Top Tips for Training New Staff
In adulthood, one of the biggest transitions we go through is starting a new job. Sure, some people may find this to be exciting, but it can also be a lot like the first day of school back when we were kids – a blend of nerves, stress, and the pressure to remember a whole bunch of new stuff.
Too many employers and trainers tend to lose sight of that. This makes sense when you consider the fact most employers and trainers have been around for some time and are already familiar with everyone and everything related to the office.
But that’s not the case for your new employees!
They need to be welcomed and introduced to the new-to-them environment, processes, and coworkers. And how you do this can really help the new employee get off to the right start…or not.
Since it’s in the best interest for all parties involved to put new hires in the best possible position for success, let’s look at a handful of ways to best help them adjust and make a smooth transition into their new roles:
- Make learning fun. Even for adults? Why? Well, this actually has dual benefits – 1) it keeps things interesting for those who conduct the training and 2) trainees retain more information when it is presented in an entertaining manner. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be silly or unprofessional, but making a training session fun actually makes it more effective.
(If you’re interested in the science behind this, “fun” experiences are shown to increase levels of dopamine, endorphins, and oxygen – all of which promote better learning.)
A great, simple way to make learning fun is to mix up training methods. Instead of doing it all “lecture” style—which isn’t necessarily a bad training method when done properly—combine technology-based learning, group discussions, and even videos.
- Use humor. This certainly ties in with the previous point, but humor is an essential element of effective training. In part, this can be attributed to the fact humor keeps enthusiasm at peak levels. Of course, it’s also a way to drive a point home and make it memorable. That being said, you should avoid telling jokes – humor is, after all, subjective and you could quickly “lose” a trainee if you offend him or her. The safest way to go in this regard is with personal, self-deprecating humor.
- Encourage participation. A fun training session is good. A fun training session where employees are engaged in the learning process is better. Sure, there’s bound to be a certain degree of lesson retention while just listening or reading, but the amount of retention is much higher when new trainees are encouraged to speak freely and participate in the session.
- Break it up. If your sessions are going too long, you’re going to lose your trainee’s attention. Naturally, everyone has a certain degree of variability when it comes to attention spans, but research has shown that adults can only sustain attention on the same subject for about 20 minutes at a time.
- Catch their attention. Tying in with the previous point, research has also shown that you only have about 8 seconds to catch their attention in the first place. What this means for you as a trainer is that you need to start with something novel. To capture your audience right away you may want to incorporate any of the following – give them something unexpected (surprise), keep the audience guessing (cognitive dissonance), tell an interesting story (storytelling), ask the trainee(s) to participate (involve), or incorporate sensory experience (senses).
- Make connections. When new employees join your team, it’s natural to introduce them to the existing staff. You can make this experience strategic—and do a little team-building in the process!—by providing some background information about his or her new team members, including any fun facts you can gather. Doing so makes it easier to remember names and can lead to some natural conversation starters.
If you think about it, the first five of these tips can be used for any training session – not just new employees!
As a doctor, you probably weren’t trained in “best training practices” during medical school. You also probably weren’t trained in everything it takes to run a successful business (which is exactly what your medical practice is). The good news is that you don’t have to go at this alone!
Successful medical practices contract Independent Networking Group (ING) to help with all of the business elements—training, billing, payroll, etc.—they don’t cover in med school. Contact ING today by calling (260) 927-1266 and let’s discuss what we can do to make your practice everything it can be.