Footprints – Employee Training Blog

Why Your Employee Orientation Should Begin With a Warm Welcome

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Thu, Apr 20, 2017
Think for a second about some of the “first days” you’ve had in your life: your first day of school, your first day of college, your first day on the job…. Remember how you felt? First days tend to be exciting and full of promise but you probably felt a little nervous or uneasy too, right? Right before starting a new job, people usually ask themselves questions like:

  • What if I don't perform well?
  • What if I don't like my boss?
  • What if my boss doesn't like me?
  • What will the other employees think of me?

It’s completely natural to think about all these things (and more) before starting a new job—and even for the first few days or weeks. Management can do so much to alleviate these concerns, and it all starts with an employee orientation program that welcomes new hires with open arms. When organizations take the time to properly welcome and embrace new employees, everyone wins in the long term. Here are five reasons employee orientation helps new hires feel more comfortable and secure as they begin their new position.

1. It answers their questions.
Odds are that when your new employees show up for their first day of work, they‘ll have a ton of questions. The odds are even better that, as they learn more about their new position, they’ll have even more questions. Employee orientation gives new hires the opportunity to get all of those questions answered in a no-pressure environment. Plus, as an added bonus, knowing all the questions new hires have will help management improve the employee orientation program content for the future.

2. It helps them become acquainted with co-workers.
For those that struggle with any level of social anxiety or with getting to know new people, employee orientation is an easy way to get some of the awkward introductions out of the way. Incorporating breaks into the employee orientation program allows new hires to mingle and casually chat with one another. If your employee orientation is presented in person (and if the group isn’t too large), it might be a good idea to have everyone introduce themselves at the beginning of the program and share a little about themselves. You may even implement a more structured meet-and-greet to encourage relationship building.

3. It provides a strong knowledge base about their position.
The main goal of any employee orientation program is to lay a solid foundation for new employees. This will empower new hires and propel them to success. A major part of the foundation is the knowledge base they need to perform their job duties properly and efficiently, on the path to becoming a contributing employee.

4. It helps them be more successful.
There are several factors that go into an employee being successful in their new position, and employee orientation is the best way to set a new employee up for that success. Employee orientation provides the information, support, training, and guidance all new employees need for a thorough understanding of the company, their position, and how to be a successful member of the team.

5. You'll make them feel wanted.
At the end of the day, you never want someone to feel like a burden or as though they’re not welcome at your organization. Feeling unwelcome or unwanted will only hurt their performance and could lead to increased turnover rates. Employee orientation programs that focus on the employees, just as much as the organization, tell new hires they’re valued members of your team. Companies that carefully craft employee orientation programs to not just inform employees, but also to welcome employees, are on the road to long-term success. A warm welcome will go a long way to getting employees off on the right foot.
Read More

Tags: orientation

Top Five Mistakes Companies Make During Employee Orientation

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

Imagine this scenario. Your alarm buzzes to life, waking you for the first day of your dream job—the one you’ve been working toward your entire life. As you drive to work, you are nervous, excited, and eager to start the day and meet your new co-workers. You arrive at work with a big smile on your face…now what?

If you’re sent straight to some type of employee orientation program, your new company is on the right track. New employees who go through a structured onboarding program are far more likely to stay with the organization for years to come. On the other hand, when new hires aren’t put through an onboarding process, not even a brief employee orientation program, they are more likely to question their decision to take the new job, sometimes as early as day one. When new employees walk away within the first 45 days, their anxieties were probably fueled by the all-too-common mistakes many companies make during their new employee orientation program.

Today we’re going to look at some of the first-day mistakes that cause new employees to run screaming from new jobs.

Focusing on process rather than culture
Employees begin their new job excited and upbeat about learning and becoming acquainted with the worksite. Does anyone really want to go into the office on their first day, only to be handed mountains of paperwork and then be expected to sit in a quiet room and fill it all out? Absolutely not. The first day (perhaps even the first few weeks) should be focused on building relationships while gradually getting up to speed on the day-to-day responsibilities that come with the job. Paperwork can be taken care of in advance and submitted on the first day or even before then.

Rushing through new employee orientation
Unless your company has a person or team dedicated to only hosting new employee orientation, it’s very likely that the person facilitating orientation has more than enough to do without having to take a day or two to welcome new hires. No one benefits when presenters rush through the material without focusing on the needs of the new employees. Employee orientation should be a patient and methodical process in order to achieve maximum knowledge comprehension and employee retention.

Failing to reinforce the company brand
Attitude is everything. As a trainer, your positivity and high energy will be contagious to your new hires. If they witness good vibes in the workplace, they’ll be excited to keep working, and they’ll tell their friends and family about the great work environment they’ve found.

Not allotting enough time
NFL players didn’t earn their fame and fortune overnight and neither will your new hires. Simply completing day one of your employee onboarding program doesn’t mean they can be independent workers and make a difference in the workplace. On average, it takes at least 60 days to learn a new habit, though it could take longer for the new behavior to become automatic. For the sake of this article, we’ll say it takes 60 business days—nearly three months—to learn a new habit. We encourage companies to keep employee orientation programs brief, anywhere from a few hours to one full day, but keep in mind that it’s likely to take up to three months for new hires to feel comfortable in their new roles.

The classic case of “winging it”
This is by far the worst mistake a company can make when welcoming a new hire. Scrambling to organize responsibilities and activities while also educating new hires, all off the top of your head, can end in disaster. For one thing, this approach will leave the new employee feeling anxious about what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it. For another, it presents a bad first impression and sets a bad precedent.

There you have it: the top five mistakes that companies make during employee orientation. No one is perfect, not even large companies and corporations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for near perfection when it comes to employee onboarding, orientation, and training. 

Employee Orientation Checklist

Read More

Tags: employee training

The 5 Most Important Training Topics for Senior Care Professionals

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Tue, Apr 18, 2017

Senior care is a specialized type of care that requires workers with a special skill set as well as a tremendous capacity for patience and sensitivity. When hiring new employees, keep in mind that some things, like proper medication storage and the best way to assist someone with toileting, can be taught—while other things, like compassion, cannot be taught. This is why employee training is so important—once you’ve filtered through job candidates and selected employees with the right temperament to work with seniors, you need to thoroughly train them. Training requirements vary from state to state and from facility to facility, but the following five topics are staples of senior-care training and should be taught to all employees who work with the elderly.

1. Privacy laws.
One of the most important things that you’ll need to really drive home with your employees during their training is the absolute importance of the privacy laws that are in place to protect seniors. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA, prevents senior caregivers or any other healthcare professional from being able to discuss the care of their patient with anyone on any level. These laws are very strict and must be covered extensively during employee training.

2. Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Sadly, more and more seniors are being diagnosed with one form of dementia or another. Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common types of dementia, is a degenerative disease of the brain characterized by forgetfulness, confusion, and mood swings. Working with people with dementia can be difficult, and the ability to provide specialized care requires thorough training and education.

3. Diet and nutrition.
Many seniors require a specialized diet—and that diet is often affected by medication. For example, one type of blood thinner that is commonly prescribed to seniors prevents them from being able to eat leafy greens like lettuce. Along the same lines, seniors with diabetes have many limitations when it comes to the types of foods they can eat. Caregivers who work with the elderly need to be aware of restrictions like these so there are no mix-ups with potentially dangerous foods.

4. Medication administration.
When caregivers are tasked with assisting the self-administration of medications, they will need comprehensive training on this process. They’ll need to understand what it means to assist, and when they can and cannot offer assistance, as well as your company policy for tracking medications, and the procedure to follow if a pill is lost or a mistake is made. While many common medications prescribed to seniors are fairly benign, there are some that could result in serious injury or even death if given incorrectly. When there is even a slight chance of injury or illness, it’s important to take as much time as necessary to make sure that your caregivers are comfortable assisting with the self-administration of medications.

5. Abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
One of the most tragic realities of senior care is the prevalence of abuse that exists within the industry. Seniors are susceptible to many different types of abuse including physical, financial, emotional, and sexual, not to mention neglect and exploitation. Many seniors fall prey to abuse from their friends and family members, and even caregivers with the best of intentions may unknowingly commit some type of abuse if they aren't educated in exactly what constitutes abuse. When caregivers know exactly what to look for, they will be more likely to observe and report possible abuse. No matter what, caregivers need to know they can, and should, speak up even if they aren't sure if abuse is taking place.

Training new employees is critical, but even the most experienced caregivers can benefit from continuing education on these topics and other relevant subjects. Initial, annual, and continuing education will ensure a safe environment for our senior population.

Read More

Tags: caring for the elderly

9 Tips to Help you Celebrate Stress Awareness Month

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Tue, Apr 11, 2017
Stress is a fact of life - we all feel stressed out from time to time. It’s how we manage our stress that really matters. This month, in celebration of Stress Awareness Month, we’re going to share some of our favorite tools to help you reduce and manage your stress level.

Deep Breathing/Meditation

Read More

Tags: training, employee

6 Tools to Amp Up Your New Employee Training

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Fri, Apr 07, 2017

Maintaining employees' skills and improving their performance are critical for companies looking to achieve maximum success and retain a competitive advantage. You know your employee training program directly impacts your company’s ability to increase productivity, cut costs, and streamline operations. And you know there’s tremendous value in having at least a basic training program to educate your employees about all of your policies, procedures, rules, and regulations. But have you ever wondered if the employee training program you have in place could be better? Here are six easy ways to amp up your employee training program that will make your employees, and your entire company, look even better.

1. Set goals and write plans.
One of the simplest things you can do to ensure your new employee training program is effective is to establish goals for the training ahead of time. Once you have goals in mind, make sure they are clearly communicated to your employees throughout the training process so they know exactly what they are supposed to get out of the training.

Along the same lines, once you have established your training goals, make a plan for how you will go about achieving those goals. Start by asking yourself what methods you should use and how to best connect with your new employees. Then write an outline to help you stay on track.

2. Make the training interactive.
Although the material in your employee training program is important, there’s a good chance at least some of it is a little on the boring side. This is a common problem and one that can be solved by breaking it up into smaller chunks and making it more engaging and interactive. Tip: Maybe one of the goals we just talked about should be keeping your employees engaged and focused during training.

If your training is conducted in person, keep the mood conversational. Talk with the learners, not at them—if you encourage a back-and-forth exchange of information, you’re far more likely to keep everyone involved. Hands-on exercises and role-playing are other ways to break up the monotony of a lecture-style training session. Whether you offer training in person or online, games, interactive exercises, and quizzes will also keep employees actively involved with the training material.

3. Make your training available online and on mobile devices.
Moving your employee training program into the digital world is a great way to not only expedite the training process, but also to make it more convenient and accessible to employees. Doing so will allow your employees to access the training at the time that best works for them, rather than forcing them to rearrange their schedules to accommodate a training session.

There are a couple of different ways to begin this process of turning your existing content into online training: You can find a company that specializes in the creation of online training (us, for example) or you can find an online learning platform that allows you to create courses from templates. If you decide to take your training online, break up the material into chapters or modules for easy navigation and progress tracking.

4. Turn the tables.
One of the best ways to gauge how well things are going during your training is to turn the tables on your new employees. At certain intervals throughout the training, ask your trainees to repeat the material back to you or deliver it to you as though you were the one in training. Ask your employees to explain the concepts and principals to you in their own words to ensure they’ve retained the important parts. This process will help you identify unclear topics and questions they have about the materials you’ve presented.

5. Allow enough time.
Depending on how difficult or intricate your employees’ job responsibilities are, there could be a tremendous amount of material to cover during your employee training program. Make sure you’re allowing enough time to properly cover each topic and to ensure your employees understand the material before moving on to the next subject. Breezing over all the material as quickly as you can is likely to produce nothing but disappointing results. The more important and in-depth a topic is, the more time you’ll need to thoroughly explain and teach it.

6. Keep your messaging consistent.
One of the most common traps trainers fall into is explaining a clearly defined process and then turning around and saying, "But I do it this way…." While you may think you’re adding value to the training by explaining your way of doing things, it’s more likely that you’re just confusing your employees by giving them mixed messages. Instead, stick to consistently teaching them to do things the "correct" or "by the book" so they understand exactly what is expected of them.

Training your employees is one of the best ways to ensure you have the best workforce possible. Even if your current training and development program is good, these suggestions can help you make it great.

Read More

Tags: training, employee

How Caregiver Training Will Benefit Your Assisted Living Facility

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Tue, Apr 04, 2017

In some industries, employee training programs are more important and in-depth than others. Health care, for example, is a field where intense staff training may be required. To get even more specific, staff training is vital for assisted-living facilities. Senior care professionals who work in assisted-living facilities need a thorough understanding of health-care laws, various conditions that are common to the elderly, and specialized operational systems, while also remaining mindful that they are offering a unique "home" environment.

Assisted-living facility employees run the gamut from nursing staff to dietary specialists and from the maintenance crew to the housekeeping staff. While each department fulfills different roles and responsibilities, and may need customized training, all staff must be trained in the basics of caring for the elderly population. And as the number of seniors entering assisted-living facilities continues to grow, there is more need than ever for consistent, high-quality training for caregivers.

Safety and awareness
The biggest concern in an assisted-living facility is the safety and well-being of the residents. It is crucial that all employees, regardless of their position, are thoroughly trained in topics such as infection control, the aging process, cognitive impairment, dementia, and fire and life safety, just to name a few. While every state and individual facility will have its own set of training requirements, basic training for all staff should extend to fall prevention, emergency situations, and basic food safety.

New employees who don’t necessarily have hands-on resident caretaking responsibilities (housekeeping and maintenance staff), are often surprised to find out that they too are required to take these training courses. It may help to remind them that resident safety and well-being is dependent on all staff and that, if they’ve never been trained in these areas before, it’s even more important that they be trained now so they can react accordingly if necessary.

Understanding assisted-living residents
Because senior care calls for a unique skillset among caregivers, unless someone has previously worked in the field, he or she will have a limited understanding of how to work with and around assisted-living residents. Therefore, your employee training program must include materials that teach employees about their work environment, what they are likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis, and the philosophy of assisted living. In addition to training, employees will benefit from the on-the-job experience they’ll get as they meet and deal directly with residents.

Think about it, if you hire a new employee who has never worked in senior care, he or she may not have a thorough understanding of the more common ailments and diseases that affect residents, like dehydration, Parkinson's, and dementia.

Residents with certain conditions require a very special level of care that requires a thorough understanding of the disease and the way it impacts those with it. The best thing you can do for your employees (and for your facility) is ensure that they are able to provide the highest level of care. Detailed and interactive training on all applicable topics is the best way to do this.

Upholding legal requirements
Operating an assisted-living facility comes with numerous legal obligations and requirements. For example, all your employees and caregivers have to be educated and compliant with the HIPAA laws. These laws protect the privacy of your residents and prevent your employees from discussing residents’ personal conditions and matters with anyone outside the facility.

Educating your caregivers and staff on these and other applicable laws should be one of the top priorities of your employee training program. This type of training will protect your residents, your staff, and your facility.

The people who work in assisted-living facilities are dedicated, hard-working individuals who spend their days caring for our aging population. Those qualities, plus a well-planned and executed training program, can combat any lack of prior experience when they begin their job at your facility. Put simply, educating your caregivers is essential to the success of your staff and the overall safety and happiness of all your valued residents.

Read More

Tags: assisted living

Effectively Training New Employees in a Mobile Phone World

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Thu, Mar 30, 2017

Spending time and money to properly train new employees is one of the wisest and most valuable investments you can make as a human resources director. When done right, new employee training helps cut down on costly mistakes, improves teamwork and communication, and streamlines operations to optimize profits. However, not all employee training programs are created equally, and not all of them are designed for success. In order to ensure that your employee training program is effective, you need to keep it updated, engaging, and modern. This can be accomplished, in part, by creating a training program that is accessible on mobile phones and tablets.

Moving your training program to a mobile platform will not only optimize your success rate with new employees, it will go a long way toward getting them up to speed faster. Long-term benefits aside, the process of moving your training to a mobile phone and tablet platform is one that needs to be handled with care and planning. Here are three important components to effectively training new employees in a mobile phone world.

Find the right LMS to manage your program
If you are going to make the wise move to implement a mobile employee training program, you need to also make a careful decision when selecting a learning management system (LMS). For starters, make sure your learning management system will be reliable and optimally functional for your training program. This will be easier if you have a strong outline and design in mind before reviewing the various LMS options. Compare your needs to what’s offered so you can measure for a sensible fit. Do your research in advance so you’re armed with questions to ask about problems and concerns that are common for that particular learning management system. Before making a final decision, make sure you’re comfortable with the way the LMS will work—and don’t forget to train your HR team in advance so they’re able to field questions from employees as they navigate the LMS.

Provide technical support
Just like any web-based technology, online and digital orientation programs are susceptible to glitches. Therefore, if you are going to invest in developing a successful mobile training program, you also need to invest in and implement a successful organized support service. As employees encounter questions or problems with the mobile platform, they’ll need easy access to answers and support so they don't become discouraged and frustrated. One of the major benefits of mobile training is convenience—don't nullify that by failing to offer the necessary technical support for your employees.

Make sure new employees can access training offline
Online training portals are great—and they’re highly successful in cases where everyone can access them. But even in 2017, it’s not guaranteed that everyone has access to the internet, a computer, or a smartphone, so the absolute best way to optimize the performance of your mobile employee training program is to make it available offline as well. This way, your employees can continue their training even when they don't have access to the internet.

The world we live in is fast-paced, and mobile and the workforce is adapting by demanding information on the go. Mobile learning offers exactly what they want—on-demand training that provides immediate feedback and results.

Read More

Tags: online training

New Employee Training Trends in 2017

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Tue, Mar 28, 2017

Now that we’re a few months into 2017, we’ve all (hopefully) made progress on some New Year’s resolutions and are looking ahead to the rest of the year. 2017, like the last several years, will be a year of technological advances, many of which will affect how organizations conduct their employee training and development. Here are some trends we expect to see incorporated into employee training strategies this year.

Online training
With constant advances in technology, employee training, like most things, is becoming a digital experience. We’ve been saying this for years and it’s finally coming true: Just about everything is online now. Online learning has been on the rise for years and will continue to rise. The rise is due, in part, to convenience and ease of access—employees can take courses and tests and become certified with the click of the mouse. But when you factor in the ability to easily track progress and the cost savings on personnel resources and materials like paper, online training is more or less a no-brainer. In fact, many corporate leaders will tell you that, once you’ve made the switch from in-house to online training, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the move sooner.

The use of “gaming” elements to engage learners is known as gamification and it’s become one of the fastest-growing trends in employee training. When game-based learning is offered, the thrill of competition is added to the learning experience, resulting in an interactive experience that rewards the end result (in this case, knowledge retention). Simply put, gamification turns learning into a game that makes the experience more “fun” for employees.

Online onboarding and orientation
Just as more and more companies are training their employees online, many companies are converting their traditional in-person employee orientation to an online platform. We all know that getting off to a good start is crucial to a new employee’s long-term success at your company, so why not invest the time and resources to ensure that your onboarding process shapes that good start? Online orientation empowers employees by allowing them to review the materials when it’s convenient for them, while also communicating from day one that you value their time and their overall well-being.

Frequent performance reviews
If you’re investing all this time training your employees, doesn’t it make sense to conduct regular performance reviews to make sure the training is working?
Thanks in part to social media, today’s professionals are accustomed to instant feedback. The younger generations especially are unwilling to wait an entire year to hear what they’re doing well and where they need to improve. Furthermore, regular performance reviews will give you a better picture of what’s really going on with your employees than one annual review will. These reviews don’t have to last long—and they can be informal. You can just check in from time to time to see how your employees are doing, and then make small adjustments that will prevent big problems in the future. It’s up to you how regular you want these meetings to be (quarterly, monthly, weekly), but once a year just isn’t enough anymore.

Employee wellness programs
While not exactly related to training, employee wellness programs encourage employees to focus on their physical, emotional, and financial health. And the better a person feels, the better he or she will handle on-the-job stress and upcoming deadlines. Employee wellness programs lead to increased productivity and engagement in the workplace so they’re a win-win for everyone. If your company doesn’t offer an employee wellness program, it’s time to start thinking about creating one. You can start by focusing on physical fitness, and then slowly incorporate other elements like stress management, money management, spending habits, and smoking cessation.

Have you noticed any other employee training trends? Comment below to tell us what you think is going to happen this year.

Employee Orientation Checklist

Read More

Tags: training

Uniting Together to End Tuberculosis

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Today, on World Tuberculosis Day, we want to take a moment to talk about this potentially deadly disease that affects more than one third of the world’s population.

Read More

Tags: health care, training

Employee Orientation Program Tips From The Pros

Posted by Amy Lewkovich on Tue, Mar 21, 2017

New-employee orientation may not be the most important thing you do for new hires, but it certainly is one of the most important. Best-case scenario, your new-employee orientation program further energizes your new hires and affirms their decision to join your organization. Worst-case scenario, your new-employee orientation program leaves your new employees wondering why they accepted your offer in the first place.

To keep your employee orientation on track for a best-case scenario, here are seven tips straight from the pros:

1. Keep them fed.
If your employee orientation is conducted in-house, one of the best ways to get off to a good start is to provide food and beverages at some point during the day. And when we say “at some point,” we really mean to have refreshments available when they arrive. It’s been proven many times over that people focus better when they’re operating on a full stomach, so it’s actually in your best interest to provide some sort snack for them to enjoy.

2. Keep the content focused and relevant.
One of the worst things you can do in employee orientation is to get bogged down with too much information. You don’t want to jump around from subject to subject or include information that is not absolutely essential for new hires. Remember, your employee orientation should serve as more of a summary of your handbook and policies rather than a full reading of all of it.

It’s been argued that the longer an employee orientation program is, the less effective it will be. Outline the necessary information ahead of time, and try not to throw in random information during the presentation.

3. Stay on track by following an agenda.
Just like it’s wise to outline the material you want to cover ahead of time, it’s also a good idea to create, hand out, and stick to an agenda. Your new employees will appreciate knowing what will be covered, and when, and following an agenda will help you stay on topic. It’s helpful to refer to the agenda throughout the presentation and to go over it again at the end, to make sure you covered everything and to address any remaining questions.

4. Keep the content interesting and engaging.
Let's face it, much of the material you cover during new-employee orientation is boring. It might be important, but make no mistake, it’s boring. You can combat this by injecting fun into your program. Use humor, where appropriate, or incorporate fun games that reinforce the information you want to highlight. The idea is to keep new employees on their toes as much as possible so they’re actively engaged in your presentation.

5. Build breaks into the schedule.
Having to sit through and absorb large amounts of material over the course several of hours can drain a person’s energy and make it difficult to stay focused. You can avoid this (and win favor with your new hires) by scheduling short breaks throughout the employee orientation program allowing participants to stretch, walk around, make a call, get something to eat or drink, or visit the restroom. These short breaks will also help to cut down on the number of interruptions during the program.

6. Create a reference library.
Knowing that all the information you cover in employee orientation will be available later in one place will put new hires’ minds at ease. The more information you cover, the more likely they’ll need to go back and review something. If your employee orientation is hosted online, you can make all handouts, forms, and policies available online for new hires to access as necessary, whether that’s the next day or months later. You should also include any links or videos new employees might want to refer back to at any time after the completion of the orientation program.

7. Compile a list of FAQs.
Another way to supplement your employee-orientation materials is to put together a list of frequently asked questions for your employees to reference as needed. If you present your orientation in an online format, the FAQ page can also be used to address technical problems.

Remember, first impressions (good and bad) are made during employee orientation. If you take the time and effort to inject some life into your employee orientation, your new hires will notice. If your employee orientation program is successful, your new employees will start off on the right foot, knowing they made the right decision coming to work for your organization.

Read More

Tags: orientation