Providing appropriate initial and ongoing training for new staff members is essential, not only in terms of preparing individuals for their new position, but also in retaining them for a longer period of time. Trained staff members are more knowledgeable and possess a diverse array of skills, enabling them to provide quality services that help the organization accomplish its mission. This article provides useful tips for training new staff members.

1. Upon hire, all new staff members should participate in an employee orientation program. Determine who and how many individuals will orient the new staff member. Will it be the new hire’s immediate supervisor, a human resources (HR) employee, some other individual (e.g., former employee), or a combination of these individuals? For example, the immediate supervisor may provide specific training regarding the new employee’s job duties and responsibilities, while a HR representative may provide a general orientation to the organization’s programs and services. Regardless of who conducts the training, an orientation training schedule should be developed for each new employee (e.g., who s/he will meet with, when they will meet, and what will be covered).

2. Develop an employee orientation program that includes, but is not limited to, the following components:

a. An overview of the organization, including its mission, vision, programs, services, staff members, board of directors, collaborative relationships, funding sources, etc.

b. An overview of the position’s job duties (highlighting all CISCO STAFF essential functions), responsibilities, and work expectations (e.g., travel, evening and weekend hours).

c. An overview of all employee benefits, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and vision insurance; short-term and long-term disability insurance; life insurance policy; 401 k plan or other retirement plan; vacation, sick, and other types of leave; and other benefits, if applicable.

d. An overview of the organization’s regular and personnel policies and procedures.

e. A tour of the organization’s facility and introduction to all staff members.

f. Where the individual’s office is, what equipment (with passwords, if needed) is available for him/her to use, and where s/he can access office supplies.

3. After orientation, there is usually training specific to the new employee’s probationary period. Training during this period is generally more extensive, as you’re trying to bring the employee up to speed, as quickly as possible. The main focus should be on the employee learning and becoming proficient at his/her job, how it relates to the organization’s other positions, and how it helps the organization accomplish its mission. The new employee and his/her immediate supervisor should meet at least weekly to ensure the employee is learning and applying the knowledge and skills necessary for ultimate success.

4. As information and technology changes, new ideas and theories emerge, and research findings are made available daily, you’ll want to provide opportunities for your staff to increase their knowledge and skills in areas critical to their respective jobs. Thus, an ongoing training program should be developed and implemented. Items to consider for an ongoing training program include:

a. Do you want the training to be conducted internally, by current members, former staff members, or board members? The latter two groups may include individuals who possess expertise in certain areas. You can also invite staff members from other organizations to present at a staff meeting.



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