Methods of Training Employees

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While having good telephone etiquette is beneficial, it will not do any good if it is not taught to the rest of the team. It is important to the company’s success that every employee is properly trained and able to demonstrate telephone etiquette before being let loose on the telephone. Every employee learns differently, so it’s helpful to have several methods available to allow employees to adopt these skills.

Group Training

Group training, sometimes referred to as classroom training, is a method training employees that involves one or two trainers that are responsible for training a group of new hires, typically in a separate room or training area. When training for telephone etiquette, group trainers will set up an area where multiple employees can listen to recorded calls, review anonymous employee evaluations, and review different techniques and procedures, such as a classroom setting. In this process, the company is able to train several employees at once and allows for these employees to gain some experience before leaving their training stages.

Common techniques used in group training:

  • Role playing
  • Simulations
  • Audio visual aides
  • Current employee examples

One-on-One Training

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One-on-one training typically involves the employee being trained an only one, sometimes two, trainers. This method is more popular when training a current employee or an employee that is just coming into the department, rather than a new hire. These types of training sessions are usually a little more informal to allow the employee and the trainer to become comfortable with each other. In one-on-one sessions, the training can be more customized to the employee and can focus on areas that the employee may have trouble in while offering individualized goals and benchmarks for the employee to work towards.

Common activities used in one-on-one training:

  • Direct questions/answer sessions
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • Offer individualized support
  • Creating performance goals

Peer Training

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Although peer training is a method that is not used as often as other methods, it is still a helpful tool when training a small group of employees. In most cases, peer training is used for training a very small group of employees (2-4 preferably) and can include new hires as well as current employees. Peer training involves a member of the staff, usually a team or floor leader, which will train fellow employees in a certain area. For new hires, they can train with a peer trainer after going through some sort of initial company training. But current employees can also train with a peer trainer if they are being introduced to new areas of phone etiquette or if they are new to the department (such as an internal transfer). Peer training can be advantageous to many employees since they can learn first-hand from someone who is doing similar work and can simplify any areas of confusion the employee may have.

Job Shadowing

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Job shadowing is defined as a type of employee training designed for a new employee, or an employee wanting to become familiar with the job area, observes and follows an experienced employee in the department. Job shadowing differs from peer training in that job shadowing allows for more observations and questions/answers rather than engage in any direct form of training. The employee is able to experience the trainer’s approach to telephone calls and the steps and actions necessary to perform the job that the group or company trainer might never think to mention. This method can include observation methods such as listening to active calls (the Y-method), observing employee actions and even learning to work some of the equipment involved (telephones, computers, etc.). 

Case Study

Tina and Tammy were discussing possible methods of training for the group of new hires that were going to start working the following week.

“I like to use group training since we have so many people to train at once,” Tina said.

“That’s true. But I prefer to use peer training since the trainer is so experienced in the field,” Tammy replied.

Tina and Tammy thought about the possible methods available and wondered which methods could accommodate the group they had. They decided not to use one-on-one training since that would take too long and would train enough people in time. The ladies finally decided that the new hires should complete the standard group training and then could proceed to shifts of job shadowing. By then, the employees should have enough training and exposure before being able to go straight to work.