The Startup’s Guide To Train Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get fresh resources who can help you accelerate the growth of your business. But hiring employees could also mean more time spent in training and monitoring their performance. Some estimates peg the cost of hiring and training each employee at $4000. Not surprisingly then, a lot of startups hold on as long as they can before they hire their first employee.

Although this seems intimidating, employee training should not be a lot of work. Here are a few tips for startup entrepreneurs looking to train their first employee.

1- Train on the job

Entrepreneurs who have worked with large corporate businesses before may have witnessed lengthy induction sessions that can often go on for days at a stretch. As a startup, you do not have the luxury of training your employees so thoroughly. What works very well is letting them train on the job.

Newly inducted employees may not have the same clarity on their role and responsibilities as you do. A good way to initiate them into your organization is by giving them clear orders on what is expected of them and some guidance on how to achieve their tasks. This helps for two reasons. Firstly, employees do not waste time figuring what is expected of them. More importantly, setting clear goals helps employees secure their first win quickly. This can be a morale booster that improves their confidence at work.

2- Document everything

Training your first employee can be time consuming. This is because you are individually responsible for providing them with all the information they need to get their work done. But the time spent with your first employee also provides you with an opportunity to establish a training module for all your future hires. There are a number of learning management systems (LMS) that cater to startups and small businesses and provide a platform where you could create training assets that help you expedite the training process of not just your first employee, but also for your subsequent hires.

As a best practice, it is recommended that you invest in an LMS and create a knowledge bank even before you hire your first employee. This brings down the time taken to bring them onboard quite dramatically.

3- Take them to meetings

Your first employee may not have colleagues that they can freely talk to for the purpose of understanding your business and industry better. No matter how congenial your work environment is, it is worth remembering that you are still the boss. One way to help them get a better perspective of your business is by inviting them to your meetings and client visits. A lot of times, your clients may ask you questions that your employee may like an answer to. But in addition to this, allowing your employee to join you in your meetings also provides them with the much-needed assurance that they are valued as an employee.

4- Diversify their role

In a startup, employees do not always have a fixed responsibility and are often required to carry out a variety of different roles. This has its own set of pros and cons. For one, handling multiple roles gives your employee a deep understanding of the entire business operations. But on the other side, this prevents them from spending enough time on their core responsibility. As a result, one of these two things can happen. Some employees believe they learn a lot because of this role diversification. But there are also others who see this as a reason for not mastering their core skills. It is a good idea to set the expectations straight during the hiring process itself. Alternately, establish a timeline so that your employee has a clear idea of how and when they may be able to ease into their specialty down the line.

The Bottom Line:

Hiring and training your first employee sets the tone for the future of your recruitment process. These tips above should help your employee gain a better insight into your business and train themselves to be capable of taking larger roles in future.

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