Disadvantages of Using Senior Employees to Coach Employees in New Positions

Experienced employees help new hires learn the ropes in the workplace.
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Hiring new talent and training them is just one of the never-ending tasks of a manager. Let’s face it: You do not have time to train new hires, and having a huge orientation class for one or two people is just not worth it. Having the new employees shadow and train with seasoned employees seems like a win-win situation. The experienced guru can impart all of her knowledge and wisdom to the new Jedi. Or at least that’s how it plays out in your mind. There are times, though, that this thinking can backfire. Job shadowing with senior employees can sometimes be detrimental.

The Disgruntled Employee

    We know that everything is not always sunshine and happiness in the workplace, but people should be happy that they have a job right? Not always: Some employees have more than an earful to say about how they feel regarding the company, and it’s not always good. Having one of these negative Nancys train a new recruit is a recipe for disaster. To set your new recruit up for success, the folks at the Talent Management website recommend setting up a training plan for the new hire. Meet with the senior trainer to go over what is to be covered. Managers should also check in at various times during the training, so that they can monitor the trainer and, if needed, move the new hire to another trainer if they notice any issues.

The Technologically Challenged Employee

    You may think that Mary, your trusted longtime employee of 20 years, is the perfect trainer. It could be, though, that Mary’s computer skills are 20 years old as well. Sometimes employees develop a system of doing things and never make updates for new technology. There may be quicker ways of doing things utilizing newer technology, which senior employees may not be aware of. This means that soon you will have two employees that are not working efficiently. One way around this is to review the trainer’s steps prior to the start of training. This will allow you to see any areas of improvement before the trainer passes on bad habits. Another idea is to have the new employee train on the company’s technology in a separate training session.

Low Productivity

    While your loyal long-term employee is training the new recruit, they’re not being as productive as they normally are. Depending on how long it takes a new employee to get up and running, you will lose money on lost productivity. One downside to having experienced workers help out with new hires is that these workers are neglecting their regular duties. They may not be happy about the extra hours they have to work in order to catch up. Distributing their work to co-workers while they are training will help to alleviate some of the stress of training. Another solution is to schedule training during down times so as to not affect higher production days.

Other Information

    Having senior employees do the training isn’t all bad. They are your company’s best resource -- plus, using them will save money on hiring trainers. Senior employees can also act as a mentor to the new hires, showing them the ropes and indoctrinating them into the corporate culture. To avoid pitfalls and to make sure that new recruits do not learn bad habits, managers must be vigilant. Managers need to establish a training plan and work closely with the trainer to know what is being trained and that no shortcuts are being taken.

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