. They should feel excited by what they are learning.

Focusing Too Much on the Negatives

A lot of times, training for new employees tells them what not to do. Sure, the lesson starts with what to do, but then it usually devolves into a lot of addendums about how things can go wrong if they make certain mistakes. This approach to training new employees focuses too much on the negative. It can make employees feel like they are on the defensive, like they are being watched or expected to do wrong before things have even begun. Instead, your training should be empowering. It should help employees feel excited about what’s to come – about all the amazing things they are going to be able to do and all the ways that they will be able to excel. Everyone wants to feel like they are doing their best work and achieving great things. The right training can help your new employees feel like that’s what they are going to do in their new positions.

Failing to Reinforce the Company Brand

At the core of everything you do should be your company brand. The training should not only teach employees about how to do the job; it should also teach them about the company cultures and values. Your training should teach them what your company is about and how employees should fit into it. Don’t forget to see the forest for the trees. When developing your training materials, make sure that all of the messaging and the exercises point back to or reinforce your brand identity. Training new employees is about more than teaching skills; it’s about teaching them how to be corporate denizens and ambassadors for your brand. Make sure your training materials are doing that job.

Rushing through the Training Process

Time is a precious commodity, and we all feel like we need more of it. For your company, time translates to profits. The more time you spend on something, the more potential profits you could be losing. Because of that premium on time, many corporate leaders make the mistake of rushing through training new employees so they can get them to work as soon as possible. The problem is that the employees don’t have enough time to really learn the skills or to feel comfortable using them. By rushing through training, you will actually be costing yourself money in the long term. You’ll have employees on the team who aren’t fully ready to contribute, and they will not be as productive as they could be. Make sure you give the training the timing that it needs. You may feel impatient in the short term, but you’ll reap the benefits again and again in the long term.

Failing to Verify that Employees Understood the Training

You’ve created engaging training materials, and you’ve given employees adequate time for training. So you’re all good, right? Not necessarily. How do you know that your employees have truly learned the new skills? Or that they truly understand the company processes and culture? The only way to be sure of those things is to include some verification in the training process. You can do that by providing testing throughout the training, or by including a trial period after training new employees is over. Give employees the chance to try out their skills before you unleash them and give them real responsibilities.

Not Having Clear Goals or a Clear Plan

A lot of trainers feel so confident in their mastery of the material that they don’t actually create a curriculum or a plan for their sessions. Instead, they go in with a general idea and they wing it – like they’re putting on an improv show or having a casual conversation among friends. How can you expect training new employees to be effective when there are not clear goals or a clear plan for the training? The overall training program needs to have a plan and specific goals, as do each of the individual sessions. You should be able to measure the effectiveness of your training program against the goals you have set. Define your own goals and plan for the training program, and then make sure that the people conducting the training sessions are clear on those goals and plan.

Not Using the Appropriate Training Software

Software like WalkMe can help you reach training goals,  and avoid employee frustration and burnout Using WalkMe can help you accelerate your employee training, as well as every other aspect of your change process. That includes ongoing training for employees when you introduce new processes or equipment. Whatever type of company you have, and no matter how large or small your operation, WalkMe can help you to be more productive and to meet your goals for success.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.