Small Business Strategies for More Effective Skill Sharing
When you take on a new employee, or when you promote one who has been with you for a while, you will find yourself needing to teach them new skills specific to their roles. The better and faster that you are able to do this, the more efficiency and speed you will bring to bear in your business endeavors. While the expertise that you have is all your own and might require some specific training methods, using some proven and effective methods for better teaching can help save you and your employee’s time. If you find these methods work for you, then share them with your managers. The more leaders you have in your office, the greater your ability to succeed.
Create a written supplement to your instructions. When you’re in the middle of teaching a skill, but get pulled away because of a conflicting responsibility, don’t leave your trainee sitting there empty handed. A training manual is an extremely useful tool for briefing new hires and can be an effective supplement to hands on coaching that allows people to learn faster. A manual is not a total substitute for face time, but after writing one, you will be able to reuse it over and over, streamlining and standardizing employee training.
Manage, but don’t micromanage their new assignments. You should be providing as much support and feedback to your employees as possible, but fight the desire to correct mistakes as they are making them unless they are about to seriously ruin something. It’s better to allow an employee to learn something and mess it up once than for you to do their work for them, then have them create a problem down the road because they never understood what their mistake was.
Feedback should flow both ways. If you don’t let your employee ask questions, then you shouldn’t be surprised when they never learn a critical application. Effective pedagogy allows for a two way flow of communications, and you should encourage speaking up when something is not understood. Due to a desire to come across as professional, many employees will hesitate to ask questions even when they don’t d something entirely. This means that it fall on you to make sure that they feel comfortable requesting additional instruction and that you give them the opportunity to speak up.
Photo Credit to Steven Depolo on Flickr