Training on the job

Do it normal
Do it slow
Do it together
Off you go

Having come from a training background, Train the Trainer was a popular training program for would be supervisors keen to develop their skills in training others, in particular new starters. When training a task, we would use the motto of “do it normal, do it slow, do it together, off you go” as our standard approach in training tasks. It was a “fool proof” method of training, appealing to all learning styles and allowing even the slowest of learners the opportunity to grasp the complex.

With greater analysis now in the work place, and greater pressure on individuals to deliver right from the start, training of new starters can be rushed, too brief and not as effective as it should be. We can be quick to judge an individuals’ skills and competencies before allowing them the time they need to prove they are capable of undertaking the role successfully.

So maybe you don’t have the time to train the old-fashioned way. Maybe you are under pressure to serve customers, deliver that report and less time to train, but there are still effective methods you can use to provide the support and structure a new starter needs.

  1. If you have a position description for the role (you need one for recruitment and performance review purposes), use it for training purposes. Explain the content of the position description to your new starter on day 1 and advise you will revisit this each day. Break up the key components of the position description and advise when you will train the new starter in each area. Also explain to them when you expect them to be competent in that area.
  2. If your position descriptions are short and sharp and focus on a few KPIs, develop a list of tasks, a competency checklist if you like and use it the same way you would the position description, as outlined above
  3. Have the new starter drive their own training. Ask them if they feel they are competent in key areas, provide them with honest feedback citing examples of where they have and have not displayed competence. Agree on how you will address the short falls.

Most importantly, remember we all learn differently, in different ways and at different speeds. Often your slowest learner turns out to be your most valued, loyal team member.