It’s always better when you can hire new employees with the amount of experience you require. But this is not always as easy as it seems. Usually your competitors are also out there scourging the terrain which creates a higher demand on an already short supply. There are some things you may be able to do to mitigate this challenge. As you already know, whatever industry you are involved in, you and your competitors experience the same ebb and flows of that market which in turn influence your decision-making. Perhaps, you could adjust your recruiting timeframes and start sooner to avoid the “peak” in the demand from the industry. However, that may be too costly.
You could also consider increasing the value-proposition to your employees, perhaps surpassing that of your competitors. This is not limited to the salaries you offer, but to the entire employee experience.
When all else fails and you must hire people with little or no experience, there are certain important things to consider in order to limit the negative impact this has on your bottom-line. Lack of experience is a result of lack of theory and lack of practice. New employees are quickly overwhelmed with knowledge during training. They get the opportunity to practice what they learned, but it does take time for a human brain to properly integrate the knowledge in a workable framework.
The process of integration is achieved when knowledge is tied to reality, and this is easily accomplished when what was taught in class is what they encounter once they hit the floor.
Tip #1: Ensure your training reflects what is happening in reality.
Any discrepancies between reality and the training material will slow down the integration process.
Humans integrate knowledge more easily when the instructions are clear and logical. Even though we are learning about something new, we cannot help but feel a sense of uneasiness and disconnect when the process does not seem to follow logic.
Tip #2: Make sense of your processes – eliminate the ambiguities and limit exceptions.
At the beginning, a lot of the learning for a new hire is memorizing many instructions. But there is a limit to the capacity to perform by rote. Reviewing what they have learned is crucial to a proper integration of knowledge and to an effective transformation of knowledge to practice.
Many of your processes occur infrequently increasing the gap between theory and practice. This creates additional problems for employees to remember what to do.
Tip #3: Review material regularly until employee has mastered it.
Leaving employees to fend for themselves at this point is suicidal for your business.
When productivity is low for your new hire, do not sit and wait for things to eventually get better. Although, they will eventually get better, you are losing lots of money on so many levels while you wait.
Take the bull by the horns, and make this happen. Provide a more robust support system for your new hires. Perhaps you may even invest in creating a “certification” process where you define where you want a new hire to be at a certain point in time (preferably weekly). Create expectations that take into account their starting point and gradually increase them over a period of weeks. Provide the necessary coaching to help them achieve their weekly goals. Meet with them frequently to discuss their challenges, and especially to acknowledge their progress.
Ensure you have staff available around the clock to help answer questions they have, especially if the new hires are on the phone with a customer. Think of the handing time you will save.
New hires must contend with a tremendous amount of change. Change is good, but it is not so easily integrated. Proper methods of coaching and support will make the transition so much easier. It will also create a much better employee experience. An easier transition means faster gains in quality and quantity. These gains ultimately translate in a better customer experience. And we all know what better customer service means…