Adding a new person to an overworked team is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, you badly need the additional manpower. But on the other, training the employee can slow progress even further. You need to pull someone away from their job to train the new person and spend even more time checking the new person’s work and correcting their mistakes.

And you might not even get your money’s worth even after training. According to Training Industry Quarterly, it can take 1 to 2 years before a new employee is fully productive.

In that time, the team falls further and further behind.

New employee training and onboarding

But there are ways to shorten training and speed up the productivity transition without falling behind on your deliverables. Here are some quick, actionable tips you can try with your next hire:

Train them in advance

Most new hires won’t start work immediately, either due to previous commitments or the two weeks’ notice for their previous employer. Take this opportunity to send them basic information on the company and their responsibilities.

Tell them they will be tested on their knowledge once they start working at the company–and then actually perform the test. The results will help you judge the best way to train and manage this employee moving forward.

Define time-sensitive goals

The performance will improve the longer the new hire is in the position, but you also want them to have a good rate of progress.

Set time-sensitive performance goals spaced out across a few months. For example, by the end of the first week, the employee should have a basic understanding of X task. By the end of the month, they should be able to do the task themselves. By the end of the second month, they should be able to teach the task to others.

Staging progress goals in that way set expectations for the employee’s development and help the team keep up with the workload at the same time.

Don’t overwhelm them

Don’t dump a lot of information on a new employee at once. You may be in a hurry to train them, but bombarding them like that will actually have the opposite effect.

Overwhelmed trainees have a harder time retaining information. You will have to waste time going over the same material over and over, and delaying their training on other topics.

People have different thresholds for too much information, so watch your trainees carefully to see if any are struggling.

New employee mentoring

Assign a mentor

Have one of your senior employees mentor the younger employee. The senior will be a resource for the rookie and be available for questions or concerns and be responsible for the trainee’s long-term growth. There is a chance the employee is just spending their time doing the wrong things. A senior mentor can pick up on this quickly and can help almost immediately if this is the case.

Pick your mentors wisely, though. Not everyone has the temperament to be a mentor, and few of those who do will have the free time available to help. Set expectations as to how much time the senior will be spending with the trainee, just to make sure training doesn’t occupy all of the senior’s time.

Be as supportive of the new employee as you can as they learn the skills necessary to be a benefit to a team and not a burden. All of the tips we shared should result in a speedy and efficient employee training process.