Finding top talent is just one step of building a solid team—you also have to learn how to train new employees properly on the specific goals of your business. This means implementing an effective training program is a critical component of your employee onboarding process.
A study from management consulting firm the Wyndhurst Group found that new hires are 58% more likely to stay with a business for at least three years when the business has an effective onboarding and new employee training program.
Post jobs, track applicants, and onboard new employees all in one place.
Ensuring retention means you won’t have to spend the time and money it costs to hire new team members. Additionally, an impactful job training program with clear steps (like the process listed below) sets your team up for success at a faster rate, which is a win for everyone.
Note: This article is a general look at how to train new employees in any industry. For a more specific take, you can check out our articles on how to train restaurant employees, retail staff members, and beauty/wellness new hires.
What is new employee training
New employee training is the process of providing guidance, instruction, and education to people who have recently started a job at your company. It’s a way to equip them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to perform their job duties effectively.
Types of employee training
Employee training can take many forms, such as classroom-style lectures, on-the-job coaching, or online courses. Training ensures that the employee has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities within the company, as well as your company’s culture, policies, and procedures.
It’s also an opportunity for the employee to learn about your company’s goals, mission, and values.
Employee training vs onboarding
Employee training and onboarding are two critical but different processes you can use to welcome and develop new employees. Here are the main differences between the two.
Onboarding is the initial process of introducing a new employee to your company’s culture, values, and operations. Onboarding sets the foundation for a new employee’s success within the company.
Onboarding includes administrative tasks like filling out paperwork and setting up payroll. It also includes introductions to team members, managers, and the company’s mission and goals.
Employee training is focused on teaching new employees the specific skills and knowledge they need to perform their job effectively. This can include technical skills and soft skills like communication and teamwork.
Unlike onboarding, employee training is usually more job-specific and ongoing throughout an employee’s time at your company.
Why they’re both important
Both employee training and onboarding are important for a new employee’s success. They both provide a solid foundation for long-term growth within your company.
Investing in both processes can help new hires feel confident, prepared, and engaged in their work, leading to higher retention rates and greater overall success for your business.
Goals for training new employees
The main objectives of training new employees can vary from business to business, but generally include:
- Improving job performance and productivity: Employee training provides the knowledge and skills necessary to complete tasks efficiently and effectively.
- Reducing errors and improving quality: Training helps employees understand how to avoid mistakes, minimize errors, and maintain high standards of quality.
- Enhancing job satisfaction and morale: When employees feel confident and prepared to do their job, they are more likely to feel satisfied and engaged in their work.
- Increasing employee retention: Investing in employee training demonstrates your company’s commitment to employee growth and development, which can increase retention rates and reduce turnover.
- Promoting long-term career development: Employee training can provide opportunities for career advancement, skill development, and personal growth, which can benefit both your employee and your business in the long run.
How to train new employees
Many business owners (especially those getting started for the first time) rely on a learn-as-you-go policy instead of establishing a new-hire training program. While there’s plenty of room for learning the ropes on the new job, a solid training plan will help increase employee engagement, retention, and employee happiness.
1. Select staff to train new employees
Start by looking for employees who are dependable, have a strong work ethic, and a willingness to help others. Also consider those who are knowledgeable about the job and are able to communicate effectively with others.
By selecting specific team members to train new hires, you can ensure that your new employees receive proper training and that your business runs smoothly.
2. Identify training needs
Before you lay out the content of your training program, assess your business needs and determine what employees need to accomplish to achieve those goals. Break this process down into four steps:
- Set a clear goal: Your goals could include increasing revenue, growing your customer base, and more, depending on your industry and the role you’re training for.
- Determine necessary tasks and knowledge: What do employees need to do and what knowledge do they need to have to help your business thrive?
- Determine the training activities: How can you best teach your team those tasks or impart that knowledge?
- Understand your team’s learning characteristics: Understand how your team members learn best so you can optimize your program for each individual.
3. Create an onboarding plan
Start by outlining the job responsibilities and key skills required for the position, then create a checklist of tasks and training sessions to help the new employee learn and practice those skills.
You can also assign a mentor or buddy to guide the new employee through the training process and provide ongoing support. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help ensure the onboarding plan is effective and adjust as needed.
4. Plan the first day, week and month of training
On the first day, introduce the new hire to the company culture and provide a tour of the workplace. Provide an overview of job duties, expectations, and relevant policies.
For the first week, create a structured training plan that covers essential skills and job responsibilities. This should include hands-on training and shadowing of experienced employees.
Then, over the first month, continue to provide ongoing training and support to make sure your new hire is comfortable with their role and has the resources they need to succeed.
It’s important to check in regularly and provide feedback to encourage growth and improvement.
5. Stick to the learning objectives
Create a list of learning objectives you can implement into your new employee training program. This list should include tasks, knowledge, and responsibilities your team members must be able to do after they complete the training.
A training program is put in place to ensure your employees are qualified for the job they have today. While teaching your team skills they need for future roles is important, you should save that for a separate development training program.
All aspects of your new employee training should revolve around these objectives. Once your list is set, focus your content on topics that cover all your bases without adding any extraneous topics. If you stray from your list, you’ll lose control during the training session and your team could get distracted.
To help set your focus, make your objective SMART:
- Specific: It’s clearly stated and understood by everyone.
- Measurable: There is a clear path where everyone can agree if a trainee satisfies the specific training requirements.
- Achievable: The trainee has a chance to succeed in the training.
- Relevant: The lessons are important for the employee’s new role.
- Time-bound: It will be clear when the trainee must satisfy the objective (typically after training).
Your learning objective should also include the ABCD acronym:
- An Actor who will perform the objective, which is your employee.
- A Behavior the employee must perform. State the behavior as a verb, like “serve” or “manage.”
- A Condition under which the employee must perform the behavior. For example, if there is a special at your restaurant, the team member must promote it.
- The Degree to which the employee must perform the behavior. For example, the employee must complete the task three times a week.
6. Create new employee training materials
Take some time to choose the best training methods and put some thought into your materials so they can be thorough and comprehensive. You can use the following checklist when creating them:
- Does the material focus solely on the learning needs of your team?
- Did you remember the adult learning principles?
- Are there enough hands-on activities?
- Do the employees have enough control of the learning process?
- Is there enough opportunity for feedback?
- Are the materials broken up into small chunks that are easier to understand?
- Did you order the components of your training in steps that build on each other?
- Is there a “blended learning” approach that includes different formats like computer-based, instructor-led, and group-learning activities?
Building out your training materials
Once you’ve planned out your materials, it’s time to actually create them. First, build training outlines for both the instructor and your team members to lay out the process and make it clear.
Then you can get creative with the elements of the materials to satisfy different learning styles. These include visual presentations, materials for hands-on training, and e-learning tools employees can use to teach themselves.
There are many platforms you can use to build your materials:
7. Implement the training
Once you set your content, you’re ready to actually deliver the training to your new hires. A great way to provide a clear, communicative training path is to use a learning management system (LMS).
An LMS is a tool you can use to assign, deliver, track, and report on each step of the process. They make it easy for your employees to log in and see their list of training materials and assignments. An LMS can automate the process by sending notifications to your team about new tasks or due dates, taking some of the clerical burdens off of you and your trainers.
Here are some LMS platforms you can consider:
- iSpring Learn
When your employees reach the hands-on segment of training, define in advance exactly what your employees must do to show they have learned the skill. If you conduct a classroom-style segment, make it more productive by including interactive exercises and letting employees be active participants instead of simply taking notes.
8. Evaluate your new employee training program
Your goal is to provide an effective learning process, and accomplishing this requires confirmation that your team benefited from the training. A good confirmation strategy is Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation.
- Employees’ reaction: Did the employees like the training? You can find out by observing their behavior during the training and using a tool like Survey Monkey to conduct an anonymous poll.
- Employees’ learning: Did your team learn from the training? Your process should include incremental assessments that could include simple tests, simulations, and hands-on exercises.
- Employees’ post-training job behavior: Is your team performing the tasks you trained them on? Observe their on-the-job behavior to get a sense of how well the training worked and set performance-based metrics to keep a pulse on their skill level.
- Quantifiable business results: Did the training reach your desired business goal?
After performing each level of evaluation, you may find your program was very effective. However, you may discover that you need to revise certain segments to bring the process up to the level you need for success.
Make sure your training method is effective
The effectiveness of your training program depends on how you develop and implement it. Following the process laid out above will increase the thoroughness and productivity of how you teach your employees and will likely lead to the accomplishment of your business goals and a happier team.
If you need help to find, onboard, and train new employees, Homebase is the perfect solution. We’ll not only make hiring a breeze, but we’ll also automate and simplify the onboarding process so you can focus on starting the training process on the new hire’s first day.
How to train a new employee FAQs
How long should it take to train a new employee?
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to train a new employee. This all depends on the industry and the position. Even within an organization, there are several different positions that would require very different training, a head chef and a busboy, for example, in a restaurant environment. A busboy might be well-trained within their first week, it could still take more time for them to get accustomed to the speed, expectations, and company culture, all of which take months to understand.
What are the first steps in training a new staff member?
Once the paperwork is in order, the first step is identifying the training needs of the position and determining the tasks, knowledge, and steps to take to provide the training.
How do I create a training plan for a new employee?
Create a training plan by first identifying your needs. This can be done in 4 steps:
- Set a clear goal depending on your industry, wants, and needs.
- Determine what tasks and knowledge are necessary for the position.
- Determine the training activities you need in order to achieve success.
- Understand your team’s learning characteristics based on the individual.