When you bring a new employee on board, there are several things to consider as you help them navigate new terrain. Getting familiar with their job, becoming comfortable with new colleagues and basically just learning the ropes as far as the company goes are all part and parcel of the onboarding experience.
One thing that is important to keep in mind during this process is the fact that everyone learns differently; no two employees are the same and, therefore, the ways they absorb new material and adapt to professional circumstances will likely be different. What does this mean within the context of their job and consequently how they learn to acclimate to their new role? It means that for some individuals there could be a learning curve involved.
While some new hires catch on quickly, others may need more time and more nurturing in a position before they officially “make it their own.” Here are several ways in which you might facilitate the introductory process for a new employee and thereby pave the way for their success.
How Long Does It Take To Get a New Employee Up To Speed?
The question of “how long” it will take someone to get comfortable in their role and with their assigned responsibilities isn’t necessarily the right question to be asking. In some instances, a new hire might settle into a position within just a couple of days. Some studies suggest that on average it could take two-to-three months for people to get comfortable with a new role. While for others, the employee learning curve can present a bit of a struggle and so it can take even longer.
The key is to communicate with your new employee. Get to know their learning style, see what types of training they enthusiastically respond to, and ensure they have the proper tools and resources at their disposal so that they are in fact set up for success on the job.
How To Get an Employee Up To Speed While Understanding Their Learning Curve
One of the first things that you can do to facilitate someone’s transition into a new role, is to figure out what type of learner they are. There are a few different ways to test for learning styles and aptitudes. For example, you could administer a Myers-Briggs assessment. There are a number of such assessments available that will give you deeper insights into the person’s strengths and preferred learning styles. Once you’ve identified how to potentially best approach the learning and development process with an employee, then you can start to implement certain strategies that will help you ensure that you are addressing any inherent employee learning curve.
Encourage a Team Mentality
Odds are, the new employee is not working in isolation, rather, they are a part of a cohesive team. That said, it makes sense for you to foster a team spirit and in this way, help to make the employee feel more comfortable in their position. You might talk to the employee about sharing with fellow team members the ways in which they tend to learn best.
Develop a Training Program Specific To Them
One size no longer “fits all” when it comes to training new hires. What previously might have worked for one person, may not work for a new employee. You have to be able to adapt your onboarding/training process so as to more effectively accommodate the learning styles and abilities of the new person. Such a program might address the areas in which the employee may lack some experience/knowledge and by the same token, play to the strengths of this employee to build confidence in the early stages of their tenure.
Consistently Provide Feedback
When addressing an employee's learning curve, it is so crucial that you let that employee know exactly how they are performing. Especially when someone is brand new to a company, they can feel lost at first, as though they are floundering about in the dark. Having a regular feedback loop in place will only strengthen their recognition of what is working and what is not. They can then adjust accordingly and hopefully get up to speed faster.
Or this could be conceptualized as a mentorship system for new hires. Either way, it is a measure designed to make the new employee feel more comfortable by having a colleague with whom they can discuss any issues, from whom they can ask for advice, and who can show them the ropes. Nine out of ten workers are apt to say that they are happier and more confident in their role because they have some form of mentor.
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