In “Getting the most out of tag-team training,” I presented some tips for making sure things go smoothly when two or more people teach a class together. But the concept of “tag-team training” has value outside of the formal classroom setting. Here at TechRepublic, we use a “training-by-committee” approach whenever we hire a new employee. Here’s how it works.
Everyone pitches in
When a new employee comes on board in the editorial department at TechRepublic, we give that person an itinerary that lays out the “peer training schedule” for the first week. It seems like most of our employees start on Mondays, so we lay out a schedule that starts out something like this:
- Monday morning: Meet with Human Resources. Lunch with Bob and teammates.
- Monday afternoon: E-mail training with Matthew. Tour of TechRepublic.com with Mary Ann.
- Tuesday morning: Word training with Sarah.
- Tuesday afternoon: Screen captures with Jeff.
We made the decision to implement a formal training schedule for new staff members based on feedback from existing employees who thought it would have been helpful to have a written-out plan for their first few days on the job. The items on the schedule were also created by listening to employee feedback. Our manager asked, “Given what you know now, how could your training have been improved?” The answers to that question (better e-mail training, more in-depth Word training) became the outline for the new-employee training schedule.
The benefits of peer training
What are the benefits of tag-team training new employees? Here at TechRepublic, we think these are the most important results:
- We get to know each other sooner. If only one person from a team or department does all the training for a new hire, there’s little time for getting to know the other team members. With tag-team training, the new person gets acquainted with his or her new colleagues very quickly.
- The new person gets better training. No one person on a team knows everything about a particular job function. Training-by-committee gives the new employee a chance to pick everyone’s brain and to hear different points of view about the best ways to get things done.
- The training doesn’t depend on a single person. If you put all your training eggs in one employee’s basket, what happens when that super-trainer is out of the office or leaves the company? Usually the training suffers. By spreading the training duties around, it’s easier to pick up the slack when someone is unavailable.