I didn’t write this post, a group of TKO graphics finishing department team leaders did. I facilitate bi-weekly leadership development meetings with six team leaders. They each work with a few employees, training, directing, and helping teammates. They’re involved with training new hires. In our last meeting, we discussed the importance of giving new employees clear objective expectations. One of the points of discussion was how to help new hires avoid common mistakes. The team was given the assignment of creating a common mistake checklist to be primarily used with new employees. What they came up with could be used by most organizations. Here are their seven most common mistakes.

Common Mistake Checklist

  1. Not asking questions. If you don’t know, or don’t remember it’s better to ask than to guess.
  2. Not asking for help. Especially if you make a mistake, we can’t help you if we don’t know about it.
  3. Trying to be as fast as experienced teammates. Experienced coworkers may be faster than you at first. Following procedures correctly and limiting mistakes are more important than speed when you’re still learning. You’ll eventually catch up.
  4. Waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Your team leader won’t be standing over you every minute of the day, and you wouldn’t want him or her to. When you complete a task, and you’re not sure what to do next—ask.
  5. Not following procedures. There’s a reason we do things the way we do them. If you’re not sure why we do it a certain—ask, but don’t try to do it “your way”.
  6. Not being on time. Too many potentially good employees have been lost to “pointing out” don’t be that teammate.
  7. Not following the dress code. Our dress code is based on safety in the workplace as well as presenting a professional image to customers and other visitors. If you’re not certain about the dress code, we can give you a copy.

What are the Most Common Mistakes in Your Department?

A better question may be how many of the seven common mistakes listed above fit your organization? Do new hires ask enough questions? Do they know they can come to you and share when they’ve made a mistake or are they afraid to approach you? Not sure? Ask yourself this—when’s the last time a new hire came to you with a question? If you can’t remember it may be time to let employees know it’s not only OK to come to you, it’s the best strategy. Would it help your training and efficiency to use a common mistake checklist? Feel free to copy this one and use what works for your organization.

If you’d like to learn more about training preparation, try these posts.

What to do before the training begins

If you don’t set expectations what can you expect?