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New Hires and the Struggle to Level Up

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  • New Hires and the Struggle to Level Up

    Anyone else struggle with on boarding new hires and constantly looking for ideas/write ups on how other folks are enabling newb's to 'level up'? Besides just throwing cash at them or having them go find certs. Anyone got any actual training activities to increase their skill base?

  • #2
    Very much so.

    The main question is what are the skills you're trying to train and what do the individual employees in question want to learn/do with their future? It makes a difference to the possible recommendations.

    A few other thoughts as employee training/internal mentoring is an area I've tried to put a lot of time into for most of my career.

    There are a lot of questions that I go through to figure out the right training for an individual.
    1. What do you need from that person short term that they can't give you?
    2. What do you hope to get from them (or what does the org need) long term from that person?
    3. What does that person want for their own future?

    If you can align those 3, leveling up is actually pretty easy because the org's needs and the person's wants line up cleanly and everyone is motivated to work together to figure out the best training path. Lots of free online training is highly effective if the org is willing to allow time during the workday and the employee is motivated because it's something they want for their own skillset.

    Another thing I've found to be key to employee growth, especially new employees, is to try to find a mentor with experience in the training area (or related to what the employee wants for their future) for anyone actively trying to improve themselves. Give them someone who can be a sounding board, source of advice, and can relate training to the job/real world.


    • #3
      Great suggestions, Josh!

      This is a really great topic. Hopefully more folks will come along to discuss as well.

      As we talk about helping our teams level up, I want to point out something that isn't always considered. There is an infographic that I see floating around social media occasionally that shows a series of concentric circles, the innermost being the comfort zone, and then progressing outwards through the fear, learning, and growth zones. While I agree with it in principle, it is important to note that I think there should be an additional circle beyond the growth zone labeled as "burnout zone". We have to be careful how fast/hard we push our team members. When we push someone too far out of the comfort zone, we can overshoot the growth zone and begin to do damage.

      As leaders, we have to be very sensitive to where the individuals on our team are in their leveling up process so that we can maximize their growth while maintaining an environment where they feel safe to fail and that does not introduce unhealthy levels of stress.


      Twitter: @AccidentalCISO


      • #4
        It's a good point and definitely something to keep in mind. Burnout is the upper end, worst-case scenario for absorption fatigue. There's simply an upper limit to how much learning someone can absorb in a given period of time.

        We talk about it a lot in our org with regards to big program changes. There is training and "new thing" fatigue that needs time to settle before you can introduce the next new thing.

        It's the same with individuals. Eventually you need time to process and work with new knowledge. If you keep pushing, people stop absorbing, then get stressed, feel like they're failing, and reach that burnout that causes all sorts of bad outcomes.