Effectively training new employees within an industry with high turnover is an obstacle for many recruiting agency managers. Last week we highlighted some initial tips for improving staffing agency training. We discussed useful tactics managers can leverage to efficiently train new employees. This week we’re interviewing Amy Munroe, a staffing training expert and partner at Staffing eTrainer, in this Q&A.
Q: What is one piece of advice you give to recruiting agency managers about training which they’re typically unaware?
A: They’re usually unaware of the positive impact on long term results if a strong onboarding program is used. Turnover is greatly reduced – the last statistic I read indicated by 53 percent – and time to full productivity is reduced as well. Another critical part of the onboarding program is the impact it has on employee engagement. If I was at a staffing company, a strong six-month onboarding program would be my first point of action for training.
Q: What are some valuable staffing agency training tactics that you recommend?
A: Managers may not realize the amount of technology available or ways to use it that will allow for chunked learning or learning at point of need. The attention span of learners is much shorter than it used to be, and eight hours in a classroom environment is not always the best use of time and money, particularly when it results in only a 10 to 20 percent incorporation of new skills learned. Training industry statistics prove that short bites of learning are more impactful to behavior change than long training sessions. That’s one reason industry specific e-learning is such a benefit, and it can reduce the costs associated with instructor led training and travel.
Q: Do you have suggestions on how to create a culture of learning at a staffing agency?
A: This mindset has to start at the top. An investment in the professional growth of your team is key to having a successful plan. Start with a strong onboarding program for all new hires. A culture of learning must be worked on weekly in order for it to truly become a part of your culture. That can be in weekly meetings, idea sharing via a ‘cloud’ platform, and if a staffing company does not have the resources for a training program, outsourcing the learning function to a professional training organization.
Q: What advice do you have about providing feedback to new employees so that it’s valuable without sounding overly critical or micromanaging?
A: This question really plays into the ability for a company to have an open and honest culture. From day one, a manager should provide honest feedback to a new employee. If the key metrics and expectations are set from the beginning, the discussions of improvement and feedback should be a natural extension. It’s also helpful to remember that people learn in different ways and at different paces. If a new hire is not performing as expected, I suggest looking at the training program first to see if it’s addressing the learning needs of all learning styles.
Q: Any other insight into tactics for staffing agency training?
A: A blended learning environment is best for the retention and learning of new skills. This can incorporate a variety of learning methods such as: e-learning, job shadowing, instructor-led training, role plays, videos and games. I would also suggest creating a checklist of each skill needed and who is the best person at the company to train on those skills. Remember, the person who performs the function best is not always the one who trains the best. Conduct new hire surveys at the end of weeks two, four and six to give you great feedback on how to improve your training and onboarding program.
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