Although some continue to refer to the world’s nearly post-pandemic employment status as the Great Resignation, I felt a shift in the last two weeks to what others call the Great Rehiring. In the vernacular, the word rehiring would traditionally denote hiring back an employee to the same company they previously left. In this new term, rehiring is a large movement of people simply going back to work from a long (mostly involuntary) hiatus, albeit a brand new, and clearly, better-paying job.
Starting a new job always requires training, most of which, in the technology sector, involves learning how to use the new employer’s technology tools in a way that serves a new customer or type of customer. For example, an IT help desk employee at their old job might have been using ticketing system A to serve healthcare facilities. But their new job uses ticketing system B to serve general business offices. Both A and B are ticketing systems, and healthcare facilities are businesses, so this should be a breeze, right?
Unfortunately, humans require periods of adaption and adoption to learn new ways to do everything, including their jobs.
So, what is the best way to train new technology hires? The first half of the answer turns out to be that you need to use lots of different methods, combined in clever ways, to thoroughly embed the new information in your new hires’ brains and fingers while keeping them engaged and interested. The second half of the answer is that by using multiple methods, you will automatically be covering all modes of learning – audio, visual, tactile. We’re urgently re-creating all of our training to meet this new need – lots of business, lots of new staff.
Here are five best practices for training your employees effectively during the Great Rehiring:
One – the Word Document: Create a simple Word document that lays out everything the new hires need to know, tips, tricks, and especially the whys and how’s. The document will become your road map to creating the engaging material. However, once you have the document done, you can use it for employees who learn well from just reading and use it for quick reviews.
Two – PowerPoint: Use PowerPoint to take the content of your Word document and turn it into a fun and interesting employee-driven presentation. Here are some rules for this mode:
a. You should have no more than five to six words on any single slide.
b. If a picture with a short label can tell the story, then let it!
c. Use a combination of cartoon-like graphics, realistic photography, and screenshots. In other words, varying the visuals will keep it from being boring.
d. Use animation, but be careful not to make it annoying. For example, don’t use the same music, sound effects, or visual animation on every slide.
e. Record audio clips for each slide, so some are viewable without supervision. However, in the spirit of multiple modes, some of them should be presented by a live instructor.
f. No presentation should take more than 10-15 minutes to go through it at a normal pace.
g. Allow the new hire to pause, go back, then proceed forward.
Three – Xbox Game Bar for Free Video Production: Make your own technology tool training videos using Windows 10 (or 11) Xbox Game Bar. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found that this free software is included and automatically installed in every single Windows 10 operating system. This software allows you to record your screen live, including mouse movements, drop-down boxes, pop-ups, etc., and even record your voice as you move your mouse to show how to use the software you are demonstrating. Here are a few tips:
a. Launch the Xbox Game Bar, and immediately go to the Settings gear icon.
b. Choose Shortcuts, and either note the ones you will need or change them to something you’ll remember.
c. The ones you’ll use the most are Open Game Box, Start/Stop Recording, and Microphone On/Off.
d. Plan your demonstration before you start recording, so the video flows at a good pace, remembering that you are recording in real-time.
e. These videos can be dropped into a PowerPoint presentation slide and automatically play when reaching that slide.
Four – Quiz and Test:
Quiz the new hire every 10-15 minutes. As I mentioned above, no single piece of training content should last more than this time. In the end, have the new hire take a quiz. There are plenty of low-cost options like Kahoot
When they have completed a group of related presentations and quizzes, give them a test covering all the grouped material.
Five – Time for Hands-On: Finally, when they have learned enough to perform some pretend tasks, give them a project to complete or a problem to solve using the technology tools. Their success will provide you with the feedback needed to send them back to review certain training sections or put them out on the floor to start working.
Finally, keep in mind that the first four weeks of any job resemble drinking from a fire hose. New hires will forget most of what they learn, so repetition is the key. Find ways to present the same material multiple times, using different modes, graphics, live instructors, recorded presentations, etc. Quiz them on the same topics but switch up the scenarios, wording/order of questions, and answers. Eventually, they will be sipping that water instead of just trying to survive the onslaught.
Bobra is writing on behalf of the SCTC, a premier professional organization for independent consultants. SCTC consultant members are leaders in the industry, able to provide best of breed professional services in a wide array of technologies. Every consultant member commits annually to a strict Code of Ethics, ensuring they work for the client benefit only and do not receive financial compensation from vendors and service providers.