3 Tips for Training New Team Members

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog

RSS

View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Marian Haus
Lynda Bourne
Lung-Hung Chou
Bernadine Douglas
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Roberto Toledo
Vivek Prakash
Cyndee Miller
Shobhna Raghupathy
Wanda Curlee
Rex Holmlin
Christian Bisson
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina

Recent Posts

A Better Path Forward For Federal Programs - Part 1

Authoritarian vs. Participatory Project Management

4 Reasons I Love Portfolio Management

My Favorite Research Tools

The Impact of Unforeseen Risks



by Christian Bisson, PMP

When a new person joins the team, there’s always a bit of a learning curve. But when teams fail to prepare new members, it takes even longer for them to provide efficiencies and improve performance.

Here are three training tips to help new recruits hit the ground running:

1. Don’t Put Trainees In Control

Being available to answer questions isn’t a sufficient way to train new team members.

While knowledge is transferred when you answer a question, new recruits can only ask about issues they’re aware of. This means they’ll often make mistakes that could have been avoided.

Rather than let team members learn things the hard way, share important information before questions are asked—and remember that details matter. For example, project briefs are done differently everywhere, and it’s not always clear who should be included if no one has been specified. A new team member might not think to ask if he or she has sent briefs a specific way at previous jobs.

2. Create an Onboarding Plan

Don’t make new team members chase people down to discuss processes or protocols.

I once joined a team where I was told to set up meetings with a dozen different colleagues so they could explain how they work. I didn’t really know how the conversations would turn out, but I expected the others would be prepared to meet with me.

The result was a bit surprising. The list of people I was supposed to meet with was outdated—several were no longer with the company—and those who were still around expected me to lead the meeting since I had set it up (which made sense). So they didn’t quite know what to say.

This experience was an eye opener. To make new members feel welcome, teams should plan onboarding discussions in advance and have information ready to share.

3. Take a Phased Approach

More often than not, generic training sessions bore and demotivate people, wasting everyone’s time.

Instead, training should be relevant to a person’s role and immediate needs. For example, not everything that a new team member should know will be relevant on day one. If you give them information they’ll need a few months down the road during onboarding, chances are they’ll have forgotten everything when that time comes.

Training and knowledge sharing should be done gradually. The gaming world offers a useful example. Many games have ongoing tutorials where bits of information are shared throughout gameplay, requiring the player to practice a new skill right before it’s needed. This approach maximizes the learning experience and keeps training from becoming tedious. It makes lessons easier to absorb and more likely to be remembered.

Training is often thought of a secondary need for new team members, being conducted as time allows—which might be never. How do you make time for training on your team? What type of knowledge transfer do you prioritize?

Posted by Christian Bisson on: January 08, 2017 05:25 PM | Permalink

Comments (11)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Good points

I would Prioritize a "partnership" knowledge transfer.

I would take the new person under my wing and we will together tackle a "typical" work problem or an activity by taking their suggestions. I would foster and encourage open communications. If they make mistakes, the situation is still under control because I am still in the lead.

I would try and perform different activities with them under my wing so the new team member familiarizes with the different challenges they might encounter when they venture out on their own.

If I am performing a customer facing role, I would be taking the team member to meetings with customers, introducing them to the customers, explaining what kinds of support I provide the customers and what interactions I have with the customer on a day to day basis. This will not only help the new staff member familiarize themselves with the customer expectations, it also gives the customer confidence that their application/service is going to be in good hands.

Yes we follow the above points.

Thanks for sharing

Good tips. Tip # 3 "Phased Approach", it can be on job training, gaining knowledge through the day to day work.
Thanks for sharing.

Good tips
Thanks for sharing.

The on-boarding plan works very well for me with my new hires; along with a phased training approach, which spans the 3 months probation period. For some aspects of their training, the phases extend beyond the 3 months probation.

Good tips

Hi Deepesh,

you seem to have a great onboarding plan, I hope those under your wing are aware how lucky they are, it is quite rare (at least in my experience!).

Cheers.

Hi Michelle,

I like the idea of planning the training to follow the probation period, that period is crucial to both the employee and employer, making sure the onboarding lasts at least that long is sure to help. Do you sometimes have to manage people that think it might be too long and try to shorten the training? Some might be more towards the line that onboarding is a few days, or weeks.

Thanks.

Deepesh,you have set and given the appropriate method to impart training to new team members through a "partnership" knowledge transfer approach.Not much can be expected from the members under training ,you have to hold their hand to make them learn the trick of the trade.

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.

ADVERTISEMENTS

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."

- Voltaire

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors

Vendor Events

See all Vendor Events