Saturday 28 February 2015

by Alison Green
culled from:
I’ve been out of school and in the workforce full time for about four years now. In this time, I don’t feel that I’ve had even one job that adequately trained new employees. The first full-time job I had was in a new hotel, and everyone was trained pretty well on how to use the computer system. However, no one was provided much information about the hotel or the hotel’s rules/procedures, which often resulted in not knowing where things were located, how to answer questions from prospective or current guests, or how to handle certain situations. Employees who were hired after the big training session prior to the hotel’s opening were not trained well on the computer system or the hotel. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the vast majority of employees at this hotel would get fired. I was the only one who lasted over a year, and one of the only ones who left voluntarily.
However, I did get fired at another hotel around two months after starting. Training consisted of my showing up and immediately being thrown behind the front desk with another employee who was expected to do his job while I observed him and did what he did. This was a very busy hotel downtown in a major city that people love to visit. I tried to mitigate this type of training by asking him anything I could think of that would be important, just based on my previous hotel experience. But I still ended up getting fired when money was missing on my shift and I hadn’t followed some protocol in dropping the money. This was a protocol that I’d pretty much never followed because no one had pointed out that I hadn’t been following it in the two months I’d worked there. With an unclear training program, I don’t see how I would know otherwise that there was XYZ I wasn’t doing correctly.
Skipping to my new job, I am currently in yet another version of being thrown to the wolves. We provide tech support over the phone to businesses, and I ended up on the phone my 2nd day because I was told the best way to learn the job is just to do it. They are kind of forcing me to answer nearly every call–it’s not as if I started off doing a few. We’re not getting a ton of calls, either, and the person I am working with on my “training” agreed with me that this is not really a good thing. More than half of the phone calls we get are actually calls for other employees, which means it is taking me a while to encounter all the tech issues others who work there are experienced with handling. It has been three weeks now, and I still can’t handle the majority of calls by myself. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about this since they still consider me to be in training, but I do because I did get fired once before for, what I feel was at least in part due to, inadequate training.
Am I off-base, or are many employers doing a half-bad, if not completely bad, job of training new employees (and then ultimately placing the blame on those employees)? Is there hope for finding a job where you will be trained well? How do you think new employees typically should be trained? I know this is a long message, but I would really appreciate your thoughts.
Yes, lots of employers suck at training!
It just so happens that we have a frequent commenter, Charles Trimmer, who is a professional trainer, so I asked him if he’d like to respond to your question. Here is Charles’ response:
This is more of a management issue than a training issue, but I’ll answer from a trainer’s point of view.
Good management understands that employees do not show up on the first day and hit the ground running at 60 mph. Employees will need to learn something about how things are done in their organization. But sadly, many employers have the attitude that training is a throw-away item. Yes, we would love to train everyone,” they say,“but we don’t have the money or we cannot afford to give them the time away from work.” Poor management sees time away from work, even for training, as lost productivity. 
Clearly, sticking a new person on a busy desk on the first day is not training – it doesn’t matter that there was a more experienced person there. How on earth was he suppose to explain things to you while also trying to service the customers? Unfortunately, it is not at all an untypical situation. Obviously, it would have been far better for the manager to require you to show up to work for the first time when things are typically slower so that the experienced employee would have the time to explain things thoroughly. However, managers have to deal with the logistics of who is available and when, so logistics often trump common sense.
Common sense tells us that a properly trained employee is far more productive than an untrained and uninformed employee. Good managers know this to be true and do everything they can to see that their employees are given the tools they need to do their job. Those tools include not just new hire training, but also include follow up and continuing training as needed.
Good managers make sure that employees are starting work with all the tools they need. Often times this requires the employee to make a commitment to the training as well. Case in point:  several years ago I trained at a company that had three shifts. Those new hires who were going to be working the night shift (5:00 PM to midnight) still had to be trained. Since there were never more than 1 or 2 new night staffers starting at the same time, it was understood that if they wanted this night-shift position they had to attend training during the day and stay on the day shift until the supervisor okayed them to move to night shift. I’m sure that there were a few folks who couldn’t do the day shift at all and so lost out on this position. However, those employees who could and were willing to make the extra sacrifice to work the day shift for a while were more likely to be hired for this night-shift position.
Is there any hope of finding a job where you will be trained well? 
Well, aside from exceptions where there are government-imposed training requirements (like health care), the answer depends upon having good management in place. But this doesn’t mean that you, as an employee or job seeker, are totally out of luck. You can ask about training during a job interview: “What sort of training does the organization give its new hires?  Is there follow-up or continuing training for existing employees?”
Lack of training can also be improved by current employees speaking up and telling management, “We need X to do our jobs better, and X is better training.”  Or, “Yes, the new computer system looks like it might help streamline billing in the long run, but can we have someone shows us the proper way to use it?”
Or, as an existing employee, you could speak up and suggest to the manager that you would like to help out with training the new hires. (You could start out with small steps such as offering to create quick reference cards or guides, something simple for new hires to use.) But be sure that you know what you are getting into –training is not for everyone and this suggestion doesn’t help you as a new hire.
Of course, it would be nice if you didn’t need to speak up to ask for what I consider to be the basics. But, unfortunately, employees do need to give such feedback to managers. After all, many managers are, themselves, often promoted without management training. And so the cycle goes . . .
One last word of caution (and it certainly isn’t because you are doing this; in fact, your letter suggests the opposite): be sure that you are serious that the lack of training is the real issue and that you are not using “lack of training” as an excuse for not following through on your job  – good managers will see right through that excuse. Finally, no matter how poor the training is, you, the adult learner, have to make the most of it. Until all managers see training as a “worthwhile investment” and not just as a “cost,” I’m afraid that I really don’t have better answers.


  1. Management has to conduct befitting trainings for new employees for better understanding of their responsibilities and the organisational policies.

  2. Employers so very bad at training people because there thought are always that if the newly employed could work effectively or skilled than they do,then they might be demoted.
    By: Adeleye Okikiola John.

  3. Replies
    1. management should train employee well for better understanding of the job

  4. management should train employee well for better understanding of the job


    Employers are so bad in training people in the sense they feel that if the new empolyee
    get the whole knowledge he can get there client

  6. Creating “how to” documents is a great way to add value to the job. Bad employers don’t seem to understand that the cost of mistakes far outweighs the cost of training. But once everyone is on board with the “how to” document, they see a big change.


  8. As an organisation is concerned, it is expected for a recruiting department to organise seminars and trainings for the employee.
    Lukmon Bisola Kanyinsola