Establishing job expectations and aligning training to those expectations is crucial to retaining newly hired personnel and enabling them to transition into being a valued member of the business.

Twenty-two percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment and the cost of losing an employee in the first year is estimated to be at least three times that of the person’s salary. However, new employees who go through a structured training program were 58 percent more likely to still be with the organization after three years, according to a study by The Wynhurst Group.

“When new employees receive quality training, it builds a comfort level that the company is investing in them and leads to longer-term employment,” says Danny Spitz, CEO of Everstaff.  “The new employee should understand the company’s goals and how he or she can help in achieving them. At the same time, if somebody is fully trained, you should be able to encourage feedback for process improvement, which will allow the employee to take hold of the position and understand where he or she can make a difference.”

Smart Business spoke with Spitz about how businesses can use their orientation and training programs to ensure job responsibilities and expectations are clear.

How significant is a first impression, and how can you guarantee it goes well?

It’s extremely important because the first impression sets the tone for accountability. When hiring, it is essential to discuss what is required from the person and what the day-to-day responsibilities will be if hired. Explaining this during the interview process will allow both sides to have the same understanding of what the job entails and will cut down on turnover, as the expectations have been discussed. When the newly hired employee starts, it is important to have an up-to-date training program that matches the company’s operations and individual position responsibilities. This is where showing strong organizational skills as a manager is critical.

What’s important to remember when setting expectations for your new hires?

Having already discussed this during the interview process, it is still recommended that the manager outline the daily responsibilities and expectations during first-day orientation. I find it important to cover, but even more important to explain how the company will provide the training and resources to make the person succeed in their new position. More information provided to the individual will allow for a stronger comfort level, and even discussing the finer details such as hours, company standards, etc., is recommended.

What can employers do to make sure their training works with job expectations?

It’s good for managers to refer back to when they started, either in their current position or in a previous position when they were unfamiliar with the company. Remember what type of training was provided and build the current training around your experience. Recognizing the strengths and deficiencies of the training you received will allow you to build your own successfully program.

Often, the manager is fully responsible for training, but if it’s a larger organization, you can use current employees to conduct training on individual responsibilities of the job. Identify the strengths of your current staff members will allow you to involve them in the training of the new employee.

It all goes back to not waiting until the day before the person starts to develop a training plan. As you continuously evaluate your company, you should always update your training module and have a clear understanding of how long each step of the training process will take.

Successful managers have a set schedule, often two weeks, that maps out which functions should be trained when, giving time in between so the new employee can digest the task and not get overloaded. With a training schedule stretched out over a certain period of time, you can train the new employee, and then let that person go live on those responsibilities, allowing him or her to utilize the training to complete the individual task before moving on to the next training piece. Everybody has gone through training where you’ve done a quick overview, but once you get to the actual function and you’re on your own, you have to guess because it was covered so quickly.

If the resources are available, shadowing is great tool for training. Have the new employee shadow one of your senior employees doing the job function and then reverse the roles. The senior employee will shadow the new employee to make sure everything is being done efficiently and properly, while being a resource for additional questions. You always want new employees to ask questions — that’s part of the training.

How often should training programs be updated?

Your training program should be updated two to four times per year, although each update doesn’t mean there are large overall changes. It also depends on how often you hire.

Once you finish the training process, get feedback from the new employee on what he or she feels was a benefit. You really should do 30-, 60- and 90-day reviews, which will allow you to ask about their level of comfort with the daily responsibilities and see if additional training needs to be done.

These reviews give the newly trained employee a higher success rate of the job responsibilities and allow you to update the training module for the next hire.

Danny Spitz is the CEO of Everstaff. Reach him at (216) 674-0788 or dspitz@everstaff.com.

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Published in Cleveland