When it has come time for a worker to return to his or her job after a long absence, it is understandably difficult. It’s not just difficult for the employee, however. It requires a great deal of effort from the employer to ensure that his or her returning staff member is given all of the tools necessary to do the job. This often means that retraining is required. It stands to reason that someone who has spent a lot of time away from the job will need to become reacquainted with it.
As a result, an appropriate training regimen needs to be put in place. And this type of training should be tailored in such a way that it addresses the various needs and potential limitations of the employee that is returning to work. In many cases, there may be sensitivities that need to be respected. So what is the best way to retrain a returning employee? Well, it’s a process that takes several steps. Here are six important ones.
1. Clearly define the job. It’s important to make clear to your returning staff member what is expected of him or her. In some cases, the role may have been changed to suit the skill set and physical abilities of the employee. On Blogging4Jobs.com, Eric Friedman offers some insight into the approach. “Itemize the main points or duties of the new task or policy,” he advises, “You’ll need to manage your employee’s knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the new task or adhere to new policies while training.”
2. Get the right trainer. A good retraining program is important. But it’s only as good as the individual doing the training. It’s important to select a knowledgeable and friendly member of your staff who is good with interacting with others. “The trainer needs to be sensitive to the situation of the trainee,” writes Lynn A. Emmert on MasterControl.com, “but s/he also must keep in mind the goals of the retraining and the needs of the organization.”
3. Provide regular follow-ups. Don’t leave your returning employee in the dark. Be sure to check up with your staff member to foster a strong comfort level with being back on the job. This will be especially important once the training schedule has been completed. “Once the trainings have come to an end, make sure to set a follow-up appointment with your employees 3-6 months out to see how they are doing with the new material or changes,” recommends Friedman.
4. Ask for feedback. The only way to know that your returning employee is taking well to the training is to ask about it. Accept feedback readily and do your best to curb the training program so that the information is being properly absorbed. “This is one of the most effective ways to re-train your employees,” Friedman insists, “Unless management is open to feedback, trainings will come and go without information being retained.”
5. Adjust for learning styles. Everyone learns differently. You may assume that your training program is ideal for employees to learn the various ins and outs of the job. But it’s important to remember that there are different types of learners. “By recognizing and understanding their employee styles, you will be able to use better techniques suited for their needs,” Friedman tells us, “The most common learning styles are visual, verbal, physical, logical, social, solitary, and aural.”
6. Be a good communicator. “This seems like a no-brainer,” admits Friedman, “but clear communication is the biggest item on this list. Without being able to communicate the purpose, relevance, and value the training has to your employee, there won’t be a connection.” It’s especially important to listen. Listening, some people forget, is the most important element of good communication. Be sure to know that your employee understands what is being taught while also having his or her concerns respected.