January 15, 2018

Part Three–Continuing Training of Your New Hire

By Paul Bieber

We’ve gone through finding the right candidate, and his (it is equally likely that you hire a woman and I could say her) first day of work, which really wasn’t work but an introduction to your company is here. It is now Tuesday, (actually, when you read this, it is!) and what do you do now?

Simple, begin his training in earnest. Start by assigning someone in your company as his official mentor. During the training program, which should be about six to eight weeks, pay the mentor an extra buck or two per hour. The mentor can place him in various departments, usually for a couple of days each, educating and seeing which areas most appeal to the new hire. At the end of each day, the mentor and the hire should meet for fifteen minutes, on the clock, going over the day, answering questions and planning for tomorrow. You should stress the area that you intend the new guy to go to.  Let him learn how his intended department works with the other areas in your company.

Always remember, the most important training is in safety. I have read many reports that say the highest number of comp claims are in an employee’s first year of work.

Either you or your personnel manager should meet with the new guy twice during the balance of the first week, again for fifteen minutes. Review your employee manual for questions he has. Go over your benefits packages again making sure he understands what he earns and when. This short meeting is one the best in retaining employees. Many companies have benefits that their employees don’t know about. This could include education reimbursements, safety awards and aspects of your medical/dental programs. The last couple minutes of this meeting is spent listening to the employee tell you about his day, what they liked and what not. Listen for excitement in his voice, or attempts to skirt around issues.

This first week is about training and more training. Whether the new guy has some experience, or is a raw rookie, you want things done your way at your company. Teach all day long. Let the new guy try things slowly and get him involved as much as possible.

Without being threatening, explain that your introductory period lasts for a certain amount of days, usually ninety. You may start benefits earlier, and you should if you want to attract good folks. The introductory period is when you have the option, as does the employee, to say this job isn’t right. No harm, no foul. After the completion of the introductory period, an employee can still be disciplined or fired if an offense warrants; but you will go through the disciplinary program outlined in your employee manual.

After the first week, let the mentor continue his daily meetings and you step in as needed or when randomly going thru the shop. As the shop owner and if you are the mentor, during your daily meetings keep the topics on daily work. When you switch your hats and become the owner, then you can bring up other business topics.

Every shop, in any industry, anywhere in the country has an unofficial, “I-really-am-in-charge-guy”. This may be the foreman who really is in charge, or an outgoing guy who loves the adoration of new workers. Keep him away from your new folks for a week or two. Send the “guy-in-charge” on outside work if you have that. Or be direct, tell him to keep away for a couple of weeks. By doing this, you feed his ego by inferring how important he is. Make sure their mentor knows this as well.

Remember, if you are a five-man shop, or a 300-person plant, every new employee is nervous.  Remind your mentors and foremen about this. A nervous employee is a safety hazard.

How do you destroy an employee’s confidence about staying at your company? Simply don’t order him T-shirts until his 90 days have passed. He will always be an outsider when he doesn’t have a uniform, or shirts, or whatever your company’s people wear. Let’s do the math. You are paying around $15 an hour, which is $600 a week. But you wait to spend a couple of hundred bucks on uniforms or whatever. Show your vote of confidence from day one. Spend the money on the shirts. The new guy will feel like a member of the team earlier and that will help him meld in with your group.

By the end of the first week, you will generally have a good feel for the possible success of the new guy. If you are uncomfortable thinking about his future, tell him this and what he needs to do to succeed. Be straight forward. This most often, will turn an employee to the better. If it doesn’t, give job counseling that may help him in another job and explain why he is not working well at your place.