What? I Have to Train a New Employee?!

What? I Have to Train a New Employee?!

Those words can be utterly frightening. Why can’t you just send me to the dentist for a root canal or put me in front of a large audience for a public speaking engagement.  Being on the hook for teaching, training, facilitating, or whatever you want to call it, a brand new employee to your company can cause sleepless nights and a trash can full of crumpled up ideas.  Calm down, you are only responsible for the new employee’s career. Okay, that might not have helped.  But seriously, by learning and understanding key principals, you have the power to create an amazing, motivating and productive learning environment for your new employee(s).

I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught.

Winston Churchill

Have you ever thought about how you learn best?  Maybe it is listening to a three hour lecture as the teacher reads one power point slide after another as you frantically try to write or type what was on each slide – after all, it is on the test!  Or was it the instructor who went field by field during software training for four straight hours.  What a grind!  I am guessing this is NOT how you learn and retain information and certainly should not be your approach when training new or existing employees.  Knowing how you learn best and how adults learn in general will help you understand your approach to training that new or existing employee.

You should become familiar with Malcolm Knowles concept of andragogy, the art and science of helping adults learn.  This theory includes assumptions about the adult learner and the application of these assumptions should be taken into consideration when planning formal or informal training sessions.

Adult learners need to know why they should learn something.

The WIFM (What’s in it for me) is important for adults to take their learning seriously and not just go through the motions to get through the training. This should be a piece of cake for you. Simply explain before each task or concept why it is important and the relevance of the task to their position.  Then explain how this task helps to meet company goals and the company mission statement.  Once you have the learners buy in, the next assumption in adult learning theory will take care of itself.

Adults need internal motivation.

Knowing the why’s and how they fit into the big picture will help build intrinsic motivation.  Adults like to win, so as quickly as possible, give your new employee a simple task that they will be successful at with limited instruction  This simple tip will leave the employee wanting more and will boost motivation.  If they weren’t successful, darn it, make them feel like they were!  This is your skill as a professional.  Learners that experience success on the basic tasks will be motivated to work and resolve more advanced concepts.

Adults bring prior knowledge and experience that form their learning.

Many adults will have previous work experience that they will use to eat what you are trying to feed them.  In other words, the learner will attempt to grasp the concepts you are trying to teach them by comparing the concept to their past work experience and knowledge.  This can be powerful and create some aha moments for the learner.  Simply ask the learner how the task relates to their previous work experience.  The learner will also appreciate you taking interest in their lives prior to working for your company.

Adults are self-directed and want to take charge of their learning.

This raises an important question.  So why don’t we let them?  Not to hurt anyone’s ego but learners do not care how much you know, just that you can teach them what they need to know.  There is an abbreviation in the training world, WAIT (Why Am I Talking) that will serve you well as a trainer.  Let your learners figure out the answers themselves through individual and group activities, e-learnings, questioning techniques, assessments and valuable debriefs.  Always replace lecture with activities when possible!  Now, there will be times where you have to jump into lecture mode but try to keep it to a minimum and spread it out so your learners don’t get sleepy  It is almost impossible for an adult to sit in a chair for eight hours a day and expect them to retain information so mix it up. Get them out of their chairs with group activities, ask questions frequently, and review always.

Adults find relevance from task oriented learning.

Adults need to make the connection between what they are learning and how it relates to their job and lives.  To keep it simple, all activities need to be focused on real life scenarios or case studies, all examples you  give in your classroom should be directly relatable to the learner’s job functions.  Don’t get off track, keep focused on the learner and meeting your objectives for the employee.

These are basic assumptions that most adult learners want and if you apply them, you and your employee will have a fantastic learning experience.

About Automated Systems, Inc.
Since 1981, Automated Systems, Inc. has been a leader in providing innovative core banking, digital banking, and data processing solutions to community banks nationwide.  An array of integrated applications provide partnered banks with tailored, cost-effective, competitive choices.  ASI delivers industry-leading technology backed by unparalleled in-house conversion, training and support teams; paving the way for progressive, top-notch customer service.  ASI corporate headquarters are located at 1201 Libra Drive, Lincoln, NE 68512, 1.800.279.7312.  For more information about banking solutions from ASI, visit www.asiweb.com.

About Insite Data Services
IDS data application hosting services combines secure and cost-effective core banking applications, enterprise-class servers and storage, and proven virtualization technology.  IDS hosts all of the bank’s servers in secure data centers that use state of the art security systems including identity verification and biometric scanning.  Insite Data Services also offers IDS On-Time, a full-service solution dedicated to back-office bank processing.  These operations experts allow partnered banks to focus on their most important asset, their customers.  For more information visit www.insitedataservices.com.

Sources:

Western Governors University, Adult Learning Theories and principles, April 7, 2020

https://www.wgu.edu/blog/adult-learning-theories-principles2004.html

About The Author

Bruce Ubben
Bruce Ubben
Bruce Ubbens is the Training & Documentation Manager at Automated Systems, Inc. He is primarily involved in the training of both new and current employees as well as instructing banks on the use of the Insite Banking software and solutions. Bruce has 20+ years of experience in adult education.

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