Hiring fully trained employees can be disastrous for your budget, but if you are willing to train entry level workers, you can save a lot of money and still get the skill sets you need.
The more education a potential employee has, the higher his wage. While this is understandable, it can be difficult to justify the high cost of hiring qualified employees when you are on a tight budget. The solution? Hire entry level workers and train them yourself.
You will find that there are a number of benefits to hiring those who are fresh out of school or without previous experience in the field, but you also need to take care. Training someone who turns out not to be right for the job can be a big waste of time and money. The best way to start out is to hire the person for a lower level job for a few months to assess his abilities. If he doesn’t work out, you will not have spent the money to train him.
Where to Find Entry Level Workers
Finding people to hire and train isn’t that difficult, if you know where to look. A very good place to start out is through internships. Setting up an internship program allows you to screen future employees, as well as train them.
Your internship program should not be all about menial tasks, or worse, simply having the intern observe others working. Keep in mind that this person could be the next hire and test them out. Give them tasks that lead toward more responsibility and see how they handle it. While full on training may not be something you want to offer at the internship level, it can be useful if you want to build company loyalty in your interns.
When the internship is over, you should have had enough time to observe and evaluate the intern to be able to make a decision. If he has done an excellent job and shown enthusiasm for the position, you may want to invite him to join the team as a full or part-time employee.
Of course, internships are not the only place to find affordable employees. You can also advertise on sites like Monster.com and Craigslist.org, or post want ads around college campuses in the area. Be sure to specify that your are looking for entry level applicants only, otherwise some people may not apply, thinking they need more experience. This will also keep the highly trained from applying, since they know it won’t pay as much as they want.
Develop a Training Program
Ideally, your training program will involve several levels. Not everyone will need to go through all the levels, since you may want some employees who are at a mid-level. However, having a specific training program for each person to go through is essential and will streamline the entire process.
First, decide what you need your employees to be capable of when they complete their training. Then break that journey into smaller pieces. It can take anywhere from a week to a month to complete each level of training and you may want the employee to continue working at that level for a while before moving on.
Next, you’ll need to decide just what methods you will use to teach your new recruits. Not all the training has to be done by you or even by your company. In some cases, it may be worth it to enroll your entry level workers in classes where they will learn some of the more basic skills. You can then fine tune these when they are ready.
Other methods of training that don’t require hands-on teaching include:
- Workbooks and texts
In most cases, you can have someone learn the basics of what you expect from a book or video and then have them observe someone else, and finally, try the task on their own. How long this takes will depend on the person and the complexity of the job.
Consider setting up a mentoring program so that existing employees can help those who are new to the program. This frees you up for doing other things and lets employees really cement their knowledge by sharing it.
Critique and Evaluate Your Employees
One great advantage of training your own employees is that they will be learning to do things your way. However, in order to make this work, you need to correct them when they do things the wrong way. This is where evaluations come in handy.
It’s a good idea to check on your employees frequently while they are in training so you can correct anything they are doing incorrectly. It’s best to mix critiques with praise. Positive reinforcement can be an excellent way of getting people to repeat the right behavior and by praising them, you also encourage them to work harder and better.
Training your own entry level workers does take more time and it can be costly to set up a training program, but if you have chosen the right employees, you’ll find that it is far cheaper in the long run. You will also end up with employees who are trained to do things exactly the way you prefer, which can be difficult to achieve when hiring someone who is already trained.