Situation: A company has a new set of employees coming up to speed, but this is happening slowly. The work environment is semi-skilled, with learning curves for new office employees and apprentices. How do you get new employees up to speed?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Provide a competitive level of compensation to journeymen and higher level office employees. Make these levels of skill to which office employees and apprentices aspire.
- Develop a mentor program. Provide chits (company currency) to both the mentor and the mentee for learning each new processes. Make awarding these chits a big deal. For example, the mentor and mentee collect their chits from the CEO who then takes them down to the treasurer to collect on the chits.
- As appropriate, create a team learning environment. Game theory has demonstrated that both basic and more advanced skills can be successfully taught in a team game environment where there is both competition and rewards for attainment.
- Set up a system where successful training is demonstrated bench performance.
- Establish Operator 1, 2 and 3 levels to qualify for graduated levels of jobs or responsibilities. This creates a career track and an incentive to go for the next level. Celebrate employees as they move from level to level.
- Company celebrations are important. Celebrate birthdays, tenure anniversaries, skill level attainment, career track attainment, and so on at monthly meetings or events.
- Hire slow/fire fast. Give new employees a fair shake, but if their mentor doesn’t see promise in them, let them go.