Only one thing is more gut-wrenching, bile-producing and stress-increasing than your first week as a new employee—and that one thing is your first week of training a new employee. If you have been selected, or for some reason, volunteered to train a new web designer, thesetips and tricks can help you, and your trainee, make it through the training period without killing each other:
1. Company Culture
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Company culture is more than just the dress code. Make sure the new designer understands the company culture. College can teach you a lot of things, but it can't teach a young designer about your company's values. Your company's philosophy may be second nature to you, but any new designer will benefit by learning about it. Helping the new employee adjust to the way that your company does business can save a lot of trouble down the road.
2. Take it Out of the Classroom
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You are not a teacher, and your company is not a university. The junior designer has just stepped out of the classroom; you don't have to make him feel like he is entering a new one. Instead of giving a new designer meaningless, hypothetical assignments or homework, try to provide him with meaningful projects, so he can feel like he is actively contributing to the company.
3. Don't Go Too Fast
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Let her crawl before you demand that the new designer run a sprint. Collect a bunch of non-time sensitive problems from your current projects, and let the new kid on the block have a go at them. If there are currently no projects like this, get them working on an internal project.
4. But, Don't Go Too Slow, Either
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Take off the training wheels as soon as possible. Trust that the new designer has the skills for the job. Explain what the goal of the project is, and let the newbie figure out the best way to approach it. Hand-holding will only extend the time before a new designer can start completing the projects independently.
5. Let Them Be
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Don't micromanage, but don't ignore the new designer either. Make sure to give the new designer enough room to feel like any success is her own, but do not allow the possibility of failing or missing a deadline on a client project.
6. Guide Their Creativity
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Be hypercritical of a new designer's work, but never be mean to a designer. Be sure to review the work of any new designers. Offer alternative solutions, and if there are any problems, allow the designer to rework the project. Try to explain why any alternative solution is better than the original.
7. Up the Standards
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Be neither a pushover nor a tyrant. Your personality may naturally lean towards one of these extremes, but training a new employee requires an even handed approach. Never allow yourself to become so frustrated that you lose control. Avoid doing something yourself -- just to get it done. Never accept less than the standard work product or you risk reinforcing poor future performance.
8. Leave Your Mark on Them
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Become a true mentor to the new employee. Never create an environment where the trainee feels more comfortable going to someone other than you for advice. Emphasise that you are there to help the new designer become more effective and better integrated into the company. Make sure that the trainee is aware that he or she has already earned a position on the team.
9. Don't Forget They are People Too
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It is not all work. Make sure that you nurture the young designer's other needs outside of the technical know-how. Remember that you are building a valuable future member of your team. Take the time to include your new trainee in all your office reindeer games. Bonds that are formed now will help both of you in the future.
Remember to give yourself a pat on the back. Hopefully, both of you will the training period, and all of your hard work will help to shape a new, young and successful designer in your company.
What are your top 3 tips to train junior designers? Share it in the comments below!