3 simple strategies to maximize ROI when training new employees

3 simple strategies to maximize ROI when training new employees

Columns - Industry Voices

May 9, 2014
Angela Talocco
Hire Power Industry News

Angela TaloccoAngela Talocco

Training new employees is one of the most significant costs of doing business. Not training new employees can come at an even greater cost.

While hiring and retaining quality employees can prove challenging, it is more important than ever to focus on onboarding – having documented systems in place to train new hires.

Implementing three simple strategies can maximize the return on investment when creating an onboarding program.

Create a list of required trainings. The only way a new employee learns how to become a successful part of your company is by letting them know how to do so. Seems simple, but we often forget to set our expectations. First, create a list that includes information every employee needs to know.

Begin with an introduction to the company culture and values. Also, include the basic information every employee is expected to know. This might include where to park, how to clock in, expected start time and the company attendance policy.

In addition to what each employee needs to know, it is also important to list the more specific trainings that are essential for every position.

Create a training plan. The best path to success is having a plan in place to get where you want to go. Create a plan by identifying who, what, how and when the necessary information will be shared with employees. Consider who will train new employees. Choosing the right instructor can increase the success of any training.

Address what information will be covered and how it will be shared. Consider including multiple types of learning methods. At Swingle, every employee who drives for the company is required to take defensive driving training.

This training begins with the employee watching a defensive driving video, followed by engaging group discussions with the instructor.

The employee then completes a written test and hands-on driving test, which is graded by a Swingle supervisor, before being authorized to operate a company vehicle. Safe driving behaviors are incredibly important to our company, which is why this particular training encompasses several learning styles. Doing so ensures comprehension and retention of the skills and information provided.

Identify the time frame the onboarding process should take to complete. This provides a way to track accountability and ensures timely success of the program.

Implement and document. Once a plan is in place, the key to success is following through. This may sound simple but is where many plans fail.

Swingle learned by way of experience. Previously when a technician was needed, it wasn’t unheard of to put new employees in production without following an outlined training plan.

While this fulfilled the short term need of increasing production to meet demand, it was costing us when an employee’s performance didn’t meet company expectations. Now every new employee begins their first day with us by completing New Employee Orientation which introduces them to Swingle’s history, culture, values, and other basic information that every employee needs to know.

Implementing a training program is most successful when employees are aware that they’re being trained and when training is documented. At Swingle, the goal is to explain to the employee what they’ll be taught, teach them, and then have them demonstrate the learned skill. The employee and trainer also have to sign and date that the training took place.

Swingle has found success implementing and documenting training by maintaining a training folder for every new employee. The folder outlines what the employee can expect to learn throughout the onboarding process and is regularly updated as the employee grows in their career with us.

Summary. When creating or refining an onboarding program, keep it simple. Identify what training is required for every employee, what training is required for each position, create an easy-to-implement training plan, follow through and document the process.

While it will require an investment of time and resources, Swingle has found it allows new employees to more effectively and efficiently learn how to successfully and profitably complete their jobs.

This allows Swingle to create outdoor spaces while taking pride in being the very best.


The author is employee training and development specialist at Swingle. Hire Power is a monthly column designed to help you recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your company. We’ve got a rotating panel of columnists ready to give you practical, tactical advice on solving your labor problems. Email Chuck Bowen at cbowen@gie.net with topic ideas.