When training new hires be certain to share challenging expectations, and offer the training needed to achieve them.

Several years ago, I was asked to take over the new hire basic sales training for one of the top 25 (by net volume) home remodeling companies in America. Although the company had a competent selection process, the new sales consultants were slow to start selling. Many of the new sales people took a month or longer to make their first sale. Leads issued to a new non-selling salesperson were just as expensive as the leads given to an experienced salesperson. This was a problem. The initial basic training program was a week of both classroom and field training. It was a good training plan. What was missing was the expectation to sell, coupled with a training schedule to prepare the new hires to meet the expectation. One of the first things I told the new trainees was I expected them to sell their first day in the field – this being only their 6th day with the company!

I also explained I would give them everything they needed, but it was up to them, and they were going to work their tails off. Throughout the training, I tied learning and study to this expectation. Memorizing information, repeating procedures, and studying for a quiz were all coupled with the first sale expectation. I attached deadlines to the process — warning not to fall behind. I recognized and correlated every achievement to their first sale. I conducted the training for several months, and over 95% of the trainees completed an order their first day in the field. They expected to, and were prepared to do so. Eventually, it became a point of pride to be in the “first day club.”

While the above example comes from sales, the technique should not be limited to sales. I have used this procedure with several positions and departments.1. Give realistic and achievable, yet challenging, expectations

  • Set realistic expectations
  • Put a time limit on achieving the expectations
  • Conduct the training needed to achieve the expectations
  • Constantly connect the training to achieving  the expectations
  • Give recognition for progress toward the meeting the expectations

Where do you begin?


An initial introduction to the organization’s culture, policies, procedures and expectations should be one of the first training sessions with new employees. Begin by introducing yourself, your position, background, and tenure with the organization

  • Have all trainees introduce themselves
  • Give realistic, but challenging, expectations
  • Conduct a tour of the operation
  • Introduce key managers and employees
  • Discuss note-taking, questions, and participation expected in training
  • Present the organization’s mission statement, ethics policy, mission, and vision
  • Review the job description
  • Review pay plans, bonus structures, and benefits
  • Explain termination offenses
  • Distribute and review handbooks
  • Review pitfalls and common mistakes of the position
  • Offer examples of successful career paths

Training New Hires is about more than Training

Training new hires is about more than training it’s about setting goals, sharing expectations, and then developing a training plan that will help trainees meet those goals and reach those expectations. Do you expect your new hire training to to achieve goals, or is your new hire training a series of check marks on a to-do list?