Study after study underscores the importance of employee training and development. It has proven to be one of the biggest value drivers for most businesses as it increases productivity and profitability per employee, and helps retain quality employees longer.
In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) found 47 percent of employees reported career advancement opportunities and development within their organization is one of the most important factors of their job satisfaction. That figure has climbed 20 percentage points over the past 20 years and continues to rise as more Millennials displace older generations of the workforce.
While most business owners and managers recognize the importance of training and documenting processes, the challenge is actually doing it. As result, the important training guides or manuals that could help the team grow remain locked in our heads. In one study conducted by CareerBuilder.com, 58 percent of managers said they didn't receive any management training at all.
So, if you don't have time, and your overtasked and over capacity managers don't have time to build your training manuals, who should be responsible? It might be the person you'd least expect: your newest hire.
New hires are best equipped to build training manuals.
This counterintuitive notion came to be when I was talking with my brother about his stint at a marketing agency after college and how he was onboarded. His first day on the job, they dumped pretty much all the training material they had on him -- documents and proposals, videos and workbooks, just everything from the last 10 years of the company. Overwhelming and unorganized to say the least.
But they knew he didn't have much to do during that first week other than absorb what existed, and learn what everybody did and how everything worked around him. It was a massive data dump that he had to sift through and make some sense of it all.
This got me thinking...your newest hire is likely best equipped to put together your training materials, and here's why:
They have the time.
It's likely your new hires don't have much to do that first week. Most employers don't expect them to hit the ground running right away. There's a buffer in which they need to learn how to do the job.
Part of that learning process is understanding how to repeat the training back. By having them collect and absorb everything you're handing over to them to consume, and then have them write up a summary of what really matters, you're giving them a chance to better learn the material. In the process, new employees have the opportunity to build the company's training guide around the information they're already taking in.
They will question your processes.
Employees who are new on the job will naturally have questions. And when they do, they will naturally poke some holes in your processes. This is a good thing.
They're trying to make sense of it all, so they're going to ask you or a manager to answer those questions. They can document your responses to refine your training content and fill in the gaps so the next person will have fewer questions. It's a great way to improve your materials that doesn't require any extra work on your part.
They can clear out the old and irrelevant.
Your new hire is going to be sifting through a lot of content -- documents, website copy, videos, blog posts and so on. There's a good chance a percentage of those materials will no longer be relevant.
I've seen it happen a lot during the onboarding process in which a manager will tell the new hire, "Oh, we don't use that system anymore." Or, "Ignore this video." Or, "This one's really old, don't worry about that."
As they're going through these materials, have them notate the materials you're saying that about and empower them to curate and decide what is really still relevant for the company. When they're done, only the most relevant content will remain.
Remember, putting your training materials together doesn't have to be a massive undertaking by the company leadership. Your newest hire can do it.
It will help them learn and make good use of their downtime. Their questions will help you refine your material, and they'll be able to curate the content that matters most. You'll be relieved to see how quickly it will come together -- a win-win all around.