It’s storytime today. That’s right, I will tell you a story based on a real-life situation that I observed firsthand about an employee getting little to no training and then being thrown into the job.
It’s relatively common that low-pay, high-turnover jobs have little to no training for small organizations. That’s one reason training is a great way to reduce employee turnover.
But it’s just as costly in the long run because bad things can happen and poor representation of the organization happens from poorly trained employees.
Low pay is no excuse to allow for high turnover to happen and there are many negative effects high turnover creates for the organization. But training in general can help decrease high turnover and digital training is often an affordable route for accomplishing that.
Enough of that, it’s time for the story of an employee who started a new job that offered nearly no training. It was a relatively low-paying position and relied mostly on minimal training that was promised but not provided. Instead of the “training” they ended up being shadowed without instruction.
Who We’re Working With
Starting a new job is stressful no matter how easy it’s supposed to be. Even if you’re hired into a skilled profession there’s always a lot to learn about organization, department, and even specific ways to use technology.
It could be a drastically different culture or just learning the specific tools used at your new place of work. That’s one of the biggest challenges for anybody, especially somebody who’s not super techie (which is most people).
Let’s start with the employee, though, since you have to know where they’re coming from to see the issues that employers can run into with little to no training. Not everybody has the same knowledge so we have to know exactly where to start from.
This is based on a real person but names have been changed to protect the innocent (joking, they’re not very innocent).
We’ll call our new employee Lilly.
Lilly is an adult returning to the job market after a several-year break taking care of her daughter. The market has changed post-pandemic, though. More jobs are remote and sometimes more assumptions are made of people than should.
Before the break, Lilly only worked in-person jobs for small companies. Returning to work was going to be a virtual job with nothing in person. That’s a pretty big change in itself but adding to it a lack of training makes it even worse.
Not everyone is a computer technician or can learn new company-specific applications without any help or instruction. No company software is that easy and there are all sorts of hidden costs for not providing software-specific training. That’s one reason we focus on helping organizations build custom software training tailored to how employees use it.
Lilly is no computer technician or techie at all. Her experience in technology is relatively basic but she can still get around. The problem is company software is always more complex than the basics.
It’s no Google or Instagram. You can’t just post and go. Even those aren’t as simple as some make them out to be.
Most jobs require basic computer knowledge and Lilly meets those requirements. She’s not a pro and doesn’t immediately know how to use every application in existence. But, with a little training and help getting the hang of things, she’s perfectly capable and would thrive.
Before the job started things were already going wrong, though.
How It All Started
The interview process is the right place to set expectations on exactly what you mean by basic computer skills. That’s a vague definition and wasn’t properly covered or screened for. The fact that there was very little screening for exactly what the expectations were is a huge red flag.
But it got worse.
The job didn’t start with any kind of instructions or help to get things set up on Lilly’s personal computer. Bad onboarding sets the stage for a poor overall experience.
It was an expectation that Lilly used her computer and personal email to sign up for all the tools.
Communication was lacking in getting things set up and all of this was before the job even began. It’s pretty stressful when the clock is ticking for a job to start and you don’t have accounts that you’re expected to have.
But it keeps getting worse when the job starts.
Starting With No Training
When you start a new job it’s expected that you are eased into the rough of things so you’re ready to deal with more when the time comes. That wasn’t the case for Lilly. On her first day, she was pushed right into “shadowing” another employee.
The problem is that shadowing typically involves having a bit of base knowledge to give you some context into what to expect when shadowing. That didn’t happen.
The manager said they were going to work with Lilly but got caught up in other things. That means Lilly was unprofessionally passed off to another employee who had calls to answer and commission to make.
You can see the problem there, right?
The employee who’s supposed to train and walk Lilly through things didn’t get any extra leeway in their job or income to make up for lost bonuses to train and would miss out on all of that to train Lilly.
When training is left to managers only then it’s inconsistent if it exists at all. Schedules change and people get busy. Working with a mentor is one thing but expecting a manager who has other things going on often ends poorly.
So Lilly ended up with no training while shadowing an employee who had to go fast through everything. That means Lilly wasn’t provided with proper training and felt stressed the whole time.
There was little time to ask questions and even less time to walk through how the systems work together and how to use them properly. It was an all-around disaster that left Lilly feeling unsupported, uncared for, and completely stressed out.
How can you expect employees to stick around when they don’t feel like the company supports them?
The fact is, people won’t stick around and it was common that employees didn’t stick around. Lilly discovered that the person in the department the longest had been there only one year.
When your most senior employee is there just over a year then you have a problem.
And the department did have a problem that might not show up immediately but it eventually would. Customer service is going to be lacking and employees simply won’t care. All of that will cost the organization customers.
So what happened next to Lilly?
As with most employees, Lilly didn’t last. They churn and burn employees who don’t stay more than a few months at most and a good portion likely only last a few days.
Lilly couldn’t take it and couldn’t go back after her third day. Nobody needs money bad enough to put up with a job like that.
Knowledge isn’t retained in the department long and there likely isn’t enough time to establish processes that work and can be replicated. That means the department is likely riddled with employees who don’t care, processes are inefficient, and nobody knows what they’re doing.
All that likely translates into bad customer service, lost customers, and high costs of constantly going through the hiring process and then having people leave as fast as they’re hired.
While there are many ways you can take to get the right candidate and support their journey to help the organization, training is #1. It’s an easy way to help employees after they’re hired.
Every company is unique and it’s unreasonable to ask employees to know how to do everything on day one. It takes time to ramp up knowledge and get to know company-specific systems. Even generic systems like Slack are used in different ways at each organization.
No matter how generic an application is, it requires training for specifically how the organization uses it. So, even though some tools are generic, custom software training will help employees understand how to use them efficiently in your organization. It’s not about training employees on how to use the software only. Good technical training is about how to apply it in the flow of work at your organization.
While a job description provides a generic overview of job expectations, training employees helps them understand the whole flow and how it fits into the bigger picture.
- Training equips employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform job tasks effectively.
- It also provides them with important skills to work more efficiently by knowing how to do things right.
- They’ll know how to integrate into the company’s culture, policies, and procedures properly.
- This one’s BIG: Being properly trained boosts confidence and feelings of value, support, and motivation.
- Help employees identify opportunities for improving the department, job, and even growth and development of and in the organization.
Training is crucial for new employees as it helps them understand their responsibilities and expectations in their new role. It also provides them with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their job tasks effectively. By undergoing training, new employees can learn about the company’s culture, policies, and procedures, which can help them integrate into the organization.
This story based on a real person and a real experience illustrates all the benefits that training delivers and the problems lack of training causes. It provides a valuable lesson for companies that just aren’t sure of the benefit of training.
There are huge benefits in good training and digital training is a great way to efficiently train both new employees and current employees on new systems, processes, and more.
You should have a good idea why having employees starting with little to no training is a recipe for disaster. Unless you have a top-notch shadowing program set up with dedicated employees whose only job is to show new employees the entire job, training is essential.
Yes, shadowing is a form of training but only if you have a plan. Throwing employees into a real, fast-paced working environment won’t work and you saw exactly how it didn’t work. There must be a plan and some form of planned training is necessary.
The result of no training is always unhappy employees, poor service, and high turnover. That’s what happens to new employees with little to no training.
Now you can understand why training is essential and why we are passionate about bringing good digital training solutions to organizations. It’s so the organization can succeed with a workforce that is serving employees and customers better.
If you see anything even remotely close to this scenario negatively impacting your organization, schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you figure out a better way to prepare new employees for the hard work and good service they want to deliver if you give them the opportunity.