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How to Train New Hires Virtually

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Mostly, all anybody talks about lately when it comes to their staff is people quitting and the shortage of new talent. However, as Sharrin Fuller points out, it's good to remember many people are actually still hiring, and it's important to think about how your onboarding process for your new team members, especially if they're working remotely.

Jul 1st 2022
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By now, you all have to be completely exhausted from hearing about the "Great Resignation" of 2021. If you have a team, you have likely experienced this, although even the smallest firms were not exactly safe from this kerfuffle either. Statistics show that in November of 2021, 4.5 million people QUIT their jobs; that's 23.5 percent of the US workforce. What's done is done, and while we can't turn the hands back on the clock, we can learn from the experience and ask ourselves the big question: What's going on here? 

While sitting at home for two entire years with absolutely nothing to do except binge Netflix and eat oreos, the working population really had a chance to evaluate their lives. Seeing the number of COVID-related deaths increase on our TV screens every day really helps you identify what is important in life and what isn't. Most of those people decided that they are worth more than a minimum-wage job and wanted to better their lives. Some sold everything they have and moved into a van and are now traveling the world. Others left their jobs to spend more time with their families. However, us employers are still here, and we still have jobs to fill and team members to keep happy so they don't have mass exodus as well. 

For those team members (I don’t LOVE the word "employee") that stayed where they are at, you really need to ask them ‘WHY’? That is the question of the day. Why did so many quit, and why did so many stay? (That also rhymed, and I'm leaving it). Whatever is being done to keep your team happy needs to be replicated. In my experience, a GREAT member of a team is one that feels trusted and supported. They want to do their job and be amazing at it. No one wants to go to work and not feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. With the remote workforce in full-blown play, it is not an easy task to keep your team motivated and supported at the same time. You can’t just pop into an office doorway and repeat a lame "dad joke" you read that morning to lighten the mood. You have to actually work to get that engagement. This, my friends, is where tech comes into play. 

We all know what Zoom is. Video conferencing and chat applications are now known as "Zoom" the way a tissue is a Kleenex and an energy drink is a Red Bull. Sorry Skype, don’t know how they booted you, but they did. Zoom and chat/Slack are everything. When working remotely, it is always best to have "side" channels, places where people can post their dogs, kids, lunches, unfunny jokes, etc. I always encourage these and find myself participating in them more often than not. When you work apart, you have to keep that camaraderie and individual personality alive, or else we all just become robots on the other end of the Google box. 

Keeping up employee engagement is likely a no brainer, and from what I have seen, it was a thing even when everyone was in the same office. Thanks to Millennials, we are all used to sitting right next to someone while texting and never making eye contact. It’s honestly the training part that I find to be the hardest. How do you properly train someone remotely without making someone fly to someone else and sit at their desk for a week? Isn’t that what the remote world is trying to avoid altogether? There is just no reason to do this anymore. I have had a remote practice since 2006 and the thought of an office gives me the hives. So I feel pretty confident in saying I have tried every way possible and failed at most on how to properly train someone. What we came up with is setting up our training like a course. This may sound ridiculous, but there are software platforms that allow you to create courses.

Once you set it up with the details of your training, quizzes, etc, then you just have to send it out to each new hire. You will know if they watched, participated and passed. So far, this has been the BEST method. The greatest part is that the team member can go back and rewatch if they feel rusty instead of needing to ask a trainer the same question ten times. 

It takes time to set these training processes up, but once you do, when you need to onboard a new team member, you are ready to go and you don’t need to waste another team member's full day of training. Everyone learns differently and at different speeds, so this allows your new hire to pace themselves. To me, training and treating your team like the rock stars they are is what will reduce your turnover. 

Lastly, listen to your team. They are really doing the work, they will tell you if something is a fit or not, but you have to be willing to HEAR them. If they feel like they are falling on deaf ears, you wont get feedback and instead you will wake up to “I quit’ emails on a Monday morning, and no one wants that. Oh, one more thing: Pay them well! I just figured that was a given.