How does new employee training work? How should you train new employees as a manager?
New employee training is always a challenge for managers. But managers can develop a system for training so new employees are able to jump right into being productive.
Read more about new employee training below.
New Employee Training
In the last chapter, you learned about five of the 11 managerial activities. In this chapter, you’ll learn about another two: training, and creating a motivational atmosphere.
There are only two reasons an employee doesn’t do her job: Either she’s untrained and therefore incapable, or she’s not motivated. To figure out which it is, ask yourself if she could do the job if her life depended on it. If she couldn’t, the problem is capability; if she could, the problem is motivation. This is important to know for new employee training.
- For example, even if Grove’s life depended on playing the violin, he couldn’t do it, so the problem is capability. If his life depended on running a six-minute-mile, he wouldn’t enjoy it, but he would be physically capable of doing it, so the problem is motivation.
Employees who aren’t trained properly, no matter how good their intentions, can cause all sorts of problems for a company ranging from bad performance to excess costs to life-threatening situations.
You, as a manager, should train your subordinates (and possibly their subordinates) yourself rather than hiring outside training specialists because training works best when new employee training works:
- It’s consistent and regularly scheduled, rather than a workshop or a one-off event.
- Instruction is tailored to company practices (an outside instructor wouldn’t be familiar with these)
- The instructor is an authoritative role model.
To figure out what to train your people in:
- Make a list of what you think your team needs training in. Write down everything you can think of, including things that sound simple, such as how to answer the phone.
- Ask your team what they think they need training in. Probably, some of it will surprise you.
- Assess the availability of instructions and materials.
- Choose which items on your list are most important.
Here’s one way to think about new employee training. To develop a training program, start small, with a course that includes fewer than five lectures, because teaching will likely be more difficult than you think. When preparing the course:
- Accept that the first time you teach the course, it won’t be great. Choose students who are knowledgeable and experienced so that you don’t confuse them (a beginner would be likely to just accept everything you say, even if it was wrong) and so you get good feedback.
- If a lot of people in the organization will need to take the course and you’ll have to teach it multiple times, invite people who could potentially teach the course to your first lectures so they can learn to instruct.
- Initially, outline the whole course but only put together the first lecture. Put together the second lecture after giving the first. This will allow you to learn from the experience of the first lecture and amend your teaching style according to what worked and what didn’t.
- After finishing the course, ask the participants for feedback using a survey. Some of the questions should be a numerical rating, but some should also be open-ended questions.
- Consider the survey results. It’s normal to get contradictory feedback and you’ll never be able to make everyone happy, so use your judgment to determine what to change.
Example: Training Employees at Intel
Here’s an example of new employee training. At Intel, employees spend 2-4% of their time in classroom learning and most of the teaching is done by the company’s managers. Managers teach over 50 classes on a variety of subjects.
- For example, Grove teaches classes on giving performance reviews and conducting meetings. He also gives new employees their introduction to Intel.
There are two types of training employees at Intel:
- Teaching skills to new employees. How many people need training depends on how many new employees join the company through turnover and growth.
- Teaching new skills to existing employees. Usually, a whole department needs training.
The more people who require training, the longer it takes and the more expensive it is, but it’s worth it.
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