Welcoming new employees into an office environment can provide plenty of challenges, but bringing new employees into a warehouse, processing facility, or factory floor can be even more complicated. Your success will depend on the speed with which your new employees are acclimated, and the acclimation of your new employees will depend on the confidence, skill, and experience of those who are charged with showing them the ropes. Keep these tips in mind before you flood your facility with a wave of well-meaning recruits who aren’t yet up to speed.
Training means everything.
Your new employees will need training that’s competent, accurate and complete. Which means your trainers will need expert training as well. Make sure your trainers can handle crucial skills like: 1.) assessing a newbie’s current expertise level and speed of growth, 2.) understanding questions fully and answering them clearly 3.) offering praise for skills acquired and tasks successfully executed 4.) quickly and respectfully correcting employees who go off track, misunderstand an instruction, or handle a machine improperly.
Choose the right trainers in the first place.
The first step to training your trainers is simple: start with those who are the most likely to excel at this task. Some people are naturally better teachers than others, and some are better than others at taking on this challenge while still keeping up with their primary responsibilities. You want trainers who are cool under pressure, articulate, patient, and unwilling to cut corners.
Compensate trainers and formalize your onboarding program.
Don’t just pull someone off the factory line and put them in charge of a new employee for the day. Instead, make sure your training program is carefully structured. Provide a formal curriculum, a training schedule, and appropriate salary boosts for those who take on this responsibility. Even after the training is complete, new employees should have “mentors” who they can always turn to with questions about a given process or company policy.
Safety should come first, as always.
Don’t push new employees into dangerous situations ahead of their learning curve. If an employee simply isn’t ready to drive a forklift, manage a commercial oven, or keep up with an inspection line, don’t force them into a situation that can lead to injury or harm. Use coaching to bring them up to speed, and if they aren’t making the cut within a prescribed deadline, consider this a staffing problem—not a management or productivity problem.