Training New Employees

Leadership IQ, a research and management consulting firm, reports 67% of employees learn about their jobs from co-workers and not from their bosses! Wow! If this statistic applies to new employees, and why wouldn't it, what a disaster waiting to happen! Why? Because new employees enter your company trying to figure out how to fit in, how they should behave, what the unofficial company culture—the organization's "real" culture, not that stuff on the company's website—really is.

And trying to fit in to their new workplace environment, new employees engage in "behavior modeling"—social learning where people learn to do what they see or experience in a hands-on way. This means during the transition period— the first 90 days of employment—new employees get their cues about how they need to behave to fit into the company from those who are training them to do their new job. And since 67% of the time new employees are getting this information from co-workers and not managers, the opportunity for new employees to model the behavior of other employees is huge! But what's wrong with that? Nothing until you realize "The Others" (those employees who should have been fired yesterday!) do most of the training of new employees in most organizations! And why would management put The Others into one of the most critical positions in the company—the training of new employees?

1. Because managers don't realize the detrimental long term impact exposing a new employee to one of The Others can have on the new employee's work ethic and level of productivity for the remainder of the time they are with the company; and

2. Managers don't want to assign their Core Employees (those employees that are doing the best work in the company) to training duties since that means they won't be able to continue to produce profits and high level performance while training new employees.

Of course, the result of this inappropriate training process is new employees model themselves after The Others and instead of learning good behavior (i.e. how to be productive and have the proper attitude) they learn just the opposite and only do the job and never care about the job. And the organization suffers because these employees seldom reach their full potential and become Core Employees.

The Lesson: The training of new employees is one of the most critical functions in any organization! Not necessarily for teaching the skill set new employees need to be able to do the job, but for the proper inculcation of the new employee into the organization's culture. Having Core Employees train new employees gives new employees the opportunity to "model" what a Core Employee does and how they behave. This means an increased opportunity for the organization to generate more Core Employees. And no organization can have too many Core Employees!

P.S.: If you don't have a Pre-Boarding Program, and an Onboarding Program and are not using Core Employees as trainers, expect high turnover and a dilution of your company's culture in a relatively short period of time.

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1 Comments

  • Steve Giglio

    Author makes an essential point by stressing that Core execs assist/manage the on-boarding of new people. I have seen this first hand with many of my clients. What's mission critical is to align a core exec with a new person and notice the core exec's approach to shepherding them through your organization. It's a great way to elevate a core player!