How long does it take to train a new field service technician? Turns out, it’s longer than most managers and employees, eager to kick off the training wheels, are willing to admit.

According to author and training expert Bill Cushard, it takes six to 18 months for field or enterprise-account salespeople to be properly trained in a new job.

“Assuming these estimates are close, why do we work so hard to design on-boarding programs to be a short as possible, especially when employee turnover is on the rise,” asks Cushard. “Shouldn’t new employee on-boarding be more aligned with how long it actually takes people to get up to speed?”

Cushard recommends the following steps to design training programs that match how long it actually takes employees in the field to learn a new job:

  1. Set clear, precise expectations:  “First, set expectations with managers and new employees. Tell people how long you expect it to take them to reach their performance targets. Tell them it should take three months or 18 months. Do not let this be a mystery,” writes Cushard.
  2. Don’t call It “new hire training”: Call it what it is: on-boarding. “If you take the approach of socializing people into your organization, you set people up for a process of assimilating and getting comfortable in your company,” says Cushard. He adds:  “And let’s face it, high performance truly begins when people begin to feel comfortable in their new job.”
  3. Spread training out: “Upfront training is vital, but don’t rely on it entirely. Consider using a shorter new hire training class combined with a longer, less structured process of learning and socializing into the organization. This phase should be spread out over time and heavily leverage learning technologies to organize and track.”
  4. Set realistic goals: “Some things cannot be rushed, and setting unrealistic expectations will set people up to fail. Consider how long it takes new people in your organization to achieve performance targets and design your new employee socialization programs to align with those time frames.”

How long does it take for new employees to learn their job in your organization?

H/T Human Capitalist